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Killing The Little Nells ...
|by Ananya S Guha|
The rain prattles unceasingly. This Sunday I have to remain confined in the house.
Sundays are always quiet in Shillong. Shops are generally closed. But the rain reminds me of yesterdays. The newspaper remains unattended to. A friend calls up. Only writing on my laptop is a solace.
The affairs in the country are so depressing and the rain adds to the woes. The monsoons are a little more persistent this yearh. Blame the rain, if we have it we complain, if we do not still we complain.
I start thinking about yesterday, and the inter college seminar for students on 'The Art of the Novel and Charles Dickens'. I speak of the Sissy Jupes and the Bitzers of the world. Dickens' social realism is relevant even today, in a country like India. What do we do about children and oppression against women, which Dickens spoke so passionately about. The bi centenary celebration of Dickens is relevant today. Look at the street children, look at child labour in the country.
Dickens' protestations were a social and moral tenor against oppression and anti humanism. Yet he could relieve readers with caricature and satire. He was a cartoonist in words, creating larger and life figures. Dickens was not the social reformer, he was an artist par excellence where societal follies were means to higlight his narrative art. He created stereo types for edification and satire. His larger than life characters depicted types, types that he experienced in real life.
I learned from the seminar, from the students. Reading Dickens' biography was an eye opener to the world of his journalism, translated into the prolificity of his art. Should he 'kill' Little Nell? No said his readers and contemporary writers. He did just that.
We are also 'killing' our little Nells by depriving them of education, and their basic rights.
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