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Theme: History Share This Page
A History of Science
by R. D. Ashby
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From its origins, the pursuit of knowledge,
recorded in a history of science,
yields increasingly in each passing page
mortality in direct evidence
of those who would uncover mysteries,
in death honoured by their discoveries.
 
The progress of science is one that’s matched
by biography, the coming and passing,
birth and death, afresh in each mind that’s hatched
each fact, in a compendium amassing,
death’s sickle that clean reaps each mortal round
makes less cuts therein where knowledge is bound.
 
In a true sense, is tragic death found cheated
in these pages, though in remorseless craft
caretakes, and as a rule no one ill-treated,
but fulfilled; and through the volume a shaft
of light it makes clear reading, in the end
hope, of life and science a living blend.

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July 23, 2012
More By: R. D. Ashby
Views: 1251      Comments: 10

Comments on this Poem

Comment Dear Rajatji. you seem to forget it was you who called an end to the discussion; hardly an adverse reaction on my part. I discern a refusal on your part to accept my comments, or to turn them into adverse reactions at their most reasonable. In the matter of airing your views on Tagore's poem and its author, your own publications included, you had full untrammelled sway. Not content, you are determined to have the last word, and, finally, invert your hurt feelings into being mine.

I think we can both agree this is the last word on the comment to my poem.

rdashby
10/13/2012 10:58 AM

Comment 13 October 2012
TO: Mr. R. D. Ashby
Possibly I developed a bad habit of drawing analogy from Tagore while reading others' poems as a result of my authoring my book of Tagore translation 'The Eclipsed Sun'. In fact, I have grown a prisoner of Tagore literature and cannot express myself independently purely in my language specially when I sense a nuance of Tagore's works in the poems of somebody else. However, a good many find interesting this analogy from Tagore including the concerned authors of the poems and this is the first time I encounter from you an adverse reaction.
I profusely apologize to be the cause of such untoward misgiving in you but understand that you prefer any poet's work be judged / enjoyed solely on its own. Maybe, many poets feel the same. However, I shall bear it in mind particularly in your case. Anyway, I believe we are still friends.
Yours sincerely,
Rajat Das Gupta.

Rajat Das Gupta
10/13/2012 09:56 AM

Comment I agree with you not to extend the discussion; but, in summary, to bring to your attention the original comment on my poem, quoting Tagore's poem.

The discussion should have ended with my reply to your question, or which I should have made specific: that there is no echo of religious transcendence in my poem that is found in Tagore's.

From your last comment, you seem to be under the illusion it is Tagore's poem that is the subject of discussion in this space, exceeding its inclusion as a comment.on my poem.

While your time and effort expended is appreciated, this space is for comments on my poem, not Tagore's. The proof is in the control of comments, as to their retention or deletion, that is given to me as the author of the poem.

Thank you.

rdashby
10/12/2012 21:34 PM

Comment
12 October 2012
TO: Mr. R. D. Ashby
We need not elongate our reasoning on this broad subject which, I’m afraid, will know no end. Tagore was too optimistic about Western science, but was disillusioned too later. He did not use the term ‘science’ in this particular poem, but on numerous occasions he did which testifies that he was not ‘catastrophically wrong’ in his concept of science. However, I consider Aldous Huxley was nearer to truth in his book ‘Ape and Essence’ (in mid-20th Century) with his amazing prophecy ~ “History of human civilization is going to be one of victory of Belial over God”.
I never think ‘religion’ was ever Tagore’s passion while he was very adverse to ‘institutionalized religion’. He had traveled all over the world several times but never visited Vatican to meet the Pope to the best of my knowledge. Rather, his friends were Einstein, and a number literary luminaries of England.
Now, Boloji.com has already uploaded a considerable part of my book of Tagore translation “The Eclipsed Sun”. You may open up the following captions to know Tagore’s mind better on Science & Metaphysics –

Under Blogs
1. Eternal amidst Ephemeral
2. My dedication in a Genocide afflicted World
3. East and West
4. Facts and Truth
5.Wisdom above Science

Under Poems
1. Earth’s Sweet Dust
2. Here I revert to
3. Myself
4. Soul’s Liberty
5. Sagarika

Rajat Das Gupta







Rajat Das Gupta
10/12/2012 10:14 AM

Comment I will go one better, Rajatji, I will say that if Tagore intended his experience of science, as you insist by drawing the inference of an echo of his view in my poem, as a transcendent religious experience, which I do not, then he was to be proved wrong in the ensuing ill-consequences of science in the world, in pollution and its effect on global climate, in the development of nuclear arms, for example.

The uneasy peace we enjoy today is one maintained by the policy of deterrence obliged on all nuclear powers - hardly a vision of 'brilliant illumination'! But, I repeat, Tagore did not use the term 'science' in his poem, which exonerates it from being a catastrophically erroneous scientific vision of religious transcendence.

rdashby
10/11/2012 11:36 AM

Comment 11 October, 2012
TO: Mr. R. D. Ashby
It is the fault of us, the Bengalis, why Tagore is so little known outside their circle. We have always shied away from translating his vast oeuvre. Had we ventured it adequately, the world at large would have known better how thoroughly scientific minded he was.
However, you'll find under my 'Blog' how broad minded Tagore was where he had directly talked about 'Science' vis-a-vis 'Spirituality' (as opposed to 'Religion' where some mental block or narrowness is inherent) . You may find these interesting. Also, he authored a few books on 'Science' of course rather for academic (devoid of technical jargon) consumption. Just now, I was reading your poem "I" and comparing it with Tagore's "Myself" which appears in Boloji.com. If you open it up you will find a picture of Tagore with Einstein and the poem itself highly elevating in philosophical perception (as opposed to 'religious' with its inherent narrowness as aforesaid.}
You have quoted a part of my translation and dismissed it as it "perform an action of religious transcendence. To put it plainly, there is no significance, illumination or revelation in scientific terminology. In my use of the metaphor 'shaft of light' it is understood as within the scope of scientific enlightenment through dint of observation and speculation, sustained by the hope for a better life on earth." But why you have hesitation to link the passage with scientific advancement, is not clear to me.
Rajat Das Gupta

Rajat Das Gupta
10/11/2012 09:49 AM

Comment Thanks for your comment.

The poem 'History of Science' came to me after reading John Gribbin's 'Science A History 1543 - 2001' when It impressed me how closely the enhancement of quality of human life is linked to the progress of science achieved through the succeeding life and work of scientists. In this respect, the lines by Tagore

Lamps lit up there one by one
Newer significance to earn;
Amidst vast illumination
Man observes his future in brilliant revelation.

perform an action of religious transcendence. To put it plainly, there is no significance, illumination or revelation in scientific terminology. In my use of the metaphor 'shaft of light' it is understood as within the scope of scientific enlightenment through dint of observation and speculation, sustained by the hope for a better life on earth.

In all fairness, Tagore never uses the term 'science'; but then any comparison with my poem ceases.

rdashby
10/10/2012 21:36 PM

Comment 10 October, 2012
TO: Mr. R. D. Ashby
Does your poem somehow echo following quote from Tagore?

"Within that boundless dark
My existence abruptly did spark
Amidst the eternal bonfire
In the chain of centuries never to tire.
In that earth I did appear, where
At the seabed from the swamps mere
On the vast lap of the inanimate
Life in slimes did vibrate
In its myriad branches to flower
To divulge its profound wonder.
The dusk of inchoate existence held firm
A stupor for ages on the animaldom;
On whose meditation
At countless days’ and nights’ completion
Appeared in slow pace
Man in life’s stage with his grace?
Lamps lit up there one by one
Newer significance to earn;
Amidst vast illumination
Man observes his future in brilliant revelation."

At least I find Tagore's depth in your poem vis-a-vis your observation "we can celebrate science in its role of enhancement of human life"

Rajat Das Gupta

Rajat Das Gupta
10/10/2012 10:27 AM

Comment Thank you. The ill-effects of the applications of science deserve a stanza of their own; but as in God's creation, where natural disasters form a counterpoint to the harmony that enables a fulfilled life, for which we thank God, we can celebrate science in its role of enhancement of human life.

rdashby
07/23/2012 21:32 PM

Comment Well composed reality!

Varanasi Ramabrahmam
07/23/2012 20:51 PM




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