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Narratives of Diaspora and Exile in Arabic and Palestinian Poetry

Saddik M. Gohar, United Arab Emirates University

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Abstract

This paper underlines the attitudes of Palestinian / Arab poets toward the issues of exile and identity integral to their traumatic experience of Diaspora and displacement. From a historical context  and within the parameters of colonial / postcolonial theory , the paper  advocates a new critical perspective exploring the dialectics of exile and identity in Palestinian / Arabic poetry in order to argue that  exile , in contemporary world literature ,  becomes  a signifier  not only  of living  outside  one’s homeland but also of  the  condition caused by such physical absence. Aiming to reach a state of reconciliation rather than conflict, the poetic voices, analyzed in the paper, reflect a sense of nostalgia and emotional attachment toward their homeland. The paper  argues that Palestine, for  the Palestinian poets, is not  a paradise or an idealistic utopia that only exists in  their  poetry and  imagination but  a geographical reality caught up in national and religious limbos  and rooted in the trajectories of colonial history and diabolical  power  politics.

Cities of Struggle and Resistance: The Image of the Palestinian City in Modern Arabic Poetry

Saddik M.Gohar, UAE University, UAE

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Abstract

This paper aesthetically articulates the representation of the Palestinian city in modern Arabic poetry in order to argue that while Arab -and non-Arab poets-incorporate  variety of attitudes toward the city ,  the presentation of the Palestinian city reveals a radical difference from the rest of Arabic and non-Arabic poetry  due to the peculiar history of struggle, resistance and victimization characterizing life in the Palestinian metropolis.  To the Palestinian poets, in particular, the city is part of a homeland they have lost or a refugee camp that has been resisting the invaders for decades.  Contrary to western cities  inhabited by alien residents such as Eliot’s Prufrock, or Arab cities populated by strangers, outsiders, whores, outcasts and political prisoners  as in the literary  cities of Badr Shaker Al-Sayyab  and Ahmed Abdul-Muti  Hejazi , the Palestinian city is inhabited by heroes and martyrs.  These heroes who appear in contemporary Palestinian poetry and take different shapes personify the struggle and resistance of a nation that has frequently refused to surrender at times of crisis.  Representing the spirit of the Palestinian people confronting  a world replete with  treachery and hypocrisy,  the Palestinian city and its nameless heroes , in contemporary Arabic  poetry, is an embodiment of  an eternal and unlimited Palestinian dream , the dream of return, rebirth and liberation.  In this context, the paper affirms that unlike Arab cities which are associated with decadence, corruption, exploitation and moral bankruptcy, the Palestinian city,  due to the Palestinian history of exile, resistance, victimization and pain, is viewed in Arabic/Palestinian poetry as a location of heroism,  struggle, defiance and martyrdom.

Open Texture of Nationalism: Tagore as Nationalist

Gangeya Mukherji, Mahamati Prannath Mahavidyalaya, Mau–Chitrakoot, India

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Abstract

“The attempt to evaluate the relationship of Tagore with the phenomenon of nationalism is hardly uncomplicated and defeats easy categorisation, naturally drawing attention as it must, to the porosity of the concept of nationalism. Although it is the received wisdom in many quarters that Tagore unlike Gandhi was opposed to nationalism, a close analysis may reveal why in his obituary of Tagore Gandhi chose to say: ‘In the death of Rabindranath Tagore, we have not only lost the greatest poet of the age, but an ardent nationalist who was also a humanitarian’.  Was there a nationalist hidden in Tagore which appealed to Gandhi’s nationalism? This paper will try to examine Tagore’s nationalism and his different understanding of the constituents of the nation – culture, language, history, idea of nationhood, memory, non violence – which led him to occasionally take stances that appeared to strike at the roots of the conventional notion of nation, exploring in parallel the extent to which the category of nationalism can be stretched without becoming something of its opposite. Waismann’s idea of open texture, more generally used in the philosophy of language, indicates that notwithstanding definitions there still remain possibilities of a definition being inadequate, although being different from vagueness insofar as the definition may be fairly accurate. This paper on the nation of Tagore will look at the open texture of nationalism.”

‘Just as good a place to publish’: Banksy, Graffiti and the Textualisation of the Wall

Anindya Raychaudhuri, Cardiff University, UK

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 Abstract

The article focuses on the work of the (in)famous graffiti artist Banksy, as a way into discussing the wider artistic and textual aspects of graffiti-art. Banksy has famously declared that the wall is ‘just as good a place to publish’ – a statement that certainly invites a study of graffiti-art as a movement to appropriate both the wall and the surrounding cityscape as a space to situate the ‘texts’. A graffiti-artist has to remain, to use Baudelaire’s expression, incognito, and the implications of a necessarily anonymous artist on both the nature and ownership of the ‘text’ created have to be considered when examining graffiti art. The transient and ephemeral nature that Baudelaire attributes to modernity constitutes the very essence of graffiti. Indeed, graffiti-art is doubly ephemeral – because the authorities ‘buff’ (remove) it with depressing regularity, and because its roadside existence means that the viewers themselves are usually in motion relative to the artwork. Graffiti artists like Banksy, therefore exemplify sociological criticism of early cinema (Georg Simmel’s “Metropolis and Mental Life”, for example.) and as such, should be an essential part of ‘urban studies’ of art and aesthetics.

The Essentials of Indianness: Tolerance and Sacrifice in Indian Partition Fiction in English and in English Translation

Basudeb Chakraborti, University of Kalyani

Abstract

Indian Partition fiction, on the one hand, records man’s bestiality and savagery and on the other, attests to the fact that man is essentially sincere, committed to upholding humanity to survive and sustain itself.  The paper contends to examine the fundamental goodness of some characters, which the Indian tradition underlines. By analyzing certain characters from Chaman Nahal’s Azadi, Khuswant Singh’s Train to Pakistan, Bapsi Sidhwa’s Ice-Candy-Man, Bhisham Sahni’s Tamas, Saadat Hasan Manto’s short stories and two Indian films, Mr. and Mrs. Iyar, directed by Aparna Sen and Meghe Dhaka Tara by Ritwik Ghatak, the writer tries to bring home the truth that frenzy of insanity is not final and amidst the pall of darkness and threats of insanity, there is a ray of hope.

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