Kalidas Ghalib Academy will be an organ to inspire the people's struggle

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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Kalidas Ghalib Academy

Kalidas Ghalib Academy

By Justice Markandey Katju

India ( including Pakistan and Bangladesh ) is in a terrible state ( despite all claims to the contrary ).

There is massive poverty, record and rising unemployment, appalling level of child malnutrition ( every second Indian child being malnourished, according to Global Hunger Index, a reputed international agency which monitors hunger worldwide ), skyrocketing prices of essential commodities e.g. food, medicines, etc, almost total lack of proper healthcare and good education for the masses, etc

How are we to solve the problem, and abolish these great social evils ?

In my opinion that can only be done by a mighty, historical, united, people's struggle, led by patriotic, selfless, modern minded and totally secular leaders, who are determined to create a political and social order in which the Indian people enjoy a high standard of living and get decent lives.

This no doubt requires a revolution, but historical experience shows that every actual revolution is preceded by a long ideological revolution, in which the weapons used are not swords, guns or bombs,.but ideas. Thus, before the great French Revolution of 1789 there was a decades long ideological struggle, waged by great writers like Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot, and the French Encyclopedists, who wrote books, booklets and pamphlets fiercely condemning feudalism and religious bigotry.

The same thing happened in America before the American Revolution ( see the writings of Thomas Paine ), or in Russia before the Russian Revolution ( see the writings of Maxim Gorky ).

India is presently passing through the period of ideological revolution ( the actual revolution is still far away, though it is inevitable ). Art and literature will be a crucial and important component of this ideological struggle.

There are broadly two theories about art and literature viz art for art's sake, and art for social purpose.

Which of these two schools should Indian artists and writers follow ? In my opinion, in view of our huge socio-economic problems, we must follow the school of art for social purpose. Art and literature must depict the true miserable plight of the Indian masses, and inspire them in their struggle for better lives.

Our artists and writers must follow the example of Kabir, Dickens, Victor Hugo, Gorky, Sharad Chandra, Subramania Bharathi, Pablo Neruda and others who condemned evil and outdated social customs and institutions.

They should follow the example of Upton Sinclair, who through his book 'The Jungle' compelled a great legislative change in American food safety regulations

They should follow the example of John Steinbeck, who through his great novel 'Grapes of Wrath' showed to the American public the truth about the migration of the 'Okies' to California during the dust storms and economic depression of the 1930s

The Kalidas Ghalib Academy, which is being created, has these considerations in mind. It will be an organ to inspire the people's struggle, like Maxim Gorky's poem 'Song of the stormy petrel', or like Bismil's poem 'Sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamaare dil mein hai', or like Faez Ahmad Faez poem 'Hum dekhenghe' sung by Iqbal Bano as a challenge to the martial law regime of Gen Zia ul Haq

Here is an invitation to all for the preparatory meeting of KGA on 4th February


Everyone is welcome to join in this great patriotic endeavour.

(Justice Katju is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. These are his personal views.)

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