Friday, October 30, 2015

Darshan Singh Maini and Diwan Singh Bajeli

1. For a few random comments on James's politics (listed in alphabetical order by critics), see the appendix. The curious mélange of comments offered there hardly yields a significant pattern.

2. In Marxian circles, the subject continues to be vigorously debated. While Arner Zis paraphrases Ernest Fischer as arguing that ideas hardening into ideologies become "petrified moulds or intellectual stereotypes serving to promote the interests of the ruling classes," the view is effectively disputed by Zis and others (see Zis 57-58).

3. It is believed that James modelled Rosy on his own invalid and hyper-sensitive sister Alice, though in the process he inverted the world-view of the latter. For nearly all the references to her in James's letters, as well as her published diaries, clearly establish her radical, anti-imperialist sympathies.

4. James has, it appears, in several striking images used the Keatsian motif throughout the book in relation to Hyacinth's sensibility and aesthetic "mysticism." For a full discussion of this motif, see Tintner. The famous passage about looking at "the good things of life through the glass of the pastry-cook's window" (PC 283) is, incidentally, echoed in W. B. Yeats's poem "Ego Dominus Tuus." The poet sees Keats as "a schoolboy" "with face and nose pressed to a sweet-shop window."

5. In a comprehensive and insightful essay on The Princess Casamassima, Martha Banta applies Fredric Jameson's Marxian views on the relationship between history and fabulation in an elaborate manner. It is her argument that James uses the Hegelian concept of history as "the realization in matter of World Spirit" and that Hyacinth Robinson experiences the pull of "two other allegiances: an aesthetic of history . . . and an ideology of history" (100). Without going the whole hog with her in point-to-point application of Jameson's ideas, I must, nonetheless, say that I share largely the premise of her larger formulations, though I doubt if James himself had any coherent, integrated, and enveloping sense of history in the manner of a Shakespeare or a Tolstoy. 
His "sense" of such things and phenomena is, at best, Balzacian. In such writers, the historicism of the book stems less from a truly historical imagination than from an instinctive grasp of the sociological changes their aesthetic and ethical antennae pick up. I believe that it is in this sense that Lukács considers both Balzac and Scott as having a prognasticative consciousness despite their avowed reactionary world-view. Darshan Singh Maini: Books, Biography, Blog ...

Sep 11, 2013 - Eminent theatre critic Diwan Singh Bajeli relates why he chose to write a book on the theatre of Bhanu Bharti

It is interesting to note that books across a wide spectrum of genres are being published in India these days. Particularly comforting is to see more and more books on theatre. So from an interested reader’s point of view, so also from that of a student of the stage, a book like “The Theatre of Bhanu Bharti” — recently published by Niyogi Books, must be a welcome change. Its author, eminent Delhi-based theatre critic Diwan Singh Bajeli, certainly notes this “change of trend” in our publishing industry with relief. [...]

But how relevant are these Western authorities to understand our theatre practices, our society? Bajeli concedes, “Every society has distinct characteristics and theatre is a mirror of society. Therefore, theatre is not an importable or exportable commodity. At the most, we can take certain elements from the others, incorporate them into our system, our reality.” The basic idea is, “the process should have thesis, antithesis and synthesis…only a few directors have achieved this. Habib Tanvir is one, Bhanu is another.”

Bajeli compares the subjects of his two books thus: “The book on Bhanu is more objective. He is a highly trained professional artiste who seeks to unite both form and content in his work. He seems to be closer to the Nehruvian ideology, a believer in a secular and democratic society that has a socialist pattern. My approach to the book on Upreti was more emotional as I was a member of the Parvatiya Kala Kendra founded by him.

Inspired by Maxim Gorky, Upreti used the folk form as an instrument to make people aware of the exploitative society. For him, the stress was more on the content.”

Next on Bajeli’s list is a book on Kumaoni folk theatre forms. Within its ambit would be “Jaagar, a theatre of guilt and expiation; Hurkiya Baul, a celebration of the transplantation of paddy; Haal Yatra, a collective worship of the plough and Thul Khel, an enactment of Ram Leela in Kumaoni dialect.” Thul Khel, he adds, “is on the verge of extinction.”

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