Wednesday, June 13, 2012


It is well known that pedagogical manifestations of literature, its inviolable quadrangles are self contained spaces. In many ways it is insulated. It has its own discursive forms, its own hypostasized presuppositions and a palpable alienation from the real world, the world whose realness it seeks to unravel but gets entrapped in the process in its own coil like perplexities, petty egotisms, self righteousness and sanctimony.

It comes across as a very attractive, even fashionable world. An implicit assumption of moral and intellectual superiority is inherent in those who in full complicity with its constituents tend to read and use terms that baffle and obfuscate. The irony lies in the utilitarian usage of these terms without understanding the full implications of their meaning, their context and premises.

Academics, not all but certainly many love to hear and read their own voices. A subterranean narcissism, which they outwardly deplore by evincing broadmindedness underlies their self conception. The papers, the frenetic hithering and thithering to seminars, conferences countries constitutes this rat race for keeping in touch with an evanescent , indifferent world where the slightest laxity could lead to an expulsion from its folds. Writing research papers becomes not a quest for intellectual amplitude and growth but an contingent exigence that necessitates a hasty locution of readings that are one dimensional and fragmentary. The mercenary inducements are also propulsive forces that lead to this frantic transcribing of  ideas and readings which, subsumed under the exiguity of necessity becomes a contiguous quest for recognition and mobility.

A pettifogging parochialism is visibly discernible because this is a world of precarious self image and insecure sense of identity. Propinquity is ostensibly sought but inwardly relinquished. Opportunistic social relations prompt pragmatic friendships, highly glamorized and looked up to. An outward simulacrum of  amiability conceals a nascent resentment within. Praise, when bestowed is either effusive or condemnatory. A blueprint of ideas held by one are looked for, a corresponding affirmation which, if negated or challenged incites restitution and overcompensatory rationalizations. A patina of indefensible positions renders the lacuna of analysis inadmissible. Superficial acquiescence becomes an ineffectual mask of a perturbation of  nebulous uncertainty belied by blustering, brash, abrasive self assertions or furtive, contraband means of redressal.

This fashionable cocoon is a carapace wherein either a enhancing of self takes place which is a rarity or a diminution of authenticity. In most cases representative, half baked knowledge masquerades as a fulsome demonstration of erudition. And because language, in its most sophisticated and jargonistic mode is unceasingly asseverated paucity of content is covered over. To those who enter these portals the burgeoning idealism is counterpointed by a utilitarian manipulation of the spaces offered, a wresting of power as they traverse the trajectory of academic recognition and employment.

A world of ideas which expands horizons, broadens thought, ennobles the mind to reach out becomes in actuality a facsimile and bleached version of itself. And while crise de nerfs can be circumvented inhabiting of this paradigm only inculcates the manipulation of knowledge as self serving. Perhaps this manipulation is necessary as a wholesome peregrination of intellectual thought is impossible. Yet within the selective statistical modality a further diminution occurs because circumscription of reading and its insufficiently exploratory proliferation creates a modicum of intelligence but parodies the ideality of what true pursuit of knowledge represents. Appropriation of established traditions is not an imaginative reworking and rebraiding of contexts into newer ways of seeing but an incomplete mimesis.

To generalize the entire scenario as constituted by this self deception would be reductive and undoubtedly many fine theorists and writers do emerge. But the vast majority is entrapped within the structures of a knowledge turned in on itself and engirdled and encircled like a loop. An outward glance could disillusion and disenchant but sheer survival on one's brains which are socially sanctioned, ideas aired candidly but hiding narrow minded judgementalism and a chimerical gloss divests it of its sanguine appurtenances. Ultimately it will endure but dissentient voices from within can certainly promulgate divagations and contrapuntal counterpoints unless they too inevitably lapse into somnolent complacency. A whiff of apostasy and change is sorely needed. Taking into account newer forms of expression perhaps a revolution cannot be far off. As of now one can only hope.