Why do we write? For that matter what is the use of any form of art? To earn name and fame? To have our names spoken about in literary events? To gain praise? Or is it what goes around us, a soul stirring experience leading to a reaction, that we open out on paper, in theatre, in a performance. So much is going around actually: rotten politics, injustice, cynicism and apathy of politicians towards public and in turn the indifference of public towards politics. It angers one. You feel like giving a jerk to people- wake up, don’t pretend to sleep. But it will go in vain. It could be called a propaganda. The vice is deep in us. So what does one do in this helplessness? You resort to writing! Scribbling down whatever disturbs you. For few moments all the lava that is growing inside, you let it out. You feel lighter, momentarily. In certain cases we may see it as a moral obligation towards the society we come from.
But then the question remains: how far social and political commitment can be merged with literature together? Or should they be merged at all. Shouldn’t we keep them apart. Literature is bigger than politics, it out grows everything, Amitav Ghosh had told Sameer- an editor friend with Khaleej times here, when he met him few weeks back.
It feels odd when someone Marxist by ideology criticizes the general public for its ordinary tastes. For its lack of understanding, involvement, engagement. When we see injustice around us, and we have cases and stories right from Kunanpushpora to Pathribal to more recent killing of 3 young men in Budgam- we do want to take a moral stand on it. Right? As a human, yes. As an artist? Well lets dissect it further. As an artist one may be averse to such events. That in actual fact means, one man will have two sets of moral commitments. And that is fallible on its own. Good art can only be made, while being honest to oneself, because the soul and the artist ultimately will search for the answer. A decision perhaps has to made at some point of time: To live as an artist or as a human.
In my opinion any form of art: novel, poetry, drama or even movies through which you are able to sympathize with the public opinion, is a weapon in social or political struggle. Art can never be separated from politics. If you observe, Government of every country is using or curbing art to establish its rule. To bring a fundamental change art is an essential and inseparable form. If an artist isn’t politically committed, then his art becomes irrelevant. The choice is artist’s, he can remain neutral, no two questions about it. But the fact also remains, good art and literature especially from 20th century onwards is born under some form of protest. Whether the protest is only political, social or philosophical, is difficult to divulge into and irrelevant too, but in the mind of the artist the power of protest and revolt has been very strong. We’ve number of examples. Garcia Lorca- a poet, theatre director- gave his life fighting against the right wing bourgeois in the Spanish civil war. He wrote: "Outside of Madrid, the theatre, which is in its very essence a part of the life of the people, is almost dead, and the people suffer accordingly, as they would if they had lost their two eyes, or ears, or a sense of taste. We are going to give it back to them.”
In a historic moment when many artists join together, a special type of consciousness and sensibility is born, leading to a movement which will reach the common man’s heart and soul.
Long live the revolution.