Window Seat: Should writers wear patriotism on their sleeves?

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | March 24, 2024 IST

Window Seat: Should writers wear patriotism on their sleeves?

Mrinal Chatterjee

Mo Yan, the first Chinese citizen ever to win the Nobel prize in literature, has recently been sued by a ‘patriotic’ blogger for ‘smearing the Chinese Communist Party's reputation and “beautifying” enemy Japanese soldiers and insulting former revolutionary leader Mao Zedong’. In China a law made in 2018 made insulting heroes and martyrs a crime punishable by up to three years in prison. The law, pundits say, is part of President Xi's campaign to fight historical nihilism, a phrase the party uses for any interpretation of historical events that runs counter to its official narrative.

The 2018 law and other similar laws have resulted in scores of arrests, including an investigative reporter who challenged China's official casualty numbers in a border skirmish with India in 2021 and a former editor of a financial magazine who questioned official justifications for China's involvement in the Korean War.

Mo Yan, whose real name is Guan Moye (born March 5, 1955, Gaomi, Shandong province, China) writes novels and short-story. Interestingly his pen name means 'don't speak'. He has written such works as ‘Red Sorghum’ and ‘Life and Death are wearing me out”. He is renowned for his imaginative and humanistic fiction, which became popular in the 1980s. Mo was awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature. He is known for portraying rural life in China and delving into some of the downsides of the country's rapid economic development.

He did not have any overt conflict with the Chinese government, though his speeches and writings have at times peeved the establishment. For example, he said in 2005 while accepting an honorary doctorate from a Hong Kong university, “Literature and art should expose the darkness and injustice of society”. But he has had few conflicts with Beijing.

In 2011, he became vice chairman of the state-backed Chinese Writers Association. After he received his Nobel, a top party official praised him as an outstanding representative of China's rising economic might and international influence. 

The present development has once again foregrounded the questions: should writers wear patriotism on their sleeves? Should they not write what do they see and feel? Should they not enjoy freedom of thought and expression?

GPO, Kolkata completes 250 years

With more than one and a half lakh post offices, India Post ranks the world's largest postal network. The beginning for this was in 1727 when the first post office was opened in Calcutta (now Kolkata) by the British East India Company. Kolkata's iconic General Post Office (GPO) building opened in 1774. On 13 March last, it completed 250 years. This is its sestercentennial or quarter millennium year.

The site where the GPO is now located was actually the site of the first Fort William. An alley beside the post office was the site of the guardhouse that housed the infamous 1756 Black Hole of Calcutta.

The imposing structure of the Post Office was designed by Walter B. Grenville in 1864. The massive structure of the Post Office is highly admired for its high domed roof, which raises over 220 feet and the towering Ionic-Corinthian pillars. The building's white dome with a huge clock is supported by an octagonal base and 28 Corinthian pillars. A Postal Museum was also created in 1884, which displays an excellent collection of artifacts and stamps.

Wow! Vada Pav

In the list for March 2024 by TasteAtlas, a food and travel guide platform, the humble ubiquitous ‘vada pav’ has bagged the 19th position, featuring alongside the world-famous shawarma, reuben, lobster rolls and much more. The top spot has been acquired by the Vietnamese favourite, Banh mi.

Vada pav is a vegetarian fast food dish native to the state of Maharashtra. The dish consists of a deep fried potato dumpling placed inside a bread bun (pav) sliced almost in half through the middle.

The credit for inventing the rustic and mouth-watering Vada Pav goes to Ashok Vaidya in the 1960s. He was inspired by the socio-political scenario at that time. One day he experimented placing a Vada between Pav along with some chutney to add more flavor. People liked it. Rest,
 as the saying goes, is history.

The word ‘pav’, incidentally has come from ‘pao’, which means bread in Portuguese. It is believed that the processed bread (pao) came to India with the Portuguese. As Portuguese gave Mumbai as a dowry to the British government in 1661, ‘pao’ probably found a more receptive
 place and ‘pav-bhaji’ became a dear Mumbaikar dish.

Incidentally, August 23 is observed as World Vada Pav Day, to celebrate what is considered Maharashtra's biggest gift to foodies.

Godfather

The Godfather, the baap of ‘mafia movie’ genre was released on this day- 24 March in 1972. The American epic crime film, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, who co-wrote the screenplay with Mario Puzo, based on Puzo's best-selling 1969 novel of the same title, started a flurry of films of the same genre.

In Bollywood several films like Dharmatma (1975), Aatank Hi Aatank (1995), Nayakan (1987), Sarkar (2005), Satya (1998), Gangs of Wasseypur (2012), Malik (2021) were made inspired by Godfather.

Murga Cutting Centre

I have seen several shops across the country with the suffix: centre. From Book Centre to Food Centre, from Saree/Blouse Centre to Gold and Silver Jewellery Centre, from a gym named Health Centre to a tea shop named Adda Centre- I thought I had seen it all- till the other day.

On my way to Raipur from Sambalpur I saw a shop with a signboard: Murga Cutting Centre.

Holi

Holi, the festival of colour, assumes greater significance this year which will see more elections in the world than ever before- as netas and their followers will change colour faster than a chameleon.

Disclaimer:

This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write-up have nothing to do with www.prameyanews.com.

News7 Is Now On WhatsApp Join And Get Latest News Updates Delivered To You Via WhatsApp

You Might Also Like

More From Related News
Window Seat: Should writers wear patriotism on their sleeves?
Window Seat: Should writers wear patriotism on their sleeves?
Window Seat: Should writers wear patriotism on their sleeves?
Window Seat: Should writers wear patriotism on their sleeves?
Window Seat: Should writers wear patriotism on their sleeves?
Window Seat: Should writers wear patriotism on their sleeves?
Window Seat: Should writers wear patriotism on their sleeves?
Window Seat: Should writers wear patriotism on their sleeves?
Window Seat: Should writers wear patriotism on their sleeves?
Window Seat: Should writers wear patriotism on their sleeves?
Window Seat: Should writers wear patriotism on their sleeves?
Window Seat: Should writers wear patriotism on their sleeves?
Window Seat: Should writers wear patriotism on their sleeves?
Window Seat: Should writers wear patriotism on their sleeves?
Window Seat: Should writers wear patriotism on their sleeves?
Window Seat: Should writers wear patriotism on their sleeves?
Window Seat: Should writers wear patriotism on their sleeves?
Window Seat: Should writers wear patriotism on their sleeves?
Window Seat: Should writers wear patriotism on their sleeves?

Copyright © 2024 - Summa Real Media Private Limited. All Rights Reserved.