August 26, 2014 at 9:15 AMAug (Activism, Literature, Musings, Slice Of Life, Soliloquy)


His final days proved to us what misuse of language and misinterpretation of language can do. One of his comment was misinterpreted and misquoted  first following which language was misused to run hate campaigns and to sending hate mails, letters and sms in order to humiliate him.

His words being misinterpreted was also an attempt in erasing the multiplicity of meanings and diversity of ideas and opinions. Singularity of meaning locks language. He knew the dangers of it. He knew the dangers of uniformity too. His attempts, all through his life, were to open them and make space for plurality and diversity.

But slowly like the title of one of his books, it became a ‘maatu sota bhaarata‘ where language started losing its imagination.  As a man of words who believed in language who believed in dialogue and believed in multiplicity of meanings and interpretations that language can evoke, what would he do in a nation which had lost language, imagination and a room for dialogue leave alone a space for dissent?

He took leave.

Neruda in one of his poems wrote, “True life is without silence/ Only death remains dumb,” and he who believed in words and had a word with the world always finally has taken shelter in silence. His silence is not an indicator of his death alone but also an indicator the decay of an atmosphere where language can breathe, where dialogue and dissent can come to life. In this decay which is strangling words to death and language to death a writer felt chocked, felt suffocated and he disappeared into silence.

But his brilliance is that he turned this act of moving into silence also a speech, an utterance. His final word with the world and to the world was through death. He who believed in Gandhi went ahead of Gandhi in a way and made not just his life his message but also his death a message,  a warning about the decay. That reflects not just the times in which we live and he died but also the responsibility of a writer, teacher, a public intellectual: to be the conscience keeper, even in death, through death.

We couldn’t save him. But now we have to save that which he believed the most in: words, language and dialogue.

That is all we can strive to save now. And in that spirit he will remain with us, in spirit.

[an edited version of the note written on Facebook on 23 Aug 2014]

1 Comment

  1. Vinyasa said,

    ಎನ್ನ ಮೀಸಲ ಬೀಸರ ಮಾಡಿದೆಯಲ್ಲಯ್ಯ.
    ಎನ್ನ ಮೀಸಲ ಬೀಸಾಡಿ ಕಳೆದೆಯಲ್ಲಯ್ಯ.
    ಎನ್ನ ಭಾಷೆಯ ಪೈಸರ ಮಾಡಿದೆಯಲ್ಲಯ್ಯ.
    ಎನ್ನ ಭಾಷೆಗೆ ದೋಷವ ತೋರಿಸಿದೆಯಲ್ಲಯ್ಯ.
    ಎನ್ನ ಮೀಸಲ ಕಾಯವ ನಿಮಗೆಂದಿರಿಸಿಕೊಂಡಿದ್ದಡೆ,
    ಬೀಸಾಡಿ ಕಳೆವರೆ ಹೇಳಾ ತಂದೆ ?
    ಏಸು ಕಾಲ ನಿಮಗೆ ನಾನು ಮಾಡಿದ ತಪ್ಪ
    ಈ ಸಮಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಹೊರಿಸಿ ಕೊಂದೆಯಲ್ಲಾ ಚೆನ್ಮಮಲ್ಲಿಕಾರ್ಜುನಾ.
    – ಅಕ್ಕಮಹಾದೇವಿ

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