Debate over 'good literature' rekindled in Kerala

Speaking at a function in Kannur recently to felicitate writer T Padmanabhan, Pinarayi said literature, which evokes excitement and pleasure, should not be treated as anti-revolutionary.

Published: 14th March 2018 03:05 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th March 2018 03:05 AM   |  A+A-

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan (File | PTI)

Express News Service

KANNUR: As the Soviet Union withered away, the concepts about ‘progressive’ literature also underwent a transformation and its repercussions were felt in Kerala as well. In his famous ‘Bhashaposhini’ speech in 1992, communist ideologue E M S Namboodirippad admitted the aim of literature is not the progress of society. Literature evoking excitement and artistic pleasure too can be considered as good literature. Though, he later admitted it was a mistake to deviate from the communist perspective of literature in a meeting held at Thrissur organised by Purogamana Kala Sahitya Sangham (Pu Ka Sa), the intelligentsia of Kerala discussed the matter for a long time.

Now, the debate has been rekindled and its ramifications will be keenly observed by the literary world. This time, the issue was raised not by a writer or a thinker, but Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Speaking at a function in Kannur recently to felicitate writer T Padmanabhan, Pinarayi said literature, which evokes excitement and pleasure, should not be treated as anti-revolutionary. This was cricitised by poet K C Umesh Babu.

Pinarayi said: “There are people who write openly for revolutionary causes with commitment and proclamation. There are no water tight compartments as far as literature is concerned. At one stage, Left parties had the belief that anything considered not progressive was not literature. Later, we had corrected it. EMS’ Bhashaposhini speech was made at such a point in the course of history.”

“This is rubbish,” said Umesh Babu. “The speech was made in a function to felicitate writer T Padmanabhan. They want to incorporate Padmanabhan into their camp. To make that logical, something has to be said. If the speech made in the function is of any significance, Pu Ka Sa should be dismissed immediately as it is a clear deviation from their line of thought.  “They want to bring all the important personalities in society into their tent, including film stars and others,” he said.

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