Tuesday, November 27, 2007
From The Statesman
The recent breakthrough in stem cell research carried out independently in Japan and the USA, by Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University and James A Thomson with his colleagues at the University of Wisconsin, shows another path to human rejuvenation, including a cure for many incurable diseases.
By reprogramming a human skin cell, the researchers have been able to bring it back to its original pure embryonic stage, a pluripotent stage from where the cell could be coaxed to become any of the 220 specialised human cells, for example, heart, lungs, brain, muscle cells, which could be used for customised therapeutic healing. A brain-injured person could live a full, healthy life again. That is the future, perhaps.
The awesome beauty of this discovery is that the process of reversion of a skin cell to its de novo embryonic stage does not involve the destruction of embryos, which many pro-life people from President George W Bush to the late Pope John Paul II condemned as immoral. President Bush has steadfastly denied the use of federal funds “to promote science that destroys life to save life,” despite the fact that most Americans have never been with him on this issue.
Dr Bill Frist, a heart-lung transplant surgeon by training, who was Senate majority leader (2003-2007), for example, spoke for most Americans, when he said: “I am pro-life, I believe human life begins at conception. I also believe that embryonic stem cell research should be encouraged and supported.” Former First Lady Nancy Reagan said: “Embryonic stem cell research has the potential to alleviate so much suffering. Surely, by working together we can harness its life-giving potential.” Her husband, President Ronald Reagan, spent the last years of his life in Alzheimer’s limbo.
President Bush, nonetheless, repeatedly said, "my way or the highway". You see the power of presidential leadership; and also its limitations because he could not stop the private funding of embryonic stem cell research by states, biotechnology companies, and private universities who have been pursuing the research regardless of the opposition. For example, in 2004 California voters approved a $3-billion bond to promote research in the state.
Since last year, the Harvard Stem Cell Institute has been doing research using the Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer process to create specific cell lines from cloned human embryos, which again raised hopes for millions of people suffering from incurable diseases. Harvard research is said to be diseases specific; for example, the nucleus of a skin cell of a diabetic patient is inserted into an unfertilised donor egg, from which the nucleus has been removed. The newly engineered composite egg is nurtured in a Petri dish to develop into an early embryo from which embryonic stem cell lines is developed and guided into becoming healthy insulin producing pancreatic islet cells to replace the diseased ones, for example, in a child suffering from juvenile diabetes.
It is painful to imagine how much a child with juvenile diabetes suffers; or how much the family members endure as they see the wasting away of their loved one with the knowledge that one day if the stem cell research continued there might be hope for a most emaciating human illness. Anytime an older person forgets the name of his own children, you wonder if this could be the beginning of a slow end. In the USA, people look to science and medicine for salvation. They know embryonic stem cells could be the beginning of a new life for persons suffering from fatal ailments. Stem cells that are derived from aborted and discarded embryos could be potentially directed to grow into any kind of specialised cells to repair damaged human parts and trigger a self-regenerative process in the human body. It is an example of how killing life can save lives.
Choosing life over potential life is practical ethics at its best, it has been argued.
Though many people favour embryonic stem cell research, pro-lifers argue that research in regenerative and therapeutic medicine and technology should not be left to the marketplace because somewhere in the process life begins. The late pope John Paul II urged that a “free and virtuous society, which the USA aspires to be, must reject practices that devalue and violate human life at any stage from conception until natural death.”
The Pope was afflicted with Parkinson’s, one of the millions of sufferers of the debilitating disease but he never wavered, and warned “how a tragic coarsening of consciences accompanies the assault on innocent human life in the womb, leading to accommodation and acquiescence in the face of other related evils such as euthanasia, infanticide…”
That’s why many Americans could not ignore the late Pope’s warning that the destruction of embryos to extract stem cells, even when the purpose is to fight diseases and reduce human suffering, would dehumanise us. Stem cell revolution is as momentous as was the smashing of an atom; therefore, it needs safeguards to harness its benefits without the coarsening of our conscience.
The recent development of reprogramming skin cells into embryonic stages offers scientists an equally fertile method of developing cell therapy, which will make destruction of embryos unnecessary. Science has solved its own ethical dilemmas. The discovery also illustrates the concept of “equifinality” in general systems theory, according to which a dynamic system, if challenged, could reach the same goal by other means. There is always an alternative.
And thereby hangs another question: Is human body nothing but an information system that could be reprogrammed cell by cell? We will talk about human soul some other time.
(ND Batra teaches communications and diplomacy at Norwich University. The author of Digital Freedom, he is working on a new book, This is the American Way.)
Monday, November 26, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
Peter Goodspeed in National Post
“Fifty years after the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the world's first man-made satellite, and just hours after the U.S. space shuttle Discovery thundered into orbit to work on the International Space Station, China took the next step in a new space race yesterday, sending aloft its first lunar orbiter.” READ MORE
“Seeking to reaffirm India's cultural commonalty with Asean is a good idea” says Sunanda K. Datta-Ray in Business Standard.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Pakistan is not a failed state but at present it is in a state of dynamic instability, which could spin out of control if the situation is not handled wisely by its neighbors, international allies, and all-weather friends.
And what makes Pakistan an intriguing story is that to insure its own survival it has successfully developed nuclear weapons and now has enough arsenals to cause nuclear havoc all around, if they fall into the hands of Islamic militants.
So don’t cry for Pakistan. Not yet.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
From The Statesman
The challenge for the academia lies in tapping and pooling the brainpower within academic units as well as outside and creating an environment of synergy and enthusiasm for collaboration. That is how you develop what is called “swarming intelligence.”
As it has been often said, the digital age is breaking walls and melding previously divergent communities, for example, of critics and practitioners; of message creators and audiences; of teachers and learners. The virtual and the physical are crisscrossing and becoming co-extensive parallel universes.
The Second Life, YouTube, MySpace, and Facebook generation is developing its sensibilities in virtual environments characterised by new assumptions based on heterarchy, interactivity, and intellectual engagement, what MIT’s Henry Jenkins describes as “a culture with relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement, strong support for creating and sharing one’s creations, and some type of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the most experienced is passed along to novices.”
This kind of heterarchical culture generates “opportunities for peer-to-peer learning, a changed attitude toward intellectual property, the diversification of cultural expression, the development of skills valued in the workplace, and a more empowered conception of citizenship.” The cyber generation that is descending upon campuses requires skills that enable it to be competitive in a global environment where collaborative teamwork, spread across time-zones and continents, is becoming a necessity.
Fortunately, thanks to computer and video games, many kids are already coming to colleges equipped with some of the skills suggested by Jenkins; for example: “the capacity to experiment with one’s surroundings as a form of problem-solving; the ability to adopt alternative identities for the purpose of improvisation and discovery; the ability to interpret and construct dynamic models of real-world processes; the ability to meaningfully sample and remix media content; the ability to scan one’s environment and shift focus as needed to salient details; the ability to interact meaningfully with tools that expand mental capacities; the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others toward a common goal; the ability to evaluate the reliability and credibility of different information sources; the ability to follow the flow of stories and information across multiple modalities; the ability to search for, synthesise, and disseminate information; the ability to travel across diverse communities, discerning and respecting multiple perspectives, and grasping and following alternative norms.”
And there is much more to come.
To educate the cyber generation, the campus grey eminence needs to develop tools for collaborative environment in which students and teachers can work as co-workers and performers. For a university an important step in building collaboration for innovation is to develop its own Wiki, where people can collaborate, build, edit, and correct each other. The idea of Wiki is based on the principle of redundancy and the system’s self-correcting behaviour, which makes it possible for knowledge and creativity to emerge through continuous emendation, additions and revisions. Andrew P McAffee calls it (Sloan Management Review) as “The Dawn of Emergent Collaboration.”
Convergence and emergence shape our lives today.
I believe that in an innovation and knowledge-driven world collaboration is imperative, though most of us are obsessed with lone geniuses like Albert Einstein transforming space-time dimensions into abstract mathematical equations; Ludwig van Beethoven composing and conducting the orchestra and chorus in the premiere of his Ninth Symphony that he could not hear; or John Milton, blind and old, dictating Paradise Lost to his daughter. It is not that the proverbial genius will ever vanish; rather the most important point in the age of social networking and collaborative code-making is that academically disparate people now have the means, for example, as mentioned earlier, a constantly evolving digital platform like Wiki, to work together and enhance the creation of knowledge and scholarship.
Consider the novel Click, which was collaboratively created under the editorial oversight of Arthur Levine by ten authors each contributing a chapter to a mystery surrounding “a camera, some photographs and box with seven shells.” The collaboration took place sequentially, each author’s contribution built upon the previous one, story upon story that has hung together as a wholesome plot. But the novel could have been created in Wiki also, probably with better results, tapping into the collective wisdom and interactivity of the group instead of each author waiting for his or her turn to write a chapter.
Collaboration in the arts and humanities is not something new. In televisions, as I mentioned in one of my earlier books, The Hour of Television, creativity is normally negotiated and bargained, where, in fact, the collective is the creator and programs emerge from a generative system rather than as an act of individual creation. Think of "Guiding Light", a programme that originated as a radio soap opera (25 January 1937) and was transferred to television (30 June 1952) and has been continuing since then - an example of generative collaborative creativity across two generations.
From Bollywood to Hollywood, collaboration is of the essence.
In the digital age, poor communication occurs because of structural and bureaucratic potholes and because people who have expertise in one field fail to appreciate new ideas in others and shut them out.
Sometime collaboration fails because it is limited to very few people in partnering academic centres, so if some key expert quits, the network withers away. Redundancy, the basis of decentralised networking, is not only essential for continuous creativity but also acts as an antidote to the arrogance of expert power.
In the digital age, chain of commands is an anathema.
The challenge is how to integrate creative activities and unique knowledge as effectively as global supply chains integrate labour, raw materials, finance, and marketing. In the world of globalised business, creative work flows in loops across people, building on shared brainpower, each knowledge hub validating and adding value to the work done by the other, thus, hastening testing, and shaping up and perfecting the final project that might have begun in Kolkata but ends up in Silicon Valley.
In cyberspace, disciplinary zones need not become impenetrable barriers but in order to turn them into an asset it is necessary to develop a user-friendly IT system that provides reliable and uniform services, which can be adapted to ever increasing complex environment across academic disciplines, divisions, and schools.
The task henceforth is to create a system that is capable of accessing available sources of knowledge and mining all modes of human expression, whether audio, video, pictorial, or textual - a protocol that transcends cultural and disciplinary barriers. IT system should be capable of customizing knowledge as per individual or group needs.
For example, consider Dragon Naturally Speaking, which I have been using to dictate my weekly column for The Statesman and update my blog, CorporatePower. In the beginning, the programme would ask me to read the given text passages over and over again, and as I did, the system began to learn my speech rhythm, cadence and accent (Indian-American), and eventually it adapted itself to my needs. The more I use it, the more it learns and more intelligent it becomes. Dragon Naturally Speaking was not created for people like me but for busy corporate executives. The important point is that systems can be created that listen to us and evolve to meet our scholarly, scientific, humanistic, and artistic needs.
And that is a blessing of the digital age, which digital natives are exploring as they build collaborative platforms across cultures from Bangalore to Boston, from IIT to MIT.
(ND Batra teaches communications and diplomacy at Norwich University. The author of Digital Freedom, he is now working on a new book, This is the American Way.)
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Question of the day
How can a business leader create trust in a diverse multicultural environment?
Anthony Giddens writes in Perspective:
"Three years ago, the editor of Prospect, David Goodhart, published an article arguing that the increasing diversity, individualism and mobility found in present-day societies may pose a threat to the welfare state. Ethnic diversity produced by immigration adds to this mix. Goodhart stirred up a hornet's nest of criticism, even though he was by no means the first to raise the possibility, and indeed he raised it only as a possibility. The welfare state, he pointed out, is based upon sharing; yet sharing might be in conflict with diversity. People feel stronger obligations to others when these others are like themselves."
Friday, November 9, 2007
"The upcoming 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and recent regulations about the distribution of news from foreign wire services are drawing international attention to censorship tactics in China."
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
From The Statesman
I gaped in amusement a few days ago when I received Diwali greetings from a telecom company. Someone wanted to help me to save my money only if I would switch over from my present long-distance carrier to them.
From The Statesman
I gaped in amusement a few days ago when I received Diwali greetings from a telecom company. Someone wanted to help me to save my money only if I would switch over from my present long-distance carrier to them.
Lightheartedly I said I was more interested in saving time and wanted to be left alone. That was the end of the conversation but the beginning of a serious concern, which many Americans have today that they are being profiled, clustered and targeted for data-base marketing. The company knew who I was: an Indian Hindu, one most likely to respond to the Diwali message, especially when no child labour was involved. This paradigm shift in marketing communication, individually designed messages, is seen even at the shop-floor level, where most of the sales are finally clinched.
Recently I went to the Home Depot, a cavernous store which sells everything you need to build, repair or decorate your home. The young salesman not only helped me in selecting the four-by-ones but also cut them to the size, and assured me that the material was so good that he had bought the same stuff for his father. The store, he said, has a no-question-asked return policy. The aggressive marketing was so kid-gloved that the Home Depot indeed felt homey.
A specialist in marketing communication explained to me that American businesses are embracing a new concept, integrated marketing communication (IMC), heralding the end of mass marketing era. One size fits all may still be true but the message should be custom-designed for different people. Now you understand why the telephone company sent me the Diwali greetings.
The technology to segment masses into clusters of tastes and special interests is available. It gives advertising and marketing experts the tools to reach the customer as if he were very special. People may drive the same model car, wear the same designer clothes and eat the same food in a restaurant, but they feel special about their choices because they receive individualised messages.
For many of us, personal freedom means to make our own choices, although some time too many choices puzzle us. Remember how our grandmothers made us feel so special when we were kids. Of course she did the same with all our siblings and made them feel equally special. That’s why we love our grannies. Something similar is being done by today’s marketing communication experts. Like a child, every customer is special.
Companies are moving away from the traditional Four P’s of marketing - price, product, packaging and promotion - a formula that worked well in the era of mass-produced culture, when consumers were struggling with their basic needs. No longer in the United States can a manufacturer simply make a product and price it to sell by packaging and promotion through the mass media. Consumers do not tolerate being treated as undifferentiated mindless dolts; they resent manipulative and condescending messages.
No wonder the Wal-Mart salesman, I observed lately, was so apologetic to the housewife because the GPS that she had used for more than a year did not work very well, and he gladly returned her money. He took the blame for her choice. This is salesmanship in a new key.
Consumers have rising expectations because of the variety of sources from which products and services are available, and they prefer to buy things which enhance the quality of life, especially in regard to environment, human rights and child labour. Experts say that consumers today not only buy a product; they buy the company which produces them. The entire matrix of marketing communication, that’s, advertising, public relations, sales promotion and even employee communication should appear to the consumer as a stream of information from one single source that establishes a distinct identity for the company. Call it raising a brand. Brand creates public trust. It reveals core values and business philosophy.
GAP, of course, is good: but who makes the product? Children, who should be in school rather than in a sweatshop? Today buyers of imported rugs want assurance that no child labour is involved in their manufacture, and they look for label such as Kaleen, promoted by the Government of India and the carpet industry; and RugMark, an international non-profit organisation which guarantees to customers that they have gone thorough inspection.
The recently published undercover story in the Observer, a British newspaper, has persuaded GAP to work with the Global March Against Child Labour to develop a plan for putting a label on its products: “Child Labour Sweatshop Free”. The other day when I was browsing through Macy’s domestic section, I overheard a customer asking the salesman whether she could buy chinaware not-made-in China.
The salesman apologetically said that everyone was asking the same question. Millions of toys and other made-in-China products have been recalled by US companies because of the hazardous materials including lead that had been used. It is not going to be easy for a company to be able to sell made-in-China products in the United States unless it certifies product safety. In fact, some companies in the United States have begun to put a label: China Free.
Conscience of the consumer is awake. Children should go to school, not work in sweatshops. Clothes and toys should be made for children but not by children. Above all, children should be safe when they use products made for children. All factories in China and India should be open to international inspection.
(ND Batra teaches communications and diplomacy at Norwich University. A googled edition of his new book, Digital Freedom is available, and it is free: Click here
Friday, November 2, 2007
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Thou Hast Made Me Endless- Part VIII
RAJAT DAS GUPTA
[Translator's note: Historians have recorded, interpreted and analyzed
the historical events/developments. Tagore, through a number of his
poems, has extracted and presented us hot the human emotions, ego,
uprightness, virtuosity, malice, evil etc. which had propelled our
history. Our students have to cram their history lessons upon
compulsion. Could Tagore's poems anyway supplement their lessons to
enable them to understand the humans of the yore beyond their mere
historical silhouettes? They may find at least some of the chapters of
Indian history e.g. those on the struggles of the Sikhs, Marathas and
Rajputs, the Buddhist period etc. animated by virtue of a good number
of inspiring poems of Tagore based on historical facts and legends
related to these periods, inter alia. Our teachers may give this
proposal a thought. Following are a few examples.]
Poem: Bandi Bir (The Captive Hero} of the book Katha (Legends) written in 1899.
[Notes: This poem is based on the anthology of the British historian
Todd. The facts narrated by Todd have not been distorted in this poem.
However, this is one of the poems where Tagore upholds that the
seeming defeat of the Sikhs was a victory in the test of history. It
was the victory of their spirituality over the brutal force they had
to encounter. That is why Sikh ideal survives as a dynamic force, one
of the noble heritages that will propel the Indian nation forward. And
what happened to the omnipotent rulers (Mughols) who had let the hell
loose on this beautiful earth, cultivated cruelty and inhumanity at
its highest and appeared invincible? In the words of the Poet –
"With blood stained sword in hand, with their bloody look,
They hide face in the children's lesson book……………"]
On the banks of the five rivers,
Up rise the Sikhs spontaneous;
With hair coiled above their head
Inspired by the Mantra their Guru spread
Fearless and unyielding…..
"Glory to Guruji" – thousands of them
Resound the horizon;
At the rising sun of the dawn
The Sikhs stare with deep emotion
With new awakening.
"Alakha Niranjan!" (means 'Holy Spotless'= God)
The war cry of the rebellion;
Let loose their chilvalry;
On their ribs clank swords luminary;
In wild joy was Punjab's insurrection
There came a day,
Thousands of hearts were on their way
Without any binding or fear,
Life and death at their feet slaves mere;
There on the banks of those rivers
The tale of that day still shivers.
At the tower of the Delhi palace,
Where the Sikhs are apace –
The Badshajada' s (*) drowsy spell (*= Emperor)
Time and again they quell;
Whose voices there, the dark sky tear?
Whose torches set the horizon afire?
On the banks of the rivers five,
For supreme sacrifice was their dive,
Unleashed there was the flood
Of the devotee's blood.
From thousands of hearts torn apart
For destination divine in their lark –
The heroes putting their sacred blood mark
On the forehead of their motherland
There around the five rivers so dear and grand.
In the Mughol and Sikh battle
Their embrace to each other throttle
Like the fight between the eagle and snake,
Deep bruise one to the other did make.
In the fierce fight of that day –
In blood craze "Din Din" the Mughols bay,
"Glory to Guruji" – was the Sikh's commotion
In their divine devotion.
At Gurudaspur castle
When Banda was captured amidst all bustle
In the hands of the Turani troop,
As if a lion fettered with his group;
To capital Delhi they were taken,
Alas, at Gurudaspur Banda was beaten!
The Mughol soldiers march ahead,
Kicking up the road dust in sneer,
Hoisting the Sikh's chopped head
At the blade of their spear.
Follow them Sikhs seven hundred,
Tinkles their chain,
Throng people on the road widespread,
Windows open – a glimpse they fain,
"Glory to Guruji", the Sikhs roar,
For fear of life none is sore,
Sikhs with the Mughols to-day,
Stormed the Delhi road all in gay.
Started the scurry,
For lead in the carnage was their hurry;
They line up at the dawn
Defiant till their execution.
"Glory to Guruji" was their slogan
Until they were done.
Thus over a week,
The arena turned bleak;
With seven hundred lives gone –
Upon the martyrs' immortalization.
On the last round of cruelty
Banda was ordered by the Kazi
To kill his own son,
At ease to be done.
In mere teen was the boy,
With hands tied thrown as a toy
Into the lap of Banda and without a word
He drew him close to his heart.
For a while he put his hand on his head,
Just once kissed his turban red.
He then draws his dagger,
Whispers in the child's ear –
"Glory be to Guruji – fear not my son"
A virile in the boy's face did burn –
In his juvenile voice the court did ring
"Glory to Guruji" as he did sing.
With his left hand Banda held the boy,
With right struck the dagger in his ploy,
"Glory be to Guruji", was all he did implore
As he took to the floor.
Silence fell in the court,
Guruji's inspiration still not abort.
Then with tong red hot
Banda's body was pieced apart;
A word of moan he uttered not
And all in calm did he depart.
As stopped his heart throb
Witnesses closed eyes – silence choked pin drop.
• * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Poem Prarthanatit Dan (Gift Beyond that Begged) of the book Katha
(Legends) written in 1899.
[Translator's note: So far I have read Sikh history, Taru Singh was
taken a prisoner by the Mughols on the charge of treason for helping
the fugitive Sikhs in the jungles in various ways and eventually had
to face death sentence in the cruelest way, with his head forcefully
shaven, for refusing to take to Islam. So, if this poem will raise
eyebrows of the hardcore historians and pundits as to the authenticity
of the Poet's presentation of Taru as a prisoner of war, a scholarly
debate may indeed follow. But we, humbler people, will be least
interested in that and remain happy with the poem so touchingly
flashing the uprightness and holding on to one's faith and
convictions, the highest of human virtues for which the Sikhs stood
during the severest crisis in their history.]
When the Pathans brought them chained
All in calm they remained
The captive Sikhs – though at Sahidgunj town
With their comrades' blood the soil was brown.
Says the Nawab, "Look Taru Singh –
I want to forgive you without misgiving."
Says Taru, "Why for me so much slight?"
Nawab says, "A great warrior you are
That you proved in your fight;
So, to you I bear no anger;
Only I beg of you the gift of your Beni (*)
And you will be spared harm any."
Taru replied, "I owe you as your mercy's nominee;
So offer a bit more, my head with my Beni (*)
(*) Note by Tagore: "To shave off Beni is as good as forsaking
religion for a Sikh".
"Beni" in Bengali means the coiled hair the Sikhs keep.
• * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Poem:: Nakalgarh Poem (False Fort)- of the book KATHA (Legends) written in 1899.
[This poem touchingly reflects the heroic character of the Rajputs and
yet their various factional ego which was the cause of their downfall
at the hands of the Muslim invaders.]
"I'll touch not water"
Thus did the Chitore Rana (*) swear
"Till the Bundi fort
Standing there I can't abort".
"Alas! What an oath;
Impregnable it is" – the ministers quoth;
"You can venture it
But for ignoble defeat".
The Rana says, "If so,
My oath will go".
Chitore and Bundi fort are asunder
But only six miles from one to the other.
The Harabansi tribe there
Dare devil as tigers they are.
Random is their king Hamu's raid
Of any hazard he is not afraid;
All these the Rana heard about –
Evidences now leave him no more doubt.
And it is only six miles away,
So the Rana will no more sway.
Calls all his subservient the minister –
Thus all of them confer –
"Let's build a false fort to-night
That like Bundi will sight;
Let the Rana with his hands own
Hit the fort and see it blown.
Else, just his words to abide
He is heading for suicide!"
So the minister with his aides
The false fort near Chitore lays.
Kumbha a Harabansi, Rana's vassal
Yet with his bravery tribal
On return from his stag hunt
Shoulders with archery load stunt
Smells foul in the hearsay
Early in the day –
Cries aloud, "Who's there!
With a false fort dare
Abase the Harabansi Rajput –
I'll guard the fake castle astute."
Comes Rana amidst bustle
To smash the clay castle –
"Keep afar Your Highness" –
Uproarious Kumbha says,
" A fake Bundi for a fake fight
Never I'll endure this slight;
To defend that clay mound
To-day I'm duty bound".
So does Kumbha thunder –
"Your Highness, keep afar!"
On the ground sets his knees
Shoots arrows in whiz;
Kumbha alone wards off
Their sly plot to scoff
The Harabansi glory
In full fury.
Rana's troop slay his head
All round surrounded
Near the gateway
Of the fort for play.
He drops dead,
His blood crimson red
Sanctifies the castle clean
In ablution of all vicious sin.
Note: "Rana" was the title of the King of Rajputana (now Rajasthan)
whose capital Chitore was once upon a time
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * **
Thou Hast Made Me Endless- Part VIII
Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941 AD) the Nobel Laureate of 1913 was
introduced to the West primarily through the collection of English
translation of some of his poems/songs captioned as 'Gitanjali'
(=Offering of Songs).
More translations of his works followed by the poet himself and others
after he had won the Nobel, including poems/songs, dramas, short
stories etc. However, such efforts were sporadic and sluggish, mostly
on individual initiative, which still remain so.
As a result, a vast volume of the poet's works remains un-translated
while, it appears, it is an impossible proposition to translate even a
substantial part of the poet's total works to permit those, not
privileged by the knowledge of Bengali language, a reasonably broad
view of his myriad creations where unfathomable perceptional depth of
top grade aesthetics runs through, literally true to his song "Thou
hast made me endless / Such is Thy pleasure".
Notwithstanding this, an upsurge of Tagore translation took place in
the last decade of the twentieth century by virtue of a good number of
eminent poets/translators e.g.
William Radice, Joe Winter, Ketaki Kushari Dyson, to name a few, all
of whom left their valuable contribution to this oeuvre and my book
THE ECLIPSED SUN , published in 2002, is a modest addition to this. I
have put stress on a few aspects of the poet's works, particularly
those in his twilight years, which seemed to me quite inadequately
covered so far. The followings are presented mostly based on this
RAJAT DAS GUPTA: Calcutta: e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org