Tuesday, September 16, 2014

MY Contribution to AN ONLINE ILLUSTRATED ANTHOLOGY ON 9/11 AND THE ARTISTIC EXPERIENCE


Extracted from:
An Online Illustrated Anthology: 
9/11 and the Artistic Experience
Edited by Christal Cooper


Twenty-two artists of all genres and from across the globe were asked two questions:  1.  What is your personal experience of 9/11? (and) 2. How did 9/11 influence your art and/or your faith?                      
     Their responses, photos, and examples of their art
work is included in this 46 page blog post.  



RAM KRISHNA SINGH
Professor of English, Department of Humanities & Social Sciences at Indian School of Mines. 
Varanasi, India
On that fateful day, I was at home in Dhanbad, doing my routine teaching and other chores, as usual. It was a normal day like any other day but for a 'flash' about the terrorists' attack in the US on some news channel on TV. It was more serious that it initially appeared. For more information, I switched the channel and spent several hours watching the details, now history, pouring in from various quarters on the CNN and BBC. 



Though we were far away from the World Trade Center that was attacked, the event gave us some very anxious moments. My father called up from Varanasi to express his anxiety about the safety of my sister's son, working in the US. He was also worried about my other sister who had left for Stockholm to attend some conference. 



I was rather more worried, like my father, about the implications of 'high alert' announced by the Government of India for the defense officers. We didn't want our son's leave to be cancelled. He had planned to leave for Dhanbad on Sept 13. 
We could be relieved only after receiving information from each one the next day.



The 9/11 incident made me think: It never pays a country to promote terrorism in any form. As I noted in my diary on Sept 12:
"I won't be surprised of the US now attacks Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestinians, Iraq, Iran, Libya that have been promoting fundamentalism and terrorizing people. The first three countries are most susceptible to the US action....
But it's shocking to see thousands of people simply being killed in America. The way the two towers of the World Trade Center were collapsed is historic in that the US could not prevent hijacking of its airplanes from its cities nor could its intelligence services, Pentagon, satellite surveillance, missiles etc could be effective before the meticulous planning of Osama bin Laden and his terrorist supporters.  The American planes in America were used to turn to rubbles the Pentagon and the WTC and several thousands of people killed in a few minutes?  
It's time every country reconsiders its options and acts swiftly to demolish every terrorist outfit in every nook and corner of the globe.  The Human Rights politics as well as the politics of Terrorism must end, if civilization and humanity is to survive."





As far as the impact of 9/11 on my poetry is concerned, I notice no major change in my practice. I have possibly progressively taken to haiku and tanka, rather than any longer form of poetry writing just as there has been more ironical reflection on politics and religion.
I have been a university professor, teaching English language skills to students of earth and mineral sciences and engineering in a technical university, Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, for over three decades. I have also been practicing poetry besides guiding research in English language and literature. 
My poetry reveals my faith. I believe in unity of humankind and equality of sexes.  I recognize the world as one earth, one nation, one country, just as I love and respect all the races, tribes, nationalities, religions and languages. I accept the spiritual oneness of people and my concerns cut across national boundaries. I believe in living without prejudices as man belonging to the whole world, honest to myself. 



The themes of spiritual search, an attempt to understand myself and the world around me, social injustice and disintegration, human suffering, degradation of relationship -- political corruption, fundamentalism, hollowness of urban life and its false values, prejudices, loneliness, sex, love, irony etc, are prominent in my poems. It tears my psyche when I see all around me the ugly dance of religious intolerance and fundamentalism, ethnic, cattiest, and communal violence, rigidity and narrowness of attitude and behavior, degradation of human dignity, political and moral turpitude, and the suicidal urge for self-destruction. I often feel I don't belong to the place or people here. 



Born, brought up and educated in Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh, India), I have been interested in Indian English writing, especially poetry, and English for Specific Purposes, especially for science and technology. I have authored more than 160 research articles, 170 book reviews, and 39 books. Many of my poems have been translated into Italian, Greek, German, Spanish, Romanian, Chinese, Arabic, Farsi, Japanese, Serbian, Croatian, Slovene, Bulgarian, Portuguese, Crimean Tatar, Hindi, Punjabi, Kannad, Tamil, Bangla, Esperanto etc. 



New Indian English Poetry: An Alternative Voice: R.K.Singh(ed. I.K.Sharma, 2004), R.K.Singh's Mind and Art: A Symphony of Expressions (ed: Rajni Singh, 2011),Critical Perspectives on the Poetry of R.K.Singh, D.C.Chambial and I.K.Sharma (ed: K.V. Dominic, 2011), and Anger in Contemporary Indian English Poetry ( Vijay Vishal, 2014) are some of the books that explore my creativity since the 1970s. My bibliography appears in some 35 publications in the UK, USA, India and elsewhere. 


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