Academic journal article Researchers World

...Amnesia Is a Curse RAMANUJANIAN NOTIONS OF IDENTITY AND MEMORY: A READING OF THE DIALECTICS OF REFLEXIVE/SELF-REFLEXIVE, CONTEXT-SENSITIVITY/CONTEXT-FREE IN SELECT NON-FICTIONAL PROSE OF A.K. RAMANUJAN

Academic journal article Researchers World

...Amnesia Is a Curse RAMANUJANIAN NOTIONS OF IDENTITY AND MEMORY: A READING OF THE DIALECTICS OF REFLEXIVE/SELF-REFLEXIVE, CONTEXT-SENSITIVITY/CONTEXT-FREE IN SELECT NON-FICTIONAL PROSE OF A.K. RAMANUJAN

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The trajectory between contexts of living or cultural moorings to identity formations always seems to be a focal issue for a diasporic writer like A.K. Ramanujan. In all his general essays on literature and culture, the writer seeks to develop a number of innovative theoretical paradigms to deal with questions of identities as a plural category, specifically in postcolonial nations like India where culture itself is seen 'singular at the top and plural at the bottom'. Incorporating the trajectory between reflexivity/self-reflexivity and context-sensitivity/context-free, the theorist goes on to vindicate the interconnectedness of civilizations, cultures, traditions, textual productions along with individual identities as categories of having internal tension and dialogism. For the writer, if reflexivity conjoins one culture, text, individual to another and self-reflexivity/context-sensitivity denote specificity of character, then context-free urges leads culture or an individual towards the route to universalisation. Whereas memory is intrinsically related with formations of identities depending on contexts of living and cultural moorings, memory also provides the scope to be intimate with ancestral root, primordial culture and tradition i.e. the context-sensitive urges at present. In constituting the mentioned notions of identity and memory, Ramanujan follows the postpositivist realist theory of identity. The present essays is a critical evaluation of Ramanujan's innovative but less institutionalized notions of identities and memory, as strategic categories vis-à-vis the mentioned trajectories as revealed to us through his non-fictional prose. For the same, the researcher has incorporated Ramanujan's general essays on literature and culture as well as well-recognized notions of identity and memory in academia and has sought to draw the peculiarities of what can be said as typical Ramanujanian.

Keywords: Identities, Memory, reflexivity/self-reflexivity, context-sensitivity/context-free, postpositivist realist theory.

One remembers in order to forget...Only awareness, recollection, re-membering, rising beyond one's 'natural' tendency to forget and erase, only such act of knowing can release one from the thralldom of repetition and rebirth...So amnesia is a curse, a form of alienation from one's self, for one's self is largely constitute by memory.

(Ramanujan 85-86)

Prior to the publication of the two posthumous anthologies namely The Collected Essays of A.K. Ramanujan (1999) and The Uncollected Poems and Prose (2001), Attipat Krishnaswami Ramanujan, almost universally known to his associates as Raman, was basically known as a renowned poet, a folklorist, a translator and a distinguished linguist working in Indiana University of the United States as a professor in linguistics. The main reasons of this paradoxical position are that, firstly, notwithstanding his periodical publications of literary and other seminal essays in well-recognized journals and magazines before and during his departure to the USA as a Full-bright Scholar or as a diaspora, all his poetry collections starting with The Striders (1966) and translations with The Interior Landscape (1967) were published meticulously in quick succession by the wellknown publishing companies, before the mentioned posthumous collections. And secondly, Ramanujan himself did not publish his non-fictional works in compiled volumes during his lifetime, except the Forewords, Afterwords and Introductions to his translations; and thirdly, right from the beginning of his literary career to till now, in the academic and intellectual worlds, only his poetic works are thoroughly institutionalized and incorporated in the curriculums of higher studies, but not his non-fictional works. As a poet, he is not only recognized as a representative figure of the post-independent Indian English poetry, but also a seminal representative spokesman of the third world Diasporas. …

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