Tuesday, December 24, 2019

186. The Last Leaf. O Henry Story Reintroduced By P S Remesh Chandran

186

The Last Leaf. O Henry Story Reintroduced 

P. S. Remesh Chandran

 
Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum

 
00. Article Title Image By . Graphics: Adobe SP.

 
01. O Henry Family 1890s. William, Athol and Margaret Porter By Unknown.

O. Henry was a famous American short story writer born in 1862 in Greensboro, North Carolina. His real name was William Sydney Porter. He has written nearly Four hundred short stories. All his stories are full of sympathy for human beings, humour and surprise endings. It is for these twists towards the end that his stories became famous, and also for his observations on human life. It is interesting to note that his life also had this twists, turns and surprise endings. 

Neglected by the glittering art world, they engaged themselves in mundane jobs in sundry fields, often connected not in anyway to the art world.

 
The Last Leaf is a moving story about two girl artists in the old New York City and a grey-haired artist who made an inconceivable and successful sacrifice to save the life of one of them. Neglected painters can paint marvels at the risk of their life to save the life of another human being. The Last Leaf was also the Last Painting of this artist- the masterpiece he always dreamed about and he told everyone about. Painters like him were a dozen-a-dime in France, especially in Paris then as was it in New York also. Neglected by the glittering art world, they engaged themselves in mundane jobs in sundry fields, often connected not in anyway to the art world. Paradoxically, it was these unknowns’ works which sold in auction halls in posterity, fetched millions, and now adorn rich men’s mansion halls. 

He was always about to start his masterpiece but the canvass waited there for twenty five years.


02. Old O Henry house By Darryl Pearson.
 
To the old Greenwich Village west of Washington Square, art people came in flocks and settled due to the low rent there. That part of the district gradually became an artists’ colony. Two girl painters named Sue and Johnsy had their studio at the top of a three-storey brick house there. On the ground floor beneath them lived a sixty-year old artist named Berhman who became their great protector. He had wielded brush for forty years but was a failure. He always had been about to start his masterpiece but the canvass had been waiting there for twenty five years. Finally he took to drinking, and for a living served as model for the artists in the colony. He never stopped talking about his coming masterpiece. 

She was counting the number of the remaining leaves on the ivy. When the last leaf fell, she would die.


In a November month, autumn wind, rain and hail visited that village. Close behind them came Mr. Pneumonia. His icy fingers struck Miss. Johnsy and felled her. Day by day she wilted and withered and lay there still on her painted bed. Her friend Sue heard her counting backwards- eleven-ten-nine- eight-seven-six. But what was there to count in that cold artists’ room? There was nothing there to count except an old ivy plant climbing up the brick wall opposite their window. North wind had blown away nearly all its leaves and the remaining leaves and the skeletal branches clung bare to the brick wall. Johnsy was counting the number of the remaining leaves on the ivy. When the last leaf fell, she thought, she would die. 


‘The lonesomest thing in all the world is a soul when it is making ready to go on its mysterious, far journey.’

What could Sue do to solace and console her beloved friend? ‘The lonesomest thing in all the world is a soul when it is making ready to go on its mysterious, far journey.’ Sue told Berhman about her friend’s fears and fancies about when the last leaf would fall, taking her also away with it. But in spite of the incessant and heavy rain the last leaf did not fall the next morning. It did not fall for three more days in which time Johnsy regained her confidence and recovered from her illness. In fact the last leaf never fell because it was painted there in the rain and hail in the exact place of the last leaf which already had fallen. It did not even flutter or move in the wind. 

The masterpiece was created, by painting it on a plant, but the master was no more.


  
03. O Henry in 1886 By Unknown. 

On the very day Sue told Berhman about her friend’s fears, Berhman spent a dreadful night in the rain and hail in the open, standing on a ladder, painting the last leaf to the plant. A still lighted lantern, some brushes and a palette with yellow and green colour mixing and a ladder were later found in his room. So, the masterpiece was created, by painting it on a plant, but the master was no more. He was struck with pneumonia and moved to a hospital where he died after two days. Painting the last leaf exactly on the place it fell from in the night to save the girl was his masterpiece and his sacrifice. 

We would very much wish to alter the ending of the story ourselves.


Reading the story we would be thrilled, anticipating warm praises showered upon the old artist by all, but the writer rends our hearts by presenting us with the picture of his death in the end instead. We would think about altering the ending of the story ourselves to make it have a happy ending. We are perfectly free to do that in our minds for Porter won’t come and question us. We would even be forced to substitute the ending of the story with a happy and pleasant applause from everyone in the village for the dedication and ingenuity of the old artist in saving a life, but we can’t. We will still fail because the majesty and loftiness of human soul as portrayed in the end by Porter wets our eyes and numbs us and prevents us from altering the end at least in our imagination. 

THE LIFE AND WORKS OF WILLIAM SIDNEY PORTER.


Did not become a doctor but a licensed pharmacist in the same medical profession. 


William Sidney Porter was born on September 11, 1862 in Greensborough, in North Carolina to Dr. Algernon Sidney Porter and Mary Jane Virginia Porter. His mother died when he was three. The father and son went to live with the father’s mother. Young Porter was a great reader in his boyhood and his education was at his Aunt Evelina Maria Porter’s Elementary School and Lindsey Street High School. By 1881, instead of becoming a physician following the footsteps of his father he had become a licensed pharmacist but in the same medical profession, and was working in his uncle’s drugstore in Greensboro, all the while sketching people in the village around him. 

Sheep herding, ranch managing and street singing- Life in Austin, Texas. 1882- 86.


   
04. O Henry in 1902 By Unknown. 

In 1882 Porter traveled to Texas in the company of Dr. James K. Hall and lived there for two years in the doctor’s son Richard Hall’s sheep ranch. There he became familiar with sheep herding, ranch managing and rudimentary Spanish and German picked up from the immigrant ranch workers. He also read a lot. In 1884 Richard and he traveled to Austin in Texas, a place he liked much. He stayed with Richard’s friend’s family, The Harrells, for three years, working as a pharmacist, writing stories, and immersing deep in the social life of Austen, including playing music, singing in choirs and in the street, and singing night songs under the windows of young girls (serenading). How can young girls resist such ardent lovers? We will see one such entering his life later. 

Marriage, jobs, shame, magazine, and writing for the Houston Post: 1887- 99.

Porter married Athol Estes on July 1, 1887. Their daughter Margaret Worth Porter was born in September 1889. During 1887-91 Porter worked as a draftsman for the Texas General Land Office while working where he wrote several stories. From 1891 he worked as a teller and a book keeper at the First National Bank of Austin. His careless book keeping led to losing this job in 1894, having been accused of embezzlement of bank money. We do not know for sure if it was actual embezzlement or misplacement of receipts in those times of loose book keeping. In 1894, be bought a magazine and renamed it The Rolling Stone which became famous for his short stories and sketches. It lasted one year and in 1895 he was commissioned by the Houston Post to write stories and columns for them on salary. He brought his wife and daughter to Houston. 

The history of American literature would not have changed had his wife not fell ill.


  
05. William Sydney Porter in 1907 By W M Vanderweyde, New York.

In 1895 his life changed for ever. It became turbulent and even calamitous for the several years to come. The First National Bank of Austin was audited by the federal government and he was arrested for embezzlement. He was bailed out by Athol Estes’ father. In 1896, the day before he was to appear in court for trial, he changed mind and changed trains and arrived in Honduras which had not extradition treaty signed with the U. S. He had already sent his wife and daughter back to Austin from Houston and his plan was his wife and daughter would join him in Honduras and they would live forever in Honduras and never return to the United States. True, the history of American literature would not have changed had this materialized, but his wife fell ill in 1897 and could not make that journey to Honduras. The loving husband, after six months of fugitive life, returned to Austin and surrendered before the authorities to stand trial. Athol Estes died that year anyway. 

World politics and literature gets a new word: Banana Republic!

Thanks to his life as escapee for six months the world politics and literature got a new and useful word. ‘Banana Republic’ which means ‘a politically and economically unstable small nation’ was coined by him at that time to qualify a tropical Latin American nation in his Cabbages and Kings he wrote while in Honduras. Had he not been a loving husband to his wife and a loving father to his daughter and had not returned to America but decided to stay in Honduras, America would certainly have lost its greatest short story writer permanently. So we have to weigh if O. Henry was right and if America was not thankless in this affair. Remember that Porter was only 35 years then. 


America imprisoned its greatest writer for a puny little sum.
He was resigned and put up little defense and was sentenced for five years in 1898 and imprisoned at the Ohio Penitentiary, Columbus. After this conviction his late wife’s parents and his eight-year old daughter left Austen too, probably out of shame, and moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He served as pharmacist in the prison hospital and was given his own room where he continued to write stories- 14 during his stay. He was released after three years in 1901 for good behavior and went to live with the remaining family in Pennsylvania. The child never knew her father had been in prison and his publishers during this period too. Cheques were sent to a friend who delivered the stories. The amount involved in this embezzlement was $854.08 and people know today that any single story written by William Sidney Porter was worth many times this amount. So America imprisoned its greatest writer for a puny little sum. 

The name O. Henry was derived from Ohio State Penitentiary.

Many believe his pen name O. Henry was derived after Ohio State Penitentiary, i.e. ‘O Hio state pENitentiaRY’, a name he used for the first time as a revenge to send stories out from prison to editors through friends for publishing. Many others have explained its derivation other ways and he himself has explained it differently later. In 1898 he changed the spelling of his middle name Sidney to Sydney. The name O. Henry first appeared in McClure’s Magazine alongside the story Whistling Dick’s Christmas Stocking in December 1899 while he was still in jail. Sure, this name was this jail’s invaluable contribution to the world literature and there is also no proof that he endured any constraint or mistreatment in this jail. Remember that many of the finest literature in the world were produced inside jails. The names of authors who were incarcerated are a long list. Besides O. Henry, he used other pseudonyms including Olivier Henry, S. H. Peters, James L. Bliss, T. B. Dowd and Howard Clark. Anyway, this pseudonym O. Henry clicked and stuck and he soon became very famous after this name. People began to eagerly wait for his next story. 

Meeting and marrying his boyhood love.

In 1902 he moved to New York for convenience of publishing and began writing one story every week for one year for the New York World Sunday Magazine. He wrote with a vengeance and it was the most productive year in his life. In 1905 his childhood friend and author Sarah Lindsey Coleman recognized him through one of his stories and invited him to visit her. She was a Carolina mountains girl born in the same village of Greensboro as Porter. They got married in 1907. They had no children. 

He rose very early, sat before his typewriter for three hours, sold the story immediately, and they had a fine dinner with their guest!

Coleman also was a short story writer and the author of The Bijie Stories, Common Problem and Winds Of Destiny. It is through her that the world knew a lot about Porter. She was the one who once firmly said that ‘O. Henry was almost always broke’. Once, when an editor of a magazine was invited to their home Porter had no money to entertain the editor. So he rose very early in the morning, sat before his typewriter for three continuous hours, produced a story, took it to a magazine, sold it immediately, returned with money, and thus they had a fine dinner with their guest! Porter told her once that of the hundreds of stories he wrote none pleased him and that The Roads Of Destiny was the only one he wrote to please him while all the others were for pleasing his editors. Coleman used to tell reporters that ‘when Porter was writing, making a living was his first thought, his immediate aim’. 

The beautiful final resting place where the sun has shone and the rains and snows have fallen.

 06. O Henry's Final Resting Place- Blue Ridge Mountains Carolina By Ken Thomas.

Following his heavy consumption she left him in 1908 and he died in New York the next year on 5 June 1910 during a business trip. His ashes were brought to Asheville in North Carolina and buried there on a hillside. His grave is marked by a simple stone with the single word Porter as he would have wished. After thirty years of his death the city of Greensborough, his birthplace, requested Sarah Lindsey Coleman to authorize moving his remains to Greensborough from his burial place in Asheville in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. She declined. She wrote about this: ‘He lies on the hillside, in a beautiful spot selected by my brother who was his good friend. There the sun has shone and the rains and snows have fallen these 30 years. I can see no point in moving him after all these years.’ 

A very generous woman who shared royalties from her husband’s books with his daughter.


Coleman was a very generous woman who shared the big royalties from her husband’s books with his daughter till the daughter died in 1927 at the age of 27. Margaret also was a writer of books for three years till 1919 when she married a New York cartoonist. She divorced in 1920, died in 1927 in California at the age of 37, and is buried next to her father. When William Sidney Porter died on 5 June 1910, Coleman returned to her family home at Weaverville. Her book published at this time, Wind of Destiny, describes their love affair and their letters. Gradually she withdrew from writing, leading a quiet life. She died at the age of 91. 


Described as ‘the American answer to Maupassant’.

The witty narration as well as the ordinary life characters makes William Porter’s stories distinct. New York City was his favourite place where he found most of his characters from. Unlike many writers, he did not go after history and the past and his characters are all contemporary to the early twentieth century. A tear or laughter always accompanies his stories as is in their lives. He ranks equal to the French short story writer Guy de Maupassant whose footsteps Porter and Somerset Maugham followed. He was even described as ‘the American answer to Maupassant’. 


America did injustice to O. Henry.
America did injustice to O. Henry, their greatest writer. His embezzling bank money was a minor offence even in those times. He could have been let off with a fine or even pardoned. Even his sentence could have been lighter. Even after he was released from jail after five years, considering his literary contributions and before-and-after law-abiding life, he could have been granted clemency and his name cleared. Even posthumously could his name have been cleared. But the American Presidents Woodrow Wilson, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan and others did not care in spite of public demands, on the grounds of there being no formal applications! They built roads, schools, halls in his name and issued postal stamps. Even the courthouse where he was sentenced was named O. Henry Hall but they forgot to clear his name? 

Short Story Collections by William Sidney Porter:

07. O Henry House In 1936 at Lone Star Brewery, 600 Lone Star Boulevard, San Antonio, Bexar County, TX By Arthur W Stewart, US Govt.

Cabbages and Kings 1904, The Four Million 1906, The Trimmed Lamp 1907, Heart of the West 1907, The Gentle Grafter 1908, The Voice of the City 1908, Roads of Destiny 1909, Options 1909, The Two Women 1910, Strictly Business 1910, Whirligigs 1910, Sixes and Sevens 1911, Rolling Stones 1912, Waifs and Strays 1917, O. Henryana 1920, Postscripts 1923, and O. Henry Encore 1939. Postscripts 1923 contains poems and articles besides stories and O. Henry Encore 1939 poems and sketches also. 


There were also more than five score uncollected short stories, besides a book titled 12 Poems. 23 poems also remain uncollected. His letters from 1883 to 1928 also were published.


(Prepared as a lecture to undergraduate literary students in ---- and first published on: 24 December 2019)
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Image Courtesy:Wikimedia Commons
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Tags:
 
American Short Story Writers, English Articles Essays, Free Student Notes, Girl Painters, New York Art World, Poor Painters Artists, Sarah Lindsey Coleman, The Last Leaf, William Sidney Porter,

About the Author P. S. Remesh Chandran:


08. Author Profile Of P S Remesh Chandran By Sahyadri Archives.


Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of Swan: The Intelligent Picture Book. Born and brought up in the beautiful village of Nanniyode in the Sahya Mountain Valley in Trivandrum, in Kerala. Father British Council trained English teacher and Mother University educated. Matriculation with distinction and Pre Degree Studies in Science with National Merit Scholarship. Discontinued Diploma studies in Electronics and entered politics. Unmarried and single.

Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/psremeshchandra.trivandrum
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PSRemeshChandra
You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/user/bloombooks/videos
Blog: http://sahyadribooks-remesh.blogspot.com/
Site: https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/
E-Mail: bloombookstvm@gmail.com

Post: P. S. Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books, Trivandrum, Padmalayam, Nanniyode, Pacha Post, Trivandrum- 695562, Kerala State, South India.




Thursday, December 19, 2019

185. If we enact a law and make people living in a country go out, our lives will not be safe anymore. P S Remesh Chandran

185
 
If we enact a law and make people living in a country go out, our lives will not be safe anymore

P. S. Remesh Chandran

 
Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum

 
00. Article Title Image By . Graphics: Adobe SP.

 

1


If we enact a law and make people living in a country for long not citizens of that country anymore and compel them to leave the land and force them out, irrespective of if any other country would accept them or not, history of the world shows that we are not safe anymore. BJP and its students wing ABVP are no exceptions and that is why they are begun to be attacked countrywide. If they did not read world history, it was their fate. This happens because they did not create that country out of their own blood and sweat like they produce their sons and daughters but others did. India says military will be deployed if disruptions continue like in Delhi and Assam, and that is what neighbouring countries eagerly wait for- redeployment of military from borders. 

2

Germany and Italy once tried this forcing out of other races and they were countries deep-rooted in history and their religion Christianity was widespread. They also had the support and help of other very powerful nations like Japan. Germany had a very advanced and powerful science and industry and so was Italy too, and both of them did not need much import or export to survive as a nation. Still, those little clowns Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini who ordered other races to go out of their countries ended their lives at the hands of their own people, not other people or races. Such was the wrath of people. One committed suicide by shooting his own rifle into his own mouth and the other was dragged by people, killed, and hanged in an electric post head down. These puny little men who in their vain glory mimicked mighty Roman Emperors and German Kaisers cowered at their first direct confrontation with people and their courage lasted only till them and their commanders, cabinet ministers and surrounding cronies were captured by people. Benito cried all the way to the electric post. No one heard the other’s weeping except his keep Eva Brown. Does anyone think the power, authority and security of clowns who are not properly schooled and learned in history ultimate and will last at least a few years? It lasts only till the people in their own land begin to think seriously. Even if let free to go and live anywhere, would Hitler and Mussolini have been able to travel abroad among other people without torn to pieces by other races? 

3

Conditions in India are not any better or any different. If a ruler of the country orders any races or people to go out, India will have to live without other countries’ science and industry which she cannot because India is not such a totally self reliant country. It cannot sustain without exports and imports to or from other countries. And its religion- i.e. its present ruling Hindu religion of which the ruling Hindu party proclaims has their only support- is totally isolated in this world. It’s the only country with that religion. No outside help is ever going to come, like in Germany and Italy, once the extraditions of other races begin. Many wonder if even crude oil and spare parts for defense equipment will continue to flow to a Hindu India from Muslim and Christian countries, whatever price India would be willing to pay. China is waiting for that very thing to happen and that is why they promptly support the country’s new aggressive religio-politico-economic policies, in the hope that India would eventually break, become weak defense-wise, people will eventually rebel, military will become inadequate to protect borders as well as rural interiors, interior administration and suppression of people will have to be entrusted to Hindu militant Rashtreeya Svayam Sevak Samgh, vassal Christian and Muslim countries would say farewell, the country would become totally alienated in international forums and that would be when for them to strike. Why other countries wait is India is still a democratic country virtually, in name, and is not yet a religious theocracy like Iran and Pakistan. They hope, with a few more new laws and constitution amendments, India will soon become one. So they wait. 

4

Of all the people in India the Muslims and the Christians are the most industrious people and the Hindus are the least. Everything left to themselves- that is agriculture, industry, and science and man power, there will soon be nothing to consume, nothing to export and nothing to boast of, unless there are concentration camps and forced labor for other races in every state, inviting the sure attention, interference and meddling of the world. So, there will only be religion in the end for the ruling class and poverty and diseases for the people. The truth is what they began as fundamentalism in religion is going to end in no religion. 

5

Several European nations including the United Kingdom are already warning their citizens that India is a risky country to travel and advise people not to travel. The United States is already discussing if a few Indian leaders will have to be declared Non-Gracia, i.e. Unwanted. The United Nations Organization is processing papers against ethnic and racial cleansing supposedly going on in India. No one except Hindu religious fanatics and zealots in the Indian administration and bureaucracy say things look good for India and the future is not bleak.


Written and first published on: 18 December 2019

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Image Courtesy:
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Tags:
 
Concentration Camp, Constitution Amend, Crude Oil, Ethnic Racial Cleansing, Extradition, Forced Labor, Hindu Fanaticism, Hitler, Import Export, India Germany Italy, Mussolini, Non-Gracia, Theocracy,

About the Author P. S. Remesh Chandran:


00. Author Profile Of P S Remesh Chandran By Sahyadri Archives.

Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of Swan: The Intelligent Picture Book. Born and brought up in the beautiful village of Nanniyode in the Sahya Mountain Valley in Trivandrum, in Kerala. Father British Council trained English teacher and Mother University educated. Matriculation with distinction and Pre Degree Studies in Science with National Merit Scholarship. Discontinued Diploma studies in Electronics and entered politics. Unmarried and single.

Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/psremeshchandra.trivandrum
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PSRemeshChandra
You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/user/bloombooks/videos
Blog: http://sahyadribooks-remesh.blogspot.com/
Site: https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/
E-Mail: bloombookstvm@gmail.com

Post: P. S. Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books, Trivandrum, Padmalayam, Nanniyode, Pacha Post, Trivandrum- 695562, Kerala State, South India.





Saturday, December 14, 2019

184. The Toys. Coventry Patmore Poem. Appreciation By P S Remesh Chandran

184
 
The Toys. Coventry Patmore Poem Appreciation

P. S. Remesh Chandran

 
Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum

 
00. Article Title Image By . Graphics: Adobe SP.

 
=Coventry Patmore was a British poet and essayist who had a deep concern for religion. Through his poems, he reacted to the spiritual degeneration of his times. His essays and articles were mostly criticism. His poem Toys pictures the sorrows of childhood and the fatherly relationship of God to man. Just like a father punishes a child, God too can punish a man for his wrong doings but He forgives. It’s the message in the poem for fathers who punish children.

Naturally a child assumes the role of a grown up man to fill the gap of not being there a fatherly care.

  
01. Portrait of Coventry Patmore By John Singer Sargent.

=The poet's motherless child spoke and behaved like grown-up people, which the poet disliked. Children should behave like children, not like grown up people. But is it possible for children now not to behave like adults, especially after communication technology has advanced much and knowledge is now at everyone’s fingertips, and everyone is now becoming much mature? But a century before there was not this communication technology and no knowledge at everyone’s fingertips. So why should a child behave like an adult then? It was because there was a gap of fatherly care in his life in his mother’s absence and naturally the child assumed the role of the grown up man to fill that gap.

A domestic situation which opens innumerable doors for child psychologists!

=For disobeying him for the seventh time in one day, the poet beat him and sent him to bed without the usual kisses. He ought to have been more tolerant towards the motherless child. Fearing grief should hinder the child's sleep he visited his bed to find him in deep slumber. His darkened eyelids and wet eye lashes were proof he had been sobbing for a long time. The poet felt remorse for his act of unkindness. He kissed away his son's tears while he himself wept, for he could see what gave comfort to the child in his grief, in his place. They were his toys arranged neatly on a table beside his bed. They were simple but enough to comfort a grieving child- ‘a box of counters, a red-veined stone, a piece of glass abraded by the beach, six or seven shells, a bottle with blue bells and two French copper coins’. Where the child longed for the caressing of his father, he bridged the gap and found solace by caressing his toys! True, his toys would not beat him and send him away lonely to bed.  


The reader at this part of the poem would immediately think how great must have been the child’s lonely grief and how much he must have wept. He must have just reversed the role of father and child, assumed the role of father and caressed and soothed the toys to sleep as would have wished his father to have caressed him to sleep- a domestic situation which opens innumerable doors for child psychologists! True, it is a reflection of everyone's childhood. One will wonder why the modern day so-called poets can't create poetry of such pure emotions.

God does not punish man for his multitude of wrongs. He forgives.

Just as the poet punishes the child for his puny little misdoings, God can certainly punish the poet for his multitude of wrongs but He does not do it. He forgives instead. That is the fatherly attitude of God to man. Once he has wept as a child, for his child, God's tenderness and kindness dawns on his mind. The poet repents that he had never been as good a father to his child as God has been to him. Man has been moulded by God from the clay; in his own image. Even then man has not understood the goodness of God. When man at last lies with trancèd breath in his death bed not troubling God anymore, He still does not wish to punish him. Such good is God. So when that night the poet wept and prayed, he prayed God to leave aside His anger and forgive him for his childishness and his unkindness to his child.

It is when a child reaches his mother that he is the most soothed and consoled.


  
02. Coventry Patmore in 1891 By Herbert Rose Barraud.

What would be the grievous thoughts passing through the mind of a motherless child? Can a father understand them? Or can anyone understand them for a fact? It is believed that a mother is the only person in the world who is never jealous of the achievements of her children. Not even the father could be that un-jealous. It is when he reaches his mother that a child is the most soothed and consoled. It is like life consoled when it finally reaches the fountain of its origin. The mother and child relationship is incomparable. It’s unique in the world.

What is the effect of a mother’s punishment? Suppose a mother beats a child and sends him away. The child is now cross with its mother and goes to sleep with its father. In his sleep he is carried to his mother. When he awakes, he is lying in deep embrace of his mother and remembers nothing about being cross with his mother ever. Such is the sentiments of children. They forgive easily like God. That is why we say children are the representatives of god in this world, and mothers.

In the cource of the appreciation of this poem we even doubted if the poet was becoming and behaving like the Duke in Robert Browning’s poem My Last Duchess. No, it is not. He well understands how a motherless child feels, especially when neglected or punished by its father. The poem is the proof. So he must have remarried every time to provide a mother for his children.

Beating a child is better than scolding him and comparing him with another.

What is the difference in the effect between beating a child and scolding him? Remember what one of the greatest scholars in England, Dr. Johnson, told about beating children which he considered was very good compared to scolding them instead. ‘The rod produces an effect which terminates in itself’, he said. It means, when the rod is taken away, the effect it produced also ends there. But when you scold a child instead, you usually compare him with another and create long-lasting ugly effects. You actually compare him with his brother or sister and ‘make brothers and sisters hate each other’ in the long run. That was why Johnson said beating a child was better than scolding him and comparing him with another one.

THE LIFE AND WORKS OF COVENTRY PATMORE.

The dilemma of selecting between poetry, art and science.

Coventry Patmore, or Coventry Kersey Dighton Patmore in full, 1823-1896, was born at Woodford in Essex, England. He inherited his literary talents from his father, author Peter George Patmore. He had exceptional artistic talents. He also was a science enthusiast. He was schooled at home and later in France. He was always in a dilemma of pursuing poetry, art or science. Each equally won- poetry a little better. His critical essays also were held in high esteem in his times.

The son follows in the footsteps of the father.

Peter George Patmore was a British writer who was a friend of William Hazlitt and Charles Lamb. He was also a government servant. He was the editor of the New Monthly Magazine for 12 years from 1841 to 1853. He also contributed to such periodicals as the Liberal Review, the Westminster Review, the Retrospective Review, the Blackwood's Magazine, the London Magazine and the Monthly Magazine. The noted among his books include Imitations Of Celebrated Authors 1826, The Mirror Of The Months 1826, Cabinet Of Gems 1837, The Court Of Queen Victoria 1844, The Romance Of A Week 1844, My Friends And Acquaintance 1854, and Marriage In May Fair 1854 in the order of their publishing, not writing. A few among these were published posthumously. He also published a series of articles on old paintings titled Picture Galleries Of England. No wonder his eldest son inherited not only literary talents but artistic talents also from him. His wife, and Coventry Patmore’s mother, was Eliza Robertson. He died in Hampstead in 1855 at the age of 69.

British Museum assistant, poet and family man.

=In 1846 Coventry Patmore joined the services of the British Museum as a Printed Books Assistant and continued there for nineteen years during which time he wrote many poems also. In 1847 he married Emily Augusta Andrews and they had had two sons and three daughters. In 1862 his wife of 15 years Emily died and in 1865 he married his second wife Marianne Byles. (We will wonder why his wives die after exactly fifteen years and look up Robert Browning’s My Last Duchess to read). In 1880 Marianne died and in 1881 he married his children's governess Harriet Robson.

The unparalleled The Angel In The House and other works.

 03. Coventry Patmore Lived Here 1858-1860 at 85, Fortis Green, London By Spudgun67.

=In 1844 he published a small poetical collection which was a failure. After eleven years, in 1853, this collection was re-edited and elaborated and published as Tamerton Church Tower which gained him the friendship of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The next year, in 1854, the most memorable and acclaimed of his poems came out- the first section of a long lyrical poem in multiple parts, The Angel In The House. The other three sections followed as The Betrothed And The Espousals in 1856, Faithful For Ever in 1860 and The Victories Of Love in 1862. Together The Angel In The House serves as his classical work, considered since then as the ideal of Victorian femininity and happy marriage. (This work shall not be confused with the autobiographical essay by Virginia Wolfe, The Angel In The House, which proclaims women’s rights).

By 1879 he had become more a critic than a poet.

=In his early writings happy love and marriage was the main theme which was replaced by the grief of loss theme in later years. The finest of his poems were published as The Unknown Eros in 1878. By 1879 he had become more a critic than a poet. Subsequently, his Principles In Art came out in 1889 and Religio Poetae (Principles Of Poetry) in 1893. ‘Courage In Politics And Other Essays’ containing his critical essays till last since then came out posthumously in 1921. He died in 1896 at the famous salt-producing port village of Lymington in Hampshire, one of the finest places in England, where he had moved to spend his last days.


(Prepared as a lecture to undergraduate literature students in September 1995)
 
First published on: 14 December 2019

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Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
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Tags:
 
British Poets, Beating Scolding Comparing, Child Psychology, Coventry Patmore, Domestic Situations, Dr Johnson, Fatherly Care, God Forgives, Grief, Punishing Motherless Child, Soothe Console, Toys,

About the Author P. S. Remesh Chandran:


04. Author Profile Of P S Remesh Chandran By Sahyadri Archives.

Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of Swan: The Intelligent Picture Book. Born and brought up in the beautiful village of Nanniyode in the Sahya Mountain Valley in Trivandrum, in Kerala. Father British Council trained English teacher and Mother University educated. Matriculation with distinction and Pre Degree Studies in Science with National Merit Scholarship. Discontinued Diploma studies in Electronics and entered politics. Unmarried and single.

Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/psremeshchandra.trivandrum
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PSRemeshChandra
You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/user/bloombooks/videos
Blog: http://sahyadribooks-remesh.blogspot.com/
Site: https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/
E-Mail: bloombookstvm@gmail.com

Post: P. S. Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books, Trivandrum, Padmalayam, Nanniyode, Pacha Post, Trivandrum- 695562, Kerala State, South India.







Friday, December 13, 2019

183. Culture. K M Munshi Essay Reintroduced By P S Remesh Chandran

183
 
Culture. K M Munshi Essay Reintroduced

P. S. Remesh Chandran

 
Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum

 
00. Article Title Image By . Graphics: Adobe SP.



K. M. Munshi was a Gujarati freedom fighter, writer and social worker in India. After India’s independence he turned pro-Hindu and founded several Hindu organizations, institutions and journals. He was considering more the future of Hinduism in India than the future of India. ‘Culture’ is an extract from Munshi’s book ‘Foundations of Indian Culture.’ Even while disagreeing with many of his political views there are arguments in this article which we have to agree with. 

Culture is a product of the social environment; civilization is an end result of technological advancement.
 

01. K M Munshi In 1950. Portrait By Photo Division, Govt of India. 


Culture and civilization are different. Culture is a product of the social environment. It has a national continuity. Civilization is an end product of technological advancement. Sri Rama and Sita put on bark clothes and walked on foot; we have nylons to wear and giant airlines to travel in. It only means that we are now more civilized than them. But we cannot say we are more cultured than them. Culture is a way of life. It is based on fundamental values. It has little to do with the material equipments of life. Culture is reflected in the art, literature and religion. 


Culture comes from the past, adjusts itself to the present, and moves forward to shape the future.

 02. K M Munshi in 1950 with (LtoR) Sardar Baldev Singh and Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar near Indian Parliament By Unknown.


Culture is continuous. It comes from the past, adjusts itself to the present, and moves forward to shape the future. Continuous collective life of a people causes a steadily flowing stream of culture. For countries like Africa and India where there are different people with different traditions and social systems, a common culture is a good cementing force. The mythological, historical or imaginary triumphs of the past must be woven into the collective conscience of the people. Thus a vital culture can be built. Different religious communities should be having common triumphs in the past to remember. 

The life and works of K. M. Munshi.


 03. K M Munshi in 1950 at Somnath Temple planting tree as Minister for Food and Agriculture.

K. M. Munshi, 1887-1971, or Kanhaiyalal Maneklal Munshi in full, was born in 1887 in Gujarat and practiced as lawyer in the Bombay High Court. Even while working in the Indian National Congress, he did not accept the secular policies of Congress and its attitude towards Muslims. He even thought about a civil war to suppress the idea of the dividing of India and the formation of Pakistan. But Congress did not favour such ideas of civil wars and splitting people. He was pro-Hindu. As Congress had no place for communal zealots he left Congress and joined the right wing Swatantra Party which evolved into Bharatiya Jana Sangh, precursor to the present ruling Hindu party of India- the Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP. Under Congress, he was a member of the Constituent Assembly of India, and was made the Governor of Uttar Pradesh and the Minister for Food and Agriculture. He founded the famous Indian educational trust Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and the Hindu organization Vishva Hindu Parishad. He was the one who initiated the renovation of the Somanath Temple by the Government of India.

04. K M Munshi as Governor of Uttar Pradesh 1952-57 By Basantlal.
Munshi wrote in Gujarati, English and Hindi. He started the Bhavan's Journal. His novels and dramas were based on ancient Indian religious and fictional historic themes. His works in English include The End of an Era, Gujarat and Its Literature and Bhagavad Gita and Modern Life.


(Prepared as a lecture to undergraduate literature students in November 2002)
 
First published on: 13 December 2019

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Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
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Tags:
 
Bharatiya Janata Party BJP, Dividing of India, Formation of Pakistan, Free Student Notes, Gujarati, Indian Writers Politicians, Jana Sangh, K M Munshi, Pro-Hindu, Splitting people,


About the Author P. S. Remesh Chandran:


05. Author Profile Of P S Remesh Chandran By Sahyadri Archives.

Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of Swan: The Intelligent Picture Book. Born and brought up in the beautiful village of Nanniyode in the Sahya Mountain Valley in Trivandrum, in Kerala. Father British Council trained English teacher and Mother University educated. Matriculation with distinction and Pre Degree Studies in Science with National Merit Scholarship. Discontinued Diploma studies in Electronics and entered politics. Unmarried and single.

Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/psremeshchandra.trivandrum
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PSRemeshChandra
You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/user/bloombooks/videos
Blog: http://sahyadribooks-remesh.blogspot.com/
Site: https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/
E-Mail: bloombookstvm@gmail.com

Post: P. S. Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books, Trivandrum, Padmalayam, Nanniyode, Pacha Post, Trivandrum- 695562, Kerala State, South India.