Arun Raghavan

Extremely pithy tagline here

TAG: politics

George Orwell on literature and intellectual honesty

If you find yourself saying tl;dr very often, you should probably stop reading now.

Madhu, being the awesome cousin that she is, sent me Books v. Cigarettes, a while ago. It’s an anthology of assorted George Orwell articles and musings, amongst which is The Prevention Of Literature — a powerful essay about the function of intellectual honesty in society and its impact on literature. Makes for a brilliant read and got me wondering about how this applies today.

I have no idea about the state of Chinese literature, but I can’t help but believe that exactly the sort of intellectual repression that he talks about must be playing a large part in the killing of Indian literature as well. This is, my opinion from extremely limited reading of Indian writing in English, but I hear similar complaints from friends who read Hindi literature too.

The mass media are a laugh riot of dishonesty, and I know of no real reporting counter-culture, underground or otherwise (the closest that I’m aware of is Kafila, but the authors there seem to be foaming-at-the-mouth more often than not … meh).

So what is one to do?

Footnote: Guess what turned up on Kafila today.

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