ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Calcutta Diary

Calcutta Diary A M SEPTEMBER has been a cruel month, Audeu's death has followed Neruda's. Between the two, a spectrum of memories is covered, a spectrum of excitements, controversies, challenges ac- copied and refused. It has been an unending debate through history, one which the Greeks had started way back, and, perhaps even before them, \et others had dabbled in. At every age, man's rationality coalesces as well as conflicts with man's passion, the need to re-mould society is acutely felt; an inner core of malaise casts its spell, a disenchantment over things as they are grips the senses, an emotion, which keeps asserting that life is not worth living without a thoroughgoing structural engineering of the social base, benumbs the mind. The debate however goes beyond: even if, on the intellectual and emotional planes, one agrees with the proposition that society must he overhauled, what role are the philosophers and the poets supposed to play in the ensuing holocaust ? Do they join the fray, fling away the pen and pick a sword, or, having contributed their mite through their discourses and their theses and counter-theses, do they then withdraw into their shell, watch, with a detached objectivity, the progress of the battle from the side-lines, listen to the nine o'clock news broadcast, dress for dinner, leisurely prepare the manuscript of their next philosophical tract, bring out the next edition of their poetry ? Do they turn into combatants, or do they don the cloak of innocuous seconds whom the duel does not touch?

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