A straight post citation from Times Of India. (Article : Ketan Krishna| Jan 3, 2015)
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a person studying English Literature as a formal course, isn’t really studying. Whenever an Indian boy decides to offend his parents and ruin the toil of an entire lifetime, and do an English Course in a DU college, it is knowingly accepted as a step into the bottomless pit of aimlessness, unemployment and inebriation. No jobs, no future, no wife.
It is in this backdrop that a student of English Literature in DU starts his journey that will last three years. It is taken for granted that he will “read novels and waste time”. The first challenge is the transition from the space of the school to the college campus. The campus is a socio-cultural hospice. It is an amalgam of pop culture and semi-rebellion. There is every kind of individual – the intellectual, the inebriate, the local cosmopolite, the jhola-toting revolutionary. There is no uniform. There is barely any institution-imposed discipline.
The teachers don’t want silence. The teachers don’t want classes either. However they are highly learned individuals, and there is much to learn from them. The concept of education itself is altered. Knowledge has to be extracted rather than absorbed. The initiative has to taken by the student who wants to learn. There is a syllabus which has to be taught in inadequate time, and which multiplies into reading beyond the stipulated material.
Literature is a highly interdisciplinary category. One can learn about history, culture, politics, sociology, Marxism, Feminism, Postcolonialism, critical theory, literary theory, Structuralism, Post Structuralism, and several other ‘-isms’. For a person who genuinely wants to study literature, the field is fatally vast and deep. There is an infinite stream of knowledge to satisfy an unquenchable thirst that yearns to know more, without knowing why it wants to know more.
The biggest challenge which emerges is the problem of ‘telos’. ‘Telos’, which means ‘purpose’ or ‘end’, is a Greek term used often in literary discourse. Teleology – work done towards a grand conclusion. The question that begins to haunt one is that of having an objective. What is one to do, and why is one to do it? What is the purpose?
After school, he is told that he is going to enter the ‘real world’ now, but what he actually enters is a space of intermediacy, a limbo. The Beatles tell him “Nothing is real”, but before he can dismiss it as fancy, he encounters academic work which enable doubt. The true challenge for the student of English Literature, is ultimately the old, cliched one of growing up and coming of age.