Journal of Arts & Ideas, no. 6 (Jan-Mar 1984) p. 2.

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From the Editor

HIS state of literary criticism in India is sad. Its major problem is its total rootlessness. This has resulted into the emergence of two broad schools which are apparently contradictory but are united in their confusion. One school has encouraged a very strange revivalism which makes Rasa Siddhanta, the theory ofRasa, the most meaningful aesthetic theory ever produced by man and insists on its contemporary relevance. Bharata and Abhinavagupta are our Plato and Aristotle. These ancient Indian thinkers were doubtless great. The crucial question, however, is whether they are as relevant to our contemporary creativity as the Greek philosophers are to the contemporary European aesthetics and literary criticism. The other school has tenaciously clung to what Prof. Patankar describes in his article of this issue as a "particularly weak branch of the Kantian-Hegelian aesthetics." It is not uncommon to meet Indian aestheticians who think that the combination of these schools has produced aesthetic thought which can be taken seriously.

Patankar questions this with all the vehemance at his command. His paper was first presented at a seminar in a small town in Maharashtra. The context and references are, therefore, very local. Yet we think it is a worthwhile exercise because the state of literary theory in most Indian languages is not very different. It is

almost uniformly depressing.


Pradhan discusses the notion of literary history from a Marxist perspective. He explores the roots of its poverty in Marathi and in so doing puts his fingure on the same problem. There is occasionally a brilliant piece of writing like Rajwad-de's introduction to a work called Radhdmadhdwilaschampu. But such pieces are few and far between. Pradhan is quite right in not basing his argument on them but rather to pose the question-why is there no good literary history in Marathi?

Juntiaiy— March

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