Journal of Arts & Ideas, no. 8 (July-Sept 1984) p. 2.


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From the Editor

THE nineteenth and the early twentieth century produced giants in our country. These people were great writers, great scientists, great artists, masters of beautiful poetic prose about which Utpal Dutt talks with such fondness in his interview published in this number:

Itihasacharya Rajawade was one of them. A great historian, Rajwade was also a master ofMarathi prose. We publish the excerpts in translation from his famous essay on the novel, originally published in 1902. The importance of the essay lies in the perceptive comments that he makes on the form and development of the novel and, no less important, he does so going beyond the English novel. Rajwade's essay is interesting as an attempt on the part of a "traditional intellectual" in a colonised society to take a look at the culture and arts of the colonising people. The essay is informed by a certain anti-imperialism. In that sense it can be seen as a major cultural document of interaction between the colonising culture and its art-forms and the nationalist, "traditional intellectuals".

Utpal Dutt in his candid interview touches upon a whole range of problems relating to political arts and more particularly theatre. There would be few artists today who would assert as unequivocally as he does that "Party discipline is a good thing for all artists—for writers, for actors, for everyone". Artists in India have very vague notions about the relationship between the Party and the artists. They are vague because those who articulate them have certain presumably Koestlerian or Orwellian typologies in mind. Utpal Dutt has precisely that in mind when he talks oFcommissars. Nobody bothers to slop and sec. as Utpal Dutt puts it, that there are no such things as commissars. "Not in our party, in any way". Where then do these ideas come from ? One imagines that they spring from the ideas of what the Party is thought to be rather than what it in reality happens to be.


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