BISHNU DEY, IN THE SUN AND THE RAIN, People's Publishing House, New Delhi, 1972 pp 253 Price Rs 25.
THERE has been, of late, publication of a number of books in our country containing lectures, journalistic writings, literary criticism and miscellaneous belles-lettersby distinguished academics. The trend, obviously imitative of the West, is, however, quite healthy and welcome for more than one reason. The stigma that usually attaches itself to our university dons is that they are very limitedly bookish, allergic to original thinking, indifferent to their socio-academic duties and generally more interested in the moves and countermoves on the chess-board of the academic administrative set-up than in fulfilling their true roles as the captains of national culture. There are very few indeed in our academic circles who would readily accept the all-important fact that the pursuit of an academic problem in the stereotyped pedagogic fashion has hardly any value unless the problem is related to the grass-roots, that is, to the problem of life here and now. Still less is the awareness that in any field of intellectual enquiry the point of intersection between the national and international should be correctly pinpointed and defined and that the degree and extent of fruitfulness in such endeavours are closely related to the success of the enquirer in having gained a full knowledge of the fertilisation and cross-fertilisation out of which the cultural matrix has evolved. It is in such context that Bishnu Dey's book should be welcomed and acclaimed.
In The Sun and The Rain has the significant subtitle Essay on Aesthetics. The twentyone essays in it along with the miscellaneous concluding piece, "Notes on the Way", deal with varied areas of fine arts, mainly those which would specially appeal to a scholar like Bishnu Dey who has devoted a lifetime to the study of literature and its explication to students. The distinction of Dey lies in the fact that he has also been a Bengali poet of outstanding merit, one whose poetry, though deeply saturated with European influences, has never lost indigenons cultural moorings. Happily for him it is his poetic sensibilities which flow into his critical efforts.