Literature in a Globalized context
”Bengali Tuz” (Fire of Bengal) in a globalized context
I’d like to begin with explaining the term Globalization with help of the definitions as follows:
Globalization refers to all those processes by which the peoples of the world are incorporated into a single world society, global society (p.9).
– Albrow 1990
Globalism is supplanting modernity (p. 4)
What is taking place is a process of cultural mixing or hybridization across locations and identities.
– Appadurai 1996
The process of globalization points out two images simultaneously. The first image suggests the outward extension of a particular culture to its limit i.e., the globe. Heterogeneous cultures are combined and united into a dominant culture which in the end covers the whole world. The second indicates the abridgement of cultures. Things which were being kept separated are now brought in touch and contrast.
– Featherstone 1995
Globalization is not a word or a term but an open issue.
There has been an increase in the utilization of the term Globalization since the mid – 1980’s. The inception of globalization is placed in modern times by some scholars whereas others point its emergence and background prior to the European age of discovery and journeys to the new world. The term Globalization met with an increase in the mid – 1980’s and the boost became more prominent in the mid – 1990’s. The term also gained popularity in literature especially when the texts were written on globalization and replies on it. On the other hand, literature and literary studies are evolved into a dais for reinforcing, summoning and explaining divergent social, political, literary, and cultural ideas within the domain of Globalization. Literature works are investigated by several researchers so they can discover demonstrations of different globalization themes within the texts and surroundings and to substantiate the facts of globalization with the help of literary types. The recognition of globalization ruling in Western Europe and North America is the actuality of great openings for economic evolvement around the globe and it also provided a noteworthy donation for the betterment of people’s existing conditions. The Third World recognition of globalization indicates that it is a harmful process that maximizes inequality within and around states. It can be said that globalization, combining and breaking the nation, regularity and localization, expanded material wealth and growing distress, blending, and dominance is a complicated procedure and case of antimonies and dialects. Main Arguments How is culture connected to globalization of markets and economies? Or how are the trends of money market influencing literature and language? These difficulties have gained significance in the present social, economic, and political settings and must be certainly acknowledged.
Literature was interpreted into English from around the globe, Diaspora literature, like a type of literature which is comprehensible in whole world, relative cultural studies; all these classifications are connected in a globalized surrounding. It is also believed that the literature that is translated into several languages and distributed to people outside the country of origination. The knowledge is shared across language and cultures when literature is shared in a worldwide setting. What makes ‘Bengali Tuz’ more globalized is the fact that the content includes the concept in a global context and is written by a foreigner author about India. Lungs of language are utilized by cultures to breathe; similarly modes of divergent languages are utilized by literature as a tool for a worldwide dais. Bible translated in different languages in the ancient era made it more accessible to the majority of the world.
So, it can be said that the literature in globalized context is in touch with the people around the globe with the help of the modes of translation or by Diaspora literature form. When it comes to Bengali Tuz, it is translated in English and Hindi languages and the content present in the text make it a real piece of globalized literature. The author’s interaction with divergent nationalities, their language and cultures make it a real piece of literature in a worldwide context. Inter-culturist is also an essential aspect of our Globalized nation. Literature has given to our society on the same level scales of science and technology. A piece of literature can easily earn recognition in a globalized context, when people from all over the nation can relate to it and form a connection. ‘Bengali Tuz’- a famous Hungarian journal coming from the era of early twentieth century is a remarkable example of it. The journal is not just well known among Hungarians but has also accumulated popularity around India and Bangladesh (prior to its parting from India) too. India has always been an exotic and kind of unknown destination for the western world. Bengali Tuz is one of the famous Hungarian journals written in the early twentieth century, and was published in 1944 for the first time. G. Hajnoczy Rosza’s name is not mentioned in the new Hungarian biographical lexicon or the new Hungarian literary lexicon of contemporary Hungarian writers around 1945-1977, even if ‘Bengali Tuz’ was one of the most widespread books among the female readers of Hungary. Rosza Hajnoczy, the author of Bengali Tuz spent three adventurous years with her husband in India, residing in the Shanti Niketan Ashram of Rabindranath Tagore. Her husband was a renowned orientalist, and was known as the east explorer ‘Gyula Germanus’. He was a leading Hungarian scholar of Islam and was invited by Rabindranath Tagore to tutor at Visva – Bharati. She recorded three years’ worth of experiences in a journal form. It is a novelistic voyage or travelogue which was based on actual first hand experiences from the tropical land of India. The journal was written around inter – war era of 1928 – 1931; and the author also shared her experiences with the ‘Szepesi’ newspaper. A new outlook of India was brought into light from a European point of view and not a British one. The author, circumstances and time made it an international product of literature and the concept of this journal which shows a foreigner writer record India and diverse nationalities presenting it; the involvement of all the other nationalities make it more globalized. Hajnoczy Rosza’s journey started with a cultural shock that ended up in making her a well-informed person of the new culture. In the span of her travel to India by ship from Italy, she met an Irish lady married with an Indian man, a Russian couple, an Iranian couple, and British people too.
In the beginning of her journey, she met and came up against several nationalities and started facing the international world. The story of these three years is told through a series of journal entries written by the story’s main protagonist. It is written in an epistolary style. Epistolary form can be used to the realism in a story, because it mimics the functions of actual life. Hence, it is able to display different opinions without the possibility to the device of an omniscient commentator. The journal is a record of noteworthy encounters. One doesn’t just writes down their encounters but their sentiments, ideas, and opinions are also noted down. It is a series of significant experiences which also tell us the story of change of author’s perspective about the life in general. It also shows us diverse colors of a foreigner’s life in a foreign country through the terms like racial discrimination, cultural shock, language barrier, etc. The author’s behavior was found to be empathetic towards India at last. She gained more tolerance in general life and never hid her disappointments.
We would like to discover The Hungarian author’s perspective about divergent multidisciplinary aspects like social, cultural aesthetics (change of food, climate, and dress), political religious, spiritual aspects of India of that particular period. There were instances which were found “magical” by the author foreigner perspective in the journal but were completely “normal” from the native perspective. Some of the incorrect myths of India included calling every white person as ‘Angrej’ which meant ‘britishers’ with respect for the color of their skin. The empathetic Hungarian behavior towards India was discovered as the Indians struggled for Independence from Britain as they also dealt with difficult struggle for the independence of their own country during the First World War. So, these inter cultural exchanges were found beneficial for both countries and the upgrade in mankind was utilized in a worldwide context.
The image of India can be seen by the perspective of a Hungarian author and people will be able to know hidden and untouched aspects of India from this translation. New facts will be uncovered which are advantageous for Hungarians as they will get a more clear image of India so they can expand their knowledge about India and get familiar with the provoking ‘ideology’ of the author about India. Overall, it tried to explore new dimensions for betterment of mankind and both nations which make it a true literature in globalized context.
The people also get some knowledge of not only India, but facts about First World War, and the entire world’s political settings are mentioned in it. It also shows the different colors of my Main topic- Image of India in early 20th century Hungarian writing. For example, E.M. Foster’s – ‘A passage to India’ can be considered as a piece of literature in a globalized context for international readers. But the ‘Bengal Tuz’ particularly became useful for international readers as a foreigner writer wrote about far away land and the presence of divergent nationalities inter – culturalism, glimpse of diverse cultures make it more globalized. So, this journal is an example of true form of international and inter- cultural literature because it is a Hungarian lady writing about India while she living in Shanti Niketan and Shanti Niketan is itself a little global village, because people from all over the world are gathering there for study purpose.
She compared the eastern and western world’s culture, food, dress, climate, and language in a very natural way. For instance, when German girl Gertrud said about the Press or media and mention the case of her country also, that is “Yes, there should be some control over the press .It’s the same at home. The Press is the greatest nuisance of all”, Page-320. Sometime, when Gyula compare a north eastern tribal people with Germans people. Page-337, “The Nagas have distinguished Europeans Precedent.” Even sometimes here in this Journal the writer compares the cities for example page -337, “Hyderabad is a big city which is the size of Italy”. It’s an interesting piece of text for Hungarian and Indian readers but it being more elaborated made it an interested piece of text for bigger part of world including the eastern Asian world and the western European world.
It may be a miracle for foreigners seeing the diversity of India but being an Indian, it’s the most natural thing in the world to live in a country full of diversity like India. It gets called the ‘Land of Miracles’ sometimes but for Indians; there isn’t anything miraculous about it.
This journal was written in the Shanti Niketan which was the first center of comparative literature in India where different nationalities come together and they taught while doing innovative research for betterment of mankind. This fact and setting also make it a noteworthy form of literature in globalized context. Nobel Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore is a renowned poet himself and people from all around the globe desire to be taught by him and know more about his ashram with the help of the Hungarian author. It also gives us a critical overview about social rituals of the contemporary society and gives us glimpse of India’s spirituality and peace in the ashram, while telling the readers about new things and facts about India.
The author met with a drastic climate change as she came here in Calcutta in mid-April. The beginning of the summer season is not a pleasant time for anyone, may it be a native or a foreigner. The dressing of Indian people used to make her feel different. She saw woman in Sarees instead of skirts and men were wearing dhoti – kurtas instead of pants and shirts. The food also proved to be a big and enormous problem for her as she is not a fan of spicy food but she eventually adapts herself to the environment. And as she is not able to comprehend any language spoken here, may it be Bengali or Hindi. India was in the phase of freedom struggle while her stay as she witnessed the struggle period of Indian freedom fighters. She used to feel empathetic towards the struggle of Indian freedom fighters and connected their condition of Hungary against Germany and other invading countries. She witnessed how Britishers behave racially against Indians and mentioned it with the example of ‘train incident’ where a British misbehaves with an Indian even after the Indian had ticket for the train. It reminds me of the brutal incident that occurred with Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa while he travelling there by train. So, the struggle of other third world nationality can be seen in a similar way by placing Africa in India’s place. Which again proves the global factor of this literature? India was also suffering with lots of social demerits around that time especially in Bengal where difficulties like child marriage, widow marriage; caste discrimination against on caste levels occurred and several social activists like Vivekananda protested against it. While Rosza met different people from Russia, Italy, Japan, Afghanistan, German and Britain, Americans and also get influence by different languages. That’s why
She gets in touch with Hindi, Bengali, English, Arabic, German, Russians languages.
For example, Pg. 390 states – “Everyone wanted to speak in their respective mother tongue including Hindi, Gujrati, Urdu, Oriya, Telegu, Kannada, etc. in the meeting but they all agreed to communicate through English at last” which displayed the diversity of all the languages in the Journal. The international readers are lured towards the journal because of the usage of words from different languages which also made it more globalized. For example, in Pg. – 313 Rosza mentions that Gertund whispers to her in German sometimes in the heat of the moment. In Pg. 573, she also states that Persian is the cultural language of North Indian Muslim people just like German is for her.
Being very sensitive women she had a keen observation about the other women. She showed us different shades of women’s characters of different nationalities making the text more globalized. A Danish lady struggling with an Indian husband, struggling to adapt with Indian rituals, religiously dressing in Sarees, showing dedication towards her husband are the things portrayed in the journal. The behavior of a lovable wife can connect with the characteristics of any dedicated wife around the globe despite her nationality. In Pg. 450 – Atanu compares her in reference to the furniture and stated Gertund is as West as her arm chair and Himjhuri is as East as her furniture charpoys and moras is. Meanwhile the German girl’s strong nature towards the Indian rituals is also comprehensible just like the Russian lady’s urge to return to her roots. The American doctor lady shows us a new and innovative but caring face of womanhood. While suffering from marriage, discrimination, and caste problems, Indians girls struggle for their tuition and their existence shows us different colors of an Indian woman’s life. Rosza herself as a sensitive woman observes it very keenly but also shares her point of view regarding the women’s problem around different nationalities. I being an Indian woman found it very fascinating to know that how a Hungarian lady made such a keen observation about the problems and life of Indian women around that time. We all are human beings at last and we desire to solve our problems even if they take birth out of different circumstances. The features present in the journal about women from different nationalities made it more globalized.
Pg. 495 shows Rosza meeting people from different nationalities like Swedish and American Missionaries in Agra when she wasn’t staying in Shanti Niketan and was travelling around the third year of her stay. The journal described India before Independence so it highlighted Indian sub continents as those cities are now located in various countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. The description of the events happened in locations like Lahore, Peshawar, and Dhaka made this journal broader in globalism and other aspects. Pg. 515 showed the basic distinction between The East world and The West world as Srinagar was titled as ‘Venice of Asia.’
In my perspective, the journal is filled to the brim with all the traits that makes it a genuine piece of literature in a globalized context. It is filled with the elements of multi culturalism and their different style of living. Moreover, presences of different country citizens under the same roof in Shanti Niketan – this theme make this book more globalized. ‘Bengali Tuz’ is a travel monologue and Rosza meeting with all the different nationalities during her journal made if more diversified. In conclusion, it can be said the qualities of the journal made it more alluring for readers and everyone could connect to the journal in one way or the other as we all share the same basic human structure and can enjoy learning new facts presented about our own country when there is no bias.