Thursday, 13 October 2016

Today Editorial

                     Triumph of the troubadour

Over the last century, the Nobel Prize in 

Literature  has sprung(उछला) its fair 

share of surprises. In 1950, for instance, 

the prize went to the philosopher 

Bertrand Russell, who quickly 

followed this up with two books of  

awkward(भद्दा )  and 

astoundingly(चौकाने )  pedestrian(पैदल यात्री ) short stories, 

written and published almost as if they were intended to justify the 

award. The trend has since persisted(कायम ), with the Swedish 

Academy picking writers across genres and geographies. They 

include Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer in 2011, the oft-banned 

Chinese Mo Yan in 2012, Canadian short story writer Alice 

Munro in 2013, French novelist Patrick Modiano in 2014 and 

Belarusian journalist Svetlana Alexievich, who has mined oral 

histories extensively for her non-fiction work on life in the Soviet 

Union, last year. Singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, a long shot in the 

Nobel sweepstakes for years, is this year’s delightfully  

idiosyncratic(विशेष स्वभाव का ) choice, for “having created new 

poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”.

While the purists might be aghast(भौचक्का ), what possibly 

clinched it for the 75-year-old is that he isn’t just another musician 

with a five-decades-plus career. His lyrics — almost bordering on 

the philosophical when he asks some weighty questions about 

peace and war in his 1962 hit, ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ — chronicled 

Sixties America’s angst, marking him out as a counterculture icon 

although Dylan himself would later deny having lent his voice to a 

generation. Like his contemporary Leonard Cohen, Dylan also 

wrote in a manner that made listeners, almost contradictorily, both 

engage and distance themselves from the music. In his hands the 

music and the lyrics merged and separated, urging us to respond to 

his songwriting as melody and rhythm, at one level, and as sheer 

poetry at another. His role as an influential modern ‘English poet’ 

has been underrated(काम आंकना ), despite his  profoundly(गहरा )  
personal odes about war, peace, love and closure. So has been his 

contribution to the evolution of modern music forms — few, for 

instance, would trace rap music’s seeds in Dylan’s 51-year-old 

classic advisory for young adults, ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’. 

With every passing decade, he has reinvented himself with a 

unique ability to stir hope in listeners even while plumbing the 

depths of darkness in his themes. If Dylan’s body of work were to 

be compared to any one piece of art, Pablo 

Picasso’s Guernica perhaps comes closest. Like the beam of 

sunlight on a  solitary(अकेला )  flower in a slain soldier’s hands in 

the depressing scene of the Spanish town destroyed by war, Dylan 

still brings hope in a world going increasingly awry. And that’s 

worth a Nobel.

1)Sprung meaning is jump, skip, bounce.

2)Awkward meaning is clumsy, inelegant, amateurish.

3)Astoundingly meaning is amazing, surprising, shocking.

4)Pedestrian meaning is everyday, banal, mundane, dull.

5)Persisted meaning is carry on, carry through, continue,prevail.

6)Idiosyncratic meaning is peculiar, distinctive.

7)Aghast meaning is horrified, very surprised.

8)Underrated meaning is underestimate, undervalue.

9)Profoundly meaning is intellectual, thoughtful, deep.

10)Solitary meaning is alone, single, unsociable. 

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