The role of writers and literature

“There are two theories about art and literature. The first, ‘art for art’s sake’ and the second, ‘art for social purpose’.

According to the first theory, art and literature are meant only to create beautiful or entertaining works, to please and entertain people and the artists themselves, and not to propagate social ideas. 

The other theory is that art and literature should serve the people, and help them in their struggle for a better life, by arousing emotions against oppression and injustice.

However, there is hardly any good art and literature today before us. … There seems to be a vacuum in artistic and literary terms. Everything seems to have become commercialised. Writers write not to highlight the plight of the masses but to earn money.

If someone writes about the people’s real problems it will spread like wildfire. But are our writers doing this? If they are not, why do they complain that nobody wants to read them? Art and literature must serve the people. Writers and artists must have genuine sympathy for the people and depict their sufferings. Like Dickens and Shaw in England, Rousseau and Voltaire in France, Thomas Paine and Walt Whitman in America, Chernyshevsky and Gorky in Russia and Sarat Chandra and Nazrul Islam in Bengal, they must inspire people to struggle for a better life, what can be really called human existence, and to create a better world, free of injustice. Only then will people respect them.”

More: http://m.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/article2837586.ece/

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