ABUL MANSUR AHMAD: Our Language and our Literature
It is not merely a matter of formality that we observe the 21st February as our Martyrs' Day. In it is epitomized a sacred cause, an eternal message of life. So to us it does not matter what was the size and number of the persons sacrificed. We are concerned only with the greatness of the cause at issue.
The great cause it symbolizes is the language movement of East Bengal. This movement is an historical event much deeper in its significance and greater in its magnitude than many of us appear to have realised. The simple patent fact, no doubt, is the normal democratic right of the majority of the citizens of Pakistan to have their mother tongue statutorily recognised as their State language. But that is not the whole truth. It goes much beyond. That beyond is the realization of our national identity which is the ultimate goal of all political independence and economic liberation. In our own case it is the very raison d'etre of Pakistan.
It is universally recognised that a nation can realize its identity only through its literature. It is equally recognised that a nation can create its own literature only through its own language. So what our February martyrs have done on this occasion is that they have put us on the right track towards our ultimate goal. This is the historic significance of the occasion. It is both a milestone and a polestar to guide us towards rediscovery of our 'weness' and attainment of our 'ourness'. That is where the fountainhead of our national identity lies. That is the direction in which our students and youths, the unfailing vanguards of all our national movements, have, by their February Revolution, signalled their superiors to advance. The glorious success of their revolution is imperishably enshrined in the country's Constitution in the shape of recognition of Bengali as one of the two State languages of Pakistan. That was the point where apparently and logically the duty and responsibility of our students and youths ended and those of our poets and writers began.
But unfortunately the latter have signally failed to play their part in the intellectual regeneration of a new nation composed of an old civilized people. However shocking and painful it may sound the hard fact and the plain truth is that in long eighteen years of political independence, thirteen years after the February Revolution and nine years after the constitutional recognition of our language, we have not advanced to any appreciable degree in laying the foundation of our national literature through which we are supposed to realize our national identity. To our great shame we have not moved one step towards rediscovery of East Pakistan. We still remain the literary dominion, linguistic colony and cultural hinterland of Calcutta as before.
Why is it so? The answer is very simple. With the exception of a few, the generality of our poets and writers whose duty it was to lead the people in and through an intellectual revolution not only did not do so but themselves could not keep pace with the emotional upsurge of the people who were pulsating with a new life. This pulsation, though extremely intense, was vague all the same. It was for the creative artists to give it a purpose, a direction and a shape. It was their duty, both national and moral, to give our people such a lead. They needed it badly. All peoples in all ages needed and got it as a post-revolution intellectual salvage service rendered to the nations. An intellectual vacuum interrupted only by thick mists of ideological and conceptual confusions is a phenomenon inevitably coming in the wake of all revolutions and Pakistan was a revolution in all senses of the term. It dashed to pieces many prevailing notions, traditional beliefs, conventional ideas and time-honoured definitions of things and matters not excluding history and geography. It was, in fact, a complete break with the past. This vacuum was to be filled up with the creative arts contributed by the intellectual 1eadership of the people which the poets and writers, in their own rights, constitute. This they did not do. What did they do instead? They simply imitated our administrators. Nay, they did more. Our administrators could bring to Dacca only a portion of administrative Calcutta; but our poets and writers came to Dacca with the whole of intellectual Calcutta in their brain. It is, therefore, only natural that sitting at Dacca, the capital of a new nation, our poets and writers were continuing to gaze towards the same horizon, wield their pens in the same direction and sing the same tune in the same language as they had been doing sitting at Calcutta. They overlooked the basic fact that from the mere poets and writers following in the footsteps of great masters like Bankirn Chandra, Michael Datta, Rabindranath and Sarat Chandra, they have now become the torch-bearers of the renaissance of a new nation born of our basic conflict with the culture of which those great masters were propounders and exponents. As a result our writers failed to realize that it was no longer enough to say that Bengali is our mother tongue just as it is no longer enough to say that Bengal is our motherland. Just as we can no longer claim the entire territory of Bengal as our own and all Bengalees as our compatriots, so cannot we claim any longer the whole of Bengali language and literature as our own. But this is exactly what our writers are doing. They are doing so on the avowal that the Bengali language and literature is indivisible and so it has not been partitioned with the partition of the territory of Bengal. They appear to have wholly misconceived the salutary maxim that art and literature ##transcended political boundaries. They seem to be obsessed with a countryless literary supernationalism. To them any talk of cultural and literary autonomy of East Pakistan is illiberal parochialism just as in the political sphere to some politicians any talk of regional autonomy of East Pakistan is narrow secessionist provincialism. Such poets and writers are not expected to produce any creative art for, and to discover the national identity of, East Pakistan. The natural result has been the prevailing cultural barrenness and literary sycophancy of East Pakistan. There seems an all-eroding sense of frustration eating into the very vitals of our writers and poets.
The recent armed conflict between Pakistan and Bharat although unfortunate in all other respects, has, however, served as a boon to the cultural and literary life of East Pakistan. It was for the first time that our writers have turned their eyes towards their own motherland. It was for the first time that our poets and artists have discovered beauty in the blue sky and the green meadows of East Pakistan. It was for the first time again that our musicians have recognised melody in the chirpings of our birds, dronings of our bees and ripplings of our rivers and rivulets. This conflict, for the first time, has made our poets and writers realise that the poets and writers of West Bengal however talented they might be, were not our own emulate, and the art and literature created by them, however meritorious, are not our own to adopt. It has also projected in high relief that great Rabindranath, admittedly the most illustrious Bengali poet, was, after all, not a national poet of East Pakistan. Indeed this fact has always been so obvious that no armed conflict was at all necessary to make our poets and writers to see it. This has been and always is such an important factor in our cultural and national life that it should be alwasy borne in mind both in Indo-Pak peace and war. The leaders of thought and particularly the creative poets and artists, must always remember that Pakistan was created not out of anger but as a wise recognition of the fact of life learnt through the experiences of ages. This is particularly applicable in the case of our language and our literature.
Philologically Bengali is as hybrid a language as ethnically Bengalees are a crossbred people. The Bengali vocabulary is full of words both nouns and pronouns, verbs and predicates and phrases and idioms of various linguistic origin like Dravidian, Sanskrit, Magadh, Prakrit, Portuguese, Arabic, Persian and English just as Bengali race is an admixture of various ethnic types like Dravidian, Austroloid, Alpinus, Mongolian, Caucasian and Semetic as demonstrated by their stature, physiognomy, skin colour and skull formation.
A panoramic view of the history of Bengali language and literature will show that they are the adoptive children of the Muslim rulers of Bengal grown into manhood under their paternal care during a long period of over five hundred years from the thirteenth to the eighteenth centuries. It is known to the students of history of Bengal that the Hindu kings of Bengal and the Hindu and Buddhist emperors of Patliputra and Kanoj who ruled Bengal before the advent of the Muslims for centuries were all out for Sanskrit and the elite of the era naturally followed the monarchs. It is also an historically established fact that the Buddhist monks, Sramans and Bhikshus of Buddhist Bihars (Universities) overwhelming majority of which were located in most of the districts now comprising East Pakistan, had developed a non-Sanskrit popular language called Buddha-Sanskrit which was a refined mixture of Magadh-Prakrit with local dialects. During the reign of the Sen dynasty vigorous attempts were made by the kings and their officers to supplant this language by Sanskrit for which purpose thousands of Brahman Pundits were imported to Bengal from Kanoj and other centres of Sanskrit learning. This resulted not only in almost total elimination of Buddha-Sanskrit from the cultural life of Bangal but also in utter annihilation of the Buddhists themselves. Many of the Buddhist scholars just to avoid personal incarceration and forfeiture of their religious books written in Buddha-Sanskrit, fled the country via Nepal to Tibet and China. It is for this reason that none of the innumerable books and scriptures of this period and of this language are available in Bengal though some are found in Nepal.
The Muslims came to Bengal at this critical juncture and saved the Buddhists and their language from total annihilation. They did it firstly by resisting further advance of Sanskrit and secondly by patronising the development of the local language. The Muslim rulers found that this language was more suited to their administrative purposes due to its simplicity and popularity. Buddhism itself being a casteless democratic religion, the language it had developed was very naturally closer to the masses unlike Sanskrit which was a language of the classes. The farsighted Muslim rulers gradually transformed this language into a rich literary one which they gave the name of Bengali along with that of the country which they named Bengal and adopted as their motherland. The advent of the Muslims was hailed by the locals from the very inception. Buddhists and non-caste Hindus alike regarded the Muslims as their saviours which fact was ably depicted by Ramai Pandit in his famous book entitled Sunya Puran. Bengali language and literature rapidly flourished under the patronage of the successive Turkish, Pathan and Moghal rulers. More particularly the Pathan rulers not only encouraged and patronised poets and writers in their original compositions but also for translations of Sanskrit epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata into Bengali. All the old masters of Bengali literature like Chandidas, Krittibash, Kashiram, Maladhar Basu (Gunraj Khan), Bijoy Gupta (Rasaraj Khan), Kabindra Parameswar, Srikar Nandi, Kabi, Kanka, Jnandas, Gobindadas, Muktaram, Madhabacharya, Kabi Kankan and Bharat Chandra amongst the Hindu poets and Muhammad Sagir, Jasimuddin, Sheikh Kabir Chand, Qazi Sabrid Khan, Dona Gazi, Faizullah, Alawal, Magan Thakur, Md. Yakub, Garibullah, Syed Murtaza, Syed Sultan and Syed Hamza amongst the Muslim poets, to name only fifteen out of many from each community, appeared and served Bengali literature during the Muslim period.
During the reign of the illustrious king Hussain Shah, a brilliant young Hindu named Gouranga of Sylhet district who had gone to Navadwip presumably to carry on higher studies in Sanskrit and decided to settle there, heralded a new faith of casteless Hinduism on the lines of Islamic social equality. To symbolize this new doctrine as a new awakening amongst the Hindus he himself assumed the pseudonym of 'Chaitanya.' His teachings being unorthodox and his appeal and approach being to the masses rather than the classes, he naturally adopted Bengali instead of Sanskrit as his propaganda medium. This is how a group of Pundits headed by Chaitanya, himself vastly learned in Sanskrit, accepted Bengali as a language of the gentry. Hitherto they contemptuously discarded Bengali as a hodgepodge of non-Aryan low-caste dialect mischievously invented by the Sultans to destroy Sanskrit language and with it the Aryan civilization. But now in adopting Bengali the Pundits tried their utmost to transform it from Goura-Bengali into Rurh-Bengali only to satisfy their caste-ego if for no other reason. They did so firstly by introducing Sanskrit words and phrases into Bengali, and secondly by giving it a Rurh twist by changing the form and structure of the language. To make this parochial move a success the shrewd Pundits adopted various methods to create contempt for and hatred against the East Bengalees whom they started calling 'Bangals' which term soon became a synonym for 'idiots'. As nobody would accept from them any criticism of the erudition and education of the 'Bangals' who were admittedly vastly superior, they started ridiculing the intonation and pronunciation of the Easterners. In this they did not spare even their Lord Sri Chaitanya who being a 'born Bangal' could not naturally avoid his East Bengal accents and intonation. This neo-Rurhism in Bengali language and literature went on flourishing in the garb of religious movement which enjoyed fullest freedom under the liberal policy of the Muslim rulers whom many of the converts to the new faith served as important officers. Though not apparently communal but only parochial this neo-Rurhism was in reality a Hindu revivalist movement. It was for this reason that we find in the Bengali literature of the nineteenth century and onward two distinct streams: one Hindu the other Muslim. The two streams, however, did not come into clash but continued to flow peacefully in parallel lines just like two tracks of a railway line during the life time of Lord Chaitanya and a century thereafter. During this period distinctive characteristics of the two streams remained strictly confined to two features only. Hindu writers would begin their books by invoking their Deities and would depict only Hindu characters. Whereas the Muslim writers would begin their books with Hamd and Naat and would depict only Muslim characters. Consequently there was an end of pure romanticism in Bengali literature which had been its main quality upto that period. All other features including linguistic structure, however, remained common.
But this peaceful co-existence could not be maintained for obvious reasons. Hindu renaissance gathered momentum and went from strength to strength with the decline and fall of Muslim rule in Bengal. During this critical period of Bengali language and literature the Britishers entered the scene. For well known historical reasons they had to seek co-operation of the Hindus which the latter readily gave also for obvious reasons. In return the new rulers gave the Hindus all patronage including that of language and literature. The notorious 'Divide and rule' policy was extended to this sphere also. Side by side with writing so-called history of Muslim rule in Bengal and in India full of non-exploded concocted stories of Muslim atrocities on the Hindus including molestation of the modesty of their womenfolk the new rulers pointed out to the Hindus that the Muslim rulers had also outraged the chastity of their language by forcibly introducing Arabic and Persian words into it. The Christian Missionaries under the able leadership of Forster Marchman and William Carry compiled a Lexicon of Bengali words in which they distinguished the Bengali words derived from Arabic and Persian origin. The purpose of such compilation obviously was to persuade the Hindu writers to discard those words. The Christian Missionaries published all their propaganda literature, books, tracts and pamphlets in the 'model chaste Bengali' of their conception denuded of all Muslim words. They also published a weekly 'news'-paper in the reformed Bengali. They were naturally followed by Hindu Pundits some of whom were Govt. employees as professors of the newly established Fort William Hindu and Sanskirt Colleges. Eminent Sanskrit scholars like Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar and Mrityunjoy Tarkalanker and many others devoted their powerful pens in Sanskritising Bengali language and Hinduising Bengali literature. They propounded the theory that Bengali language was the daughter of Sanskrit. To substantiate that theory they wrote so-called Bengali grammars like 'Vyakaran Koumudi' and 'Vyakaran Manjusha.' The idea evidently was to give Bengali language a Sanskritic mould in its style and diction, in its syntax and structure, in its inflexions and declensions, in its prefies and suffixes, in its Samashes and Sandhis. In this they immensely succeeded. The phrases and idioms, nouns and pronouns, prepositions and conjunctions, verbs in their different moods and voices, numerals both cardinal and ordinal, which had been in vogue for centuries, freely used by both Hindu and Muslim writers, were discarded en masse as unchaste and inelegant, some because they were Arabic and Persian, some because they were 'Bangal'. As a result, a new high-flown Sanskritised pedantic style took the field. Many Muslim and some Hindu writers protested against this Sanskritization of Bengali and condemned the new style as 'Utkali Utkat' (ghostly) language but their voice was drowned in the uproar of enthusiasm of Hindu resurgence backed by the power that be. Thus the break with the past and with Muslim Bengal was now complete. Bengali language and literature from now on became the language and literature of the Hindus both in form and in spirit. The Bengali Muslim, the pioneer of Bengali language and the father of Bengali literature who had been for centuries, equal and happy partner with his Hindu compatriot, was, now in the beginning of the twentieth century, relegated to the position of a total foreigner so much so that even his spoken words of mouth were discarded by the Education Department as non-Bengali words and were forbidden to be used in text books.
This trend generated a reaction in Muslim Bengal which, though natural, was very much unwise and suicidal. An influential section of the Muslims presumably in desperation, propounded a new theory that Urdu and not Bengali, was the mother tongue of the Muslims of Bengal. They urged upon the Muslim students not to learn Bengali in their classes. This attitude was not entirely unjustified in view of the fact that text books of this period were full of anti-Muslim writings. But fortunately the move did not succeed. The Ulama of Bengal who were expected to support this step did not do so. On the contrary, they, in collaboration with the majority of the Muslin intelligentsia, stoutly resisted it and thus saved Muslim Bengal from a cultural catastrophe. They, instead, devoted their energy to resuscitate the natural Muslim tone of Bengali language and thus mould its literature as a proper and powerful medium of Muslim culture.
But it was an uphill task. They had two very great handicaps. Firstly, they had no publicity forum like newspapers and magazines. Secondly, they could not attend literary conferences or become members of the literary societies which were naturally organised and run by the Hindus only, without discarding their cultural identity because their Hindu friends would advise the Muslims to come without 'red buckets' (Turkish Fez) on. So the Muslim writers had to form their own literary associations and organize their own conferences, publish their own newspapers and magazines. Thus the Bengali language appeared to have been finally bifurcated even though a few Muslim writers and poets of exceptional merit continued in their attempts to maintain the oneness of the Bengali language by writing in Hindu Bengali discarding all Muslim words of everyday and religious use.
In the meantime, however, the Hindu writers themselves under the able and inspiring guidance of Rabindranath, actively supported by eminent Sanskrit scholars like Mahamahopadhyaya Haraprasad Shastri, successfully fought against total Sanskritization of Bengali language and disowned any genealogical relationship between Bengali and Sanskrit. Through their efforts a beautiful elegant refined but simple Bengali was evolved which was understood and accepted as the standard Bengali throughout the length and breadth of Bengali from Chittagong to Bankura and Midnapur to Sylhet. Bengali literature itself became a modern one in all its branches of prose and poetry. Its poet Rabindranath won the Nobel prize for literature in 1913.
But inspite of all this progressive trends, Bengali literature continued to maintain its anti-Muslim tone and in all its glories and glorifications Muslim Bengal was totally absent both in contribution and recognition.
Bengali language and literature, however, very soon took another progressive turn pursuant of and in response to the Euro-American literary revolution. Bengali literature assumed a mass bias and naturally adopted as its medium the colloquial dialect of Calcutta and its suburb where the intelligentsia and industrial workers were concentrated. This was done with the avowed and necessary purpose of making its style and diction simple for the masses. But in doing so it did not evidently consider as masses either the Muslims or the East Bengalees. Neither did it take into consideration the fact that the colloquial dialectal twists and eccentricities or West Bengal region were incomprehensible to East Bengalees just as the latter's were to the former. Thus the Bengali language and literature, in their attempts to become popular and mass-biased, became parochial and communal instead. Even Nazrul Islam, a West Bengali Muslim, an iconoclast, who tried to strike a compromise formula by using Muslim words in writings, on Muslim subjects and vice versa, was not tolerated by the Hindus who shrewdly hailed his latter course but condemned the former. This linguistic and cultural conflict increased with the political awakening and cultural assertiveness or the Muslims. It sort of irrupted at the time of introduction of the Free Primary Education Act in 1937 and the Secondary Education Bill of 1941 by the Bengal Government which, in the meantime, had come to Muslim bands by force of democracy ushered in by 1935 Act. In the case of Primary Education the Hindus would not agree to any change in the existing vocabulary of text books which meant continuation of the exclusion of the Muslim words. In the ease of Secondary Education the Hindus in a body stoutly resisted the proposal of taking away the control or secondary education from the Calcutta University which had been a close preserve of the Hindus.
In this way the linguistic and literary divergence between the Hindu and Muslim Bengalees along with their political and cultural aloofness continued unabated without any prospect of a solution. The situation came to such a bitter pass that the present writer who has been upto that time a staunch nationalist in his political views, in his address to a conference of the Progressive Writers' Association, Calcutta, in 1943, had regretfully to say "I do not know if there will be a political Pakistan. But I can assure you that if the Hindu writers persist in their adamantine refusal to recognise the spoken words of the Bengali Muslims, a literary Pakistan in Bengal is inevitable." This shows the extent of desperation prevailing amongst the Muslims at the time.
But nothing availed. So long as Calcutta remained the Capital of Bengal and consequently also its cultural and literary centre its tone and temper remained as before and all writers including the Muslims, had ##willynilly, to adhere to the rules of game of Calcutta. So it remained fashionable even with us 'the Bangals' to write in West Bengal colloquial with all its ungrammatical twists, illogical eccentricities, irrational dives and unscientific jumps of Rurh rusticities in faithful imitation of the West Bengali writers and poets who were undoubtedly of superior talents. This imitation, however, was naturally confined to writing and did not extend to speaking, as a people cannot change their tongue in one or two generations although individuals can.
But the situation has now completely changed by the fact of partition of Bengal into two independent sovereign states and the literary and cultural centre of East Bengal having been shifted from Calcutta to Dacca. The fundamentals of physical forces of action and reaction which go a long way to contribute to the growth of language and literature have radically changed and with them both centripetal and centrifugal forces have changed directions. The condition has been made better for East Bengal and worse for West Bengal by the very significant fact that Bengali is the State language of East Bengal whereas that of West Bengal is Hindi. But our poets and writers must bear in mind that they have not yet turned the corner; the crisis is not yet over. Inspite of Bengali having been recognised as our State language on paper two very powerful rivals are still sedulously competing to supplant our mother tongue: one is Urdu, the other is Calcutta Bengali. Both have strong emotional appeal and literary strength. Urdu is the language of Hali and IqbaI and is clothed in religious emotion. Calcutta Bengali, on the other hand, is the language of Rabindranath and Sarat Chandra and is clothed in racial consanguinity. To be really ourselves we must stand up against both. To be able to stand up against such powerful currents we must have strong footing of our own. That footing is our own literature written in our own language, based on our cultural tradition rediscovered in our historical background. It is a message, not of nostalgia, but of youthful resurgence. It is no revivalism. It is marching forward in the path of progress towards national fruition.
This is what our poets and writers took so long to see. This is what they needed an unfortunate and ##calamitious Indo-Pak war to realize. It should have been the easiest thing for our intellectuals to understand that our youths did not sacrifice their lives in 1952 Revolution to replace Iqbal by Rabindranath. The great Rabindranath is no more the national poet of East Pakistan than Milton Shakespeare and Kipling are national poets of America. West Bengal Bengali is no more our mother tongue than British English is the mother tongue of the Americans. And our students gave their lives in the February Revolution for the sake of their own mother tongue and not for that of the Indians West Bengal. It should have been obvious to our poets and writers that just as East Bengal is now destined to become from a raw-material-supplying hinterland of industrialised Calcutta to an industrialised independent modern country itself. So it must be a culturally autonomous country with literary and linguistic self-sufficiency of its own. Only that can make us a self-respecting, respectable and dignified nation. To become such a nation we must produce a Rabindranath of our own instead of borrowing one from others. A poet to be a national one must speak out the mind of the nation in her own language. It was not the Indo-Pak armed conflict that for the first time, made Rabindranath an alien poet. With all his greatness he was never the national poet of Muslim Bengal. The present writer in his presidential address to the East Pakistan Renaissance Conference held in Calcutta Islamia College auditorium in May, 1944, had to deplore as follows: "The great Rabindranath is not the national poet of Bengal because he, who has composed so many songs on the Puja festivals of the Hindus, has not composed one single song on the occasion of the Eid, the festival of the Muslims who formed the majority of the Bengalees. It was evidently his Hindu eyes that sighted the Hindu moon but overlooked the Muslim crescent. The national poet cannot be so one-eyed. Besides, Rabindranath is not just a composer and artiste like Mozart and Beethoven. He is also the exponent of an ideological doctrine visualising a greater India symbolized in his Viswa-Varati. By emulating him we can attain anything but our own ideal."
Exactly similarly, national arts and literature can sprout only from the soil of the country and the heart of the people. It can never be imported. To try our hand in esoteric spiritualism, socialistic idealism, psychoanalytical surrealism or communistic existentialism in our literature before it has discovered our national identity, is utterly unreal, unworthy of adoption by a creative artist. Yet this was the wrong step that our young poets and writers in their youthful exuberance took, and met with a natural frustration of a blind alley.
Along with this attempt at modernising, meaning Westernising, the content of our literature, our young writers have also been trying to modernise, meaning West Bengalize, its form. This they have been doing by driving out words and phrases of every day use, spoken and understood by the man in the street on the allegation that they being of Arabic, Persian, Urdu or English origin, are not Bengali words and replacing them by Sanskrit words and phrases, often coined, on the assertion that they are Bengali. In this they are just copying their West Bengal prototypes. The latter they regard as the standard of all progress and modernity in all literary matters just as our nobility and officials regard the West as our ideal in all sartorial affairs. This aping, born of transparent inferiority complex, is complete in its blindness. While they try to ##'patricianize' our tongue, which they think are not decent and elegant enough to be the language of a literature, by discarding our spoken words and replacing them by Sanskrit ones, they at the same time try to ##'plebianize' our literature, which they hold, must be mass-biased as a sign of progress and modernity, by introducing all dialectical twists, colloquial deformities, phonetical obliquities and syntactical monstrosities, beside ungrammatical inflexions and declensions of West Bengal rusticity. Our young writers many of whom belong to the post-independence-generation and unaffected by the cultural and linguistic clashes involved in the partition, for which fact some are demonstratively proud, do not evidently know that the modern Hindi, the State language of Bharat, is nothing but Sanskritized Urdu, and it was this linguistic clash which formed one of the cultural factors of Pakistan movement. Political Pakistan has been achieved. Cultural Pakistan is yet to be attained. It is the language through which culture speaks. Except script all other differences between Urdu and Hindi are precisely the distinction between Bengali of East Bengal and that of West Bengal. East Pakistanis, therefore, can ill-afford to be off their guard in this formative period of their own literature. Lesson can and should be profitably learnt from the examples of America and Ireland versus England, West Germany versus, East Germany and other nations placed in similar situations. Emerson's message delivered in the middle of the nineteenth century to the people of emerging America, placed in a similar situation vis-a-vis the linguistic literary and cultural tradition of England, urging upon the Americans to be self-reliant is still valid as a beacon light for all newly born nations. Said he: 'In self-reliance lies our life. Imitation is suicide. A man who stands on his feet is stronger than one who stands on his head.'