Friday, 24 February 2017

Can Women Write Immortal Masterpieces?

Sir V S Naipaul is candid but he's too-candid-by-half. His recent statement that no woman writer can hold a candle to him may have irked many, especially women, but is he far away from truth? No, he ain't. How many women writers in the anthology of world literature have produced immortal masterpieces despite getting every possible opportunity to assert their 'genius'? Mind you, there's no gender-bias or sexism here. Truth always pinches. It hurts badly. Literature is not a male-bastion as it's often erroneously thought to be. In fact, it's never been.

Women in all eras got equal opportunities and exposure to prove their creative mettle. But, how many have been able to leave indelible impressions on the collective consciousness of mankind? " Women are intelligent, but seldom they're intellectual and hardly are the enlightened," stated Fahmida Riyaz, the radical Muslim lady, banished from Pakistan by General Zia Ul-Haq in 1979. In their book, " Uniformity in writing " by Wayne Mizenne and Martha Stagnor (a woman) observed that, " Women writers can write fantastic articles and even big, perceptive essays, but they cannot write big volumes. They tend to lose continuity and the uniform vein they began with. They often end with a whimper." Women themselves admit that they cannot wield the pen with uninterrupted uniformity. Their (women's) limited vision of the world restricts them to write sublime poetry and their lack of depth in metaphysical realm doesn't let them create something worthwhile.


How many mystics have been women despite Rabia Basri being one of the greatest mystics in the Islamic world of mysticism? Her poetry is so juvenile when pitted against that of Jalaluddin Rumi, Hafiz Shirazi, Fariduddin Attar, Sanai, Khaqani, Nizami, Jami and Firdausi? Though her spiritual insights were as profound as those of her male counterparts, she's not remembered for her writings. Can Jane Austen, Pearl S Buck, Nadine Gordimer of South Africa, Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath among others be called truly greats and on a par with Shakespeare, Shelly, Keats, Byron et al? Never.


If there's been a woman writer, who could challenge men of letters from any age, it was Sappho (6th century, BCE), the lesbian poetess from Lesbos, Greece, who committed suicide at the age of 32. All other women writers are just sciolists. They're pretenders and their writings show their pretensions, nay limitations. Naipaul has just stated in his inimitable style that the emperor's naked.    

                                             -----Sumit Paul

   
 

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