World Literature and COVID-19 Pandemic
This globalized world is not only interconnecting economically, but almost everything is interconnected even our suffering and happiness. COVID¬-19 is a stark example of the globalized world. We are no more discrete being, everything is interconnected. We are externally interconnected and internally interdependent being. Self and other are not separated being both in individual and societal realm. This is a fundamental facts. As the outer world, our inner world is also divided, we have myriads of self within: different emotions, patience, love, hatred, belief and disbelieves, jealousy etc. Balancing this inner world is more difficult than outer world; people have been choosing different means to balance this inner world. But, I am unfolding the different secret, can literature enhance to balance this inner dynamics? No doubts, literature also must have the same attribute in this globalized world. Today’s world peace is being terrorized by COVID -19. We have been breathing every day in uncertainty in this beautiful world. This pandemic is ushering humanity in a new paradigm. It is demarking the world’s history dragging down us in uncertainty.
My questions are, can literature bring us in a common understanding to balance this chaotic world and bring us back from this global suffering? Or can it reassurance us internally? Furthermore, can it navigate us towards peaceful humanity? Can literature truly distill our toxic Self in this traumatic time? I have been delved to search answers to these questions and remembered once Pablo Neruda had said “Poetry is an act of peace”. Whatever genre we have been writing creatively, the most important is, it urges the writers towards meditation. Any creative writing needs a lot of time, meditations, environment, and serene feelings; it naturally curtains writers to be focused. Most of the great spiritual revelations have come on earth in the form of poetry, stories, and parables, etc. History and art also walk on the heel of literature. Literature dwells everywhere. In fact, it is our part of life and it can heal the people. During this pandemic time, many writers and poets are continuously writing and reading their creations. Many new writers are also mushrooming. Many are sharing their sentiment in different social media. The whole world is inside the home, in this difficult time many people are reflecting themselves through the several genres of literature, and it is the time for self-reflection. Several literary programs have been going on throughout the world, through the internet. People are reflecting their true feeling through literature, art, and music. This pandemic is interviewing humanity every day. And we are answering in many ways. Eventually, being creative means, being spiritual in another way.
The unpredictability of this COVID-19 virus is mysteriously threatening humanity. We have been puzzled by this terror, we don’t know where we are in this terror’s story? When we look back at our history, during 1918-1919 influenza pandemic was the most severe pandemic. One-third of world’s population became infected and 20 to50 million were killed. During influenza pandemic or after the pandemic many notorious literary figure were emerged and may notable creation were created by the great writers. The frustrations, pains, hope and new concept looking at life can be found in those creation. In T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land a stark recollection of fragmentation vividly expressed. The great poem “The Second Coming” by W. B. Yeats was written during pandemic, when he watched his pregnant wife come close to death. Virginia Wolf’s popular essay “On Being Ill” are some of the examples of the milestone creation in those time. During this COVID-19 many writers are rethinking, rearranging their priorities. Many have been writing closely encountering this painful time and expressing. In this harrowing time also same cry, hope, repentance, awareness are highlighted.
On the other hand, before the pandemic people were already have madly slaved to this mundane world, in different times and situations. The more the modern development sky is crapping the darker dwelling in humanity; the more alienation, depression, and disappointments have been alarming than before. There can be myriad of ways to achieve personal happiness and adjusting this complex outer world. Human’s mundane attachments are tempting every day and draining their inner peace: even some good and some bad ways for the sake of satisfaction. We are completely bogging down in the swamp of the outer and inner world. In fact, as human conscience is getting dull every day, we are in a grand dilemma which is automatically robotizing us. But, this pandemic gave a weak up call to all humanity that we are sharing the same sky, and we equally responsible for it. Indeed, it equalizes all of us. Our egos, superiorities, levels remain feeble in this pandemic.
It is illogical to everyone to summon from only one way to attain peace at once. But there is always a righteous and unrighteous way which, our conscience knows better than anything else. Being rich and intellect, or being a success and famous is external but the reflections which we are varnishing every day to our lifestyle is another stark reality. It is directly related to the human’s inner world. It starts from self to family, nation, and world at large. Therefore, making an individual responsible, righteous, and moral is more important than scientific advancement. These realizations are found heavily in many poems and creation by people. This pandemic has been teaching people that our inner richness is more important than the mundane in the time of crisis.
Literature in any form can substitute any individual’s such self-devouring evils. Literature can shake all the inner world of individual, it is invisible but indispensable. Sometimes a line of a song and a line of book save one’s life. Literature is truly, enlivening life every day. Literature evacuates truth; literature thrashes out the truth from everything. In other words, literature is a pistol of truth, and truth can kill any conspiracy of the hypocrite world in one shot. This monster time highly demands such a great literary piece which can give inner joy in today’s world of frustration.
Literature has been haunting the truth from all of the history and our religious scriptures to mirror our human endeavors. Buddha said “peace comes from within; do not seek it without” this underlines the spring of peace is Self but we are exiling all of them somewhere to an undetected place and always remain lamenting. Therefore, discovering the supreme within, literature can lead our life like great poet Rabindranath Tagore who rarely went to temple, church, or other religious places but explaining to him, Osho has mentioned that he has never seen a more peaceful and spiritual person more than Rabindranath Tagore. How Tagore communicated with self in Gitanjali is enough to describe the role of literature in difficulty.
Now, temples, churches mosques are closed, people are in an asylum in their own home. People must have the same realization in this circumstance; therefore their sentiments are so serene and humanitarian. Literature has the power of unity; it can glue all the diversity in unity. It speaks the language of the heart which is easily comprehensible. It is our inner amazon myriad of multiplicities together gives the life to human of love. Literature does not only reflect reality but always searches truth all over the boundaries. Therefore, does this pandemic teaching our interconnectedness of the world is urgent. Only being creative, we can be a part of creation. Without knowing self we can’t dissolve into this great creation. Therefore, hopefully, this tragic reality teaching every one of us we are a part of this global family.
Scientists have been saying that because of prejudice human-only feel and know life only two percentage because we only see or do what we have been told or brain-washed and the remaining ninety-eight percent is unavailable that remains remote by our unending war: proving your and my truth. But this pandemic has demystified that we all are the part of the whole.
In today’s world, more than three hundred million people are the victims of depression. The suicide rate is not decreasing. Especially in this pandemic time is really more cases have been coming out. All the people from the world have been suffering; the alarming thing is that it is increasing every day. What is wrong in this world and what actually we have failed to address? These consequences are really catastrophic. We are teaching minds the world is overflowing by the foolish smart people. There is only the Olympic of insane comparison. Where did we actually miss to deliver? While we were teaching those minds, weren’t we forgetting to teach heart, love, sacrifice, and relationship and, about self-motivation? In this midst of chaos and cacophonic immoral time can literature become a solution as PB Shally advised that poets must become a moral teacher in society? Could we? Or could we inspire and guide the people to release their pains, sorrows, and loneliness through literature?
When the love of power, positions, and money are overcome by the power of love, the world can be seen as its original beauty and tune. Who else can teach love better than writers? In the name of conquering the world people are selling themselves and their innocent self: a dwelling place of peace. Such Self migrates somewhere else. People have been spinning self by chasing their own head and tails. A sick self just makes burden to life, and it rushes towards temples, churches, gurus, and mosques carrying a sick soul. Life remains as an ambulance carrying a sick soul. Such a sick self makes more trouble to society and the world, therefore; self must be healthy and tranquil. What else can make healthy to any self than literature? Kabir had once said “Be innocent and spontaneous and the totality will follow”. His life has ultimately taught how universal he became beyond all kinds of distinctness as a poet. Therefore, literature can be a means of teaching to this derailed individualistic society to make pure and innocent humanity. Actually, humanity has been suffering from inner ignorance. We must have a war against ourselves first. If we have peace in our self, the world will be seen as peaceful as it is. To search the inner peace can we reflect our self once again. Does this pandemic, push us to rearrange our priority? Or we will remain as poor spectators.
Though, there are a lot of difficulties, challenges and crises are heading towards us along with this pandemic. But, literature is documenting all the pains, suffering, and emotions in its different forms. When, in this world: religion, politics or economics try to defile the peace of individual and society literature always reconnected, explained, and guided. Can we truly remain strong and motivate the world by writing? If we stop writing, surely humanity will evolve back to Darwin’s monkey. Let us keep on writing. Writing means: alerting the evil society, rearranging the priority, navigating the world in its original destined rhythm, and watering goodness. In short, let us keep on loving the world and humanity in this painful time because everything is standing on the heel of literature. World floats on the back of writers, therefore, writers always need to remain fearless and strong to carry this world to the peaceful harbor of humanity. Literature shapes the world. Literature must alert this extreme self-centered world. If words stop to dance the devils will dance. Now, words must travel from self to world connecting beyond race religions ethnicity, and territory. Just for humanity and for our future world.
Writer is social activist and the author of Conscience’s Quantum