***** Glorious 25 years of The Challenge print journal *****


Vol. 25 No. 2 July - Dec 2017

The Swedish Academy awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature (2017) to Kazuo Ishiguro, born in Nagasaki, Japan and based in the United Kingdom. The Academy has recognized a writer with distinct background and temperament. Ishiguro explores the various connections of man with the world. He believes that the world is going to the way of mixed cultural and racial backgrounds. His writings would infuse the spirit of global citizenship in the readers. The selection made by the Academy is commendable.

The thematic concerns of literary pieces have come a long way today with variety and insightful observations. But, writings on the themes of ecological concerns and after-effects of natural disasters are yet not enough to bring the nation-heads and others on a platform to discuss for ways out in this age of rapid demographic growth and squeezing of resources. In the name of development, nations are not concerned, in practical sense, to deliberate on ecological issues. The talks and concerns are restricted to seminars and symposiums. For instance, if we talk about the tropical cyclone ‘Aila’ (2009), that affected the coastal and adjacent areas of India and Bangladesh, we find that still after eight years, a patch of Bengal reels on under the after-effects of the cyclone and everyone there in the villages of Sundarbans region are forced to wander barefoot because of the sticky mud everywhere. There are a number of such villages in this region of tides which cannot be found on Google maps and the people there are fighting hard to overcome the after-effects of the devastating cyclone. The paddy fields are now full of salinity and several embankments are destructed making passage for the river and sea water to spread over the main land. The governmental machinery is least bothered to reconstruct and rebuild the roads, embankments and dams with urgent speed. People in the coastal regions are forced to dig their own graves. They pacify themselves by saying that they would die either at the hands of another cyclone or starvation. They cannot even come out of the villages settled by their forefathers and they live as prisoners of their birth and circumstances.

Amitav Ghosh, an Indian English novelist, in his fifth novel, The Hungry Tide (2004) has explained the nature of living in a region whose shape is determined by tide and weather. The author explores the topics like humanism, environmentalism and further enunciates the situation when they come into a conflict of interest with each other. Ghosh writes here in the novel on the precarious lives of the settlers of the Sundarbans and through his characters he indicates the ecological imbalance, the endangerment of river dolphin and draws the attention of the readers to this isolated world. Ghosh in his non-fictional book, The Great Derangement (2016) argues that we have failed to think on the issues like global warming, gross climate change and eco-crises.

Evidently, time calls now to write more on climatic issues, displacements, natural calamities and its after-effects. Literature needs to be an arena of deliberation to ignite mass for collective action. The writers ought to feel summoned to confront the most urgent task of the time—pointing out the extreme nature of today’s climatic events and its impact on human and flora-fauna as well.

Heartily yours,
Dr. Manoj Kumar Pathak