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  • Writer's pictureTulika Publishers

Discussing Kabir

A roundup of news from the Kabir blogfest so far: Niranjana has posted a review on her blog. "Jaya Madhavan’s Kabir the Weaver-Poet has now rooted Kabir in my mind as a gadfly who delighted in offending fundamentalists of all stripes, a religious poet whose work showcases an earthy, entertaining wit, a mystic as much as a logician, and a non-conformist who really didn’t give a damn about public opinion. He might be a saint, but he was quite the dude." she says. Read the rest here. The wordjunkie on Saffron Tree has this to say: "Jaya Madhavan's retelling is well written and makes some very complex issues - communal hatred, intolerance, caste, even the frightening phenomenon of mob frenzy - accessible to young audiences. I liked the spareness of her writing style, very much in keeping with the simplicity of the man at the heart of this book. She adds a dash of fantasy too, inventively casting the tools of Kabir's trade - Dhaga, Takli, Warp, Weft, Spindle - as narrators and loyal friends of the poet." Read the rest of her review here. Chintan Girish Modi of the Kabir Project got this blogfest up and running. And he has sent us some fascinating links... First from an article he has written, titled Initiating Kabir in the Classroom with an introduction to the CDs and other material produced by the Kabir Project for the purpose: "The Hindi classroom has traditionally been the space in which most students encounter the poetry of Kabir. This space can be redeemed from the drudgery of how poetry gets taught in our schools – where poems get looked at as artifacts produced by some creative genius, meant to be memorized by low mortals who can barely get at the meaning through a simplistic paraphrase. We want teachers and students to appreciate the fact that poetry is not frozen in textbooks but often quite rooted in people’s everyday lives." "So when Kabir makes an entry into schools, he is probably going to ask all kinds of funny questions which will not fit in with the systems we have set up" - from Kabir Revisited by Vishakha Chanchani, available here

"I liked the idea which was brought out during the festival of Kabir in Bangalore, that ‘Kabir interrogates the world’ in which we live. He asks often very disturbing questions. Jane was pointing out, that these questions would also be disturbing to teachers. Many teachers like to give answers, they do not really like to be asked questions which do not have neat answers. The figure of the Guru in Kabir’s thought is almost a counter-cultural figure. Somewhere Kabir says that the ‘Guru is the root of wisdom’. Who is the Guru? he is constantly asking." - from Reflections on 'Kabir in Education' by Jyoti Sahi online here Also, a delightful multi-media account of a day with Kabir. January 14, 2011

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