Literature: Why Children Need It!
Posted on: November 21, 2021.


Any form of written work with historical, cultural, aesthetic, or moral value—be it a book of essays, poems, or stories, a newspaper/magazine article, or a novel—is considered “Literature”.

Thereafter, anything of relatively lesser value is proportionately insignificant. One might, for argument sake, ask pertinently thus: what difference can even good literature make, especially to students…

…in this world of instant gratification and selfish aims? The mortal world’s most obvious paradox is money—unavoidable evil yet undeniably essential.

Money cannot certainly be avoided—it is loud in both presence “wealth” and absence “poverty”, but it must be acquired by only fair means, never foul.

Mental ruination is the eventuality of all those who have, by illegal means, amassed money, as has been shown in the recent past by certain incidents—criminals who, even in prison, enjoy their infamy in comfort.

Having a life to enjoy happily, not one to lead pleasurably, should be a person’s ultimate aim. Being notorious does not make living life peacefully possible. The needs of life should be value-based.

Literature serves the purpose of—or at least should be—indicating life’s redeeming values. One virtue alone ultimately prevails, points out Literature, through the portrayal of the protagonist and the antagonist.

Leading a peaceful life entails not only avoiding certain things but also not pursuing certain other things—literary epics, poems, and short stories clearly reveal this dichotomy.

The moral angle sets the perspective of all these statements, and viewpoints. Again, for merely argument’s sake, be it presumed that one would ask “But why care for morality?”.

Let us, therefore, choose a different angle—a different perspective—from which to observe the auspices of Literature. Why do only a few film songs attract us, while most of us are attached to many classical songs.

The classical ragas evoke soothing vibrations in the human consciousness and appease the disturbances of worldly influences in the soul, by virtue of its “being melodious”.

Shakespeare, Kamban, Kalidas—these masters have great power to move such thoughts as are abundant in their works, for example the verses of the Ramayana and the poems in Shakuntala and Meghadhoota.

Great writers embed striking ideas within their works, and furthermore, through their uncommon expressions fresh, literary colours are rendered even to ideas that are well-known or commonplace.

While method, technique, and technology enhances commerciality, it is only creativity, emotion, and aesthetics that attracts allure…

…immense satisfaction and peace of mind comes to a reader only if a literary work is impregnated with redeeming virtues—these only money cannot wholly buy.

The charm of the written word appearing to be waxing and waning is but illusion, merely, for its magical influence ever continues to be cast, bringing promise of joy to the perennial patrons of Literature.

The ravages of time and cultural upheavals have been withstood by many works of literature which has only added to its literary charm, and continues to add value to our time spend on it.

Not everyone gets to become winner, but a winner can come from anywhere. ‘Awards’ are distributed quite fairly by God, expecting Man to boldly face critical situations, and come out unscathed from various trials.

“If” is a well-known poem of famous English Poet Rudyard Kipling wherein he lists quite a few “Ifs” about the enduring ability of men being tested by innumerable situations—of potential knowledge to children.

The intelligence of a student may entertain doubts in parents and teachers, but the student should not—while analysing such uncertainties—doubt his capacity, endeavouring only to make his worth proven.

“To dream” was asked of students by former President of India Mr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, but day-dreaming was not advocated either by Mr. Kalam or by Literature Nobel recipient Rudyard Kipling…

…who stated that dreams should not overcome us while dreaming about something, echoing the views presented by Mr. Kalam.

Literature reveals that while it’s good to look to our future with grandiose thoughts, mere thinking should not hinder us from translating our thoughts into fruitful actions and thereby realize our goals.

Life is a cycle constituted by favourable and unexpected outcomes, sometimes having to take calculated risks—which might bring disastrous results—in our endeavours for success.

Bemoaning one’s shortcomings in life, especially in times of loss, is not becoming of a person. It is, rather, to strive hard and achieve significant results, by virtue of will-power, calmly accepting defeats and losses.

Student would find of great relevance this message—about a minute of precious time lost forever gone— from Rudyard Kipling—“The unforgiving minute should be filled with sixty seconds worth of distance run”.

Youngsters are like aircraft descending on a dark—perhaps even rainy—night, needing beacon-lights to light up their path and technical advice for a safe landing—just as mentioned by Kipling in If … and others more.

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