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Hindu Philosophy fascinated WB Yeats: Remembering him and his Timeless Poetry at Jaipur Literature Festival

WB Yeats, Wikimedia

Jaipur, Jan 20, 2017: William Butler Yeats, one of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature, has cast his shadow over the history of both “modern poetry” and “modern Ireland” for so long that his pre-eminence is taken for granted, it emerged during an intense session on the life of the late poet on the second day of the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) here.

In the session titled “WB Yeats The Arch Poet,” leading Irish historian Professor Roy Foster travelled beyond Yeats’ “towering image as one of the 20th century’s greatest poets to restore a real sense of his extraordinary life as Yeats himself experienced it — what he saw, what he did, the passions and the petty squabbles that consumed him and his alchemical ability to transmute the events of his crowded and contradictory life into enduring art”.

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“Yeats never visited India but it is evident that right from the beginning, Hindu philosophy fascinated him. He deeply admired India and his devotion towards the works of Tagore is well known,” said Foster, author of the first authorised biography of Yeats in over 50 years.Tagore first met Yeats during his third visit to Britain.

English painter William Rothenstein, overwhelmed by the rhetorical simplicity and philosophical gravity of Tagore’s work, is said to have passed his poems to Yeats. And what next? The Irish poet reportedly burst into a torrent of praise on reading the manuscript: “If someone were to say he could improve this piece of writing, that person did not understand literature.”

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Later Yeats wrote the introduction to Tagore’s “Gitanjali”, which caught the imagination of the Western world.

“Yeats presented himself as a representative of his country’s beliefs and that of his generation. This figure is so less understood even today. He is not just a poet but also a politician, a journalist a revolutionary and a theatre director,” said Foster, a Fellow of the British Academy (FBA), the Royal Society of Literature (FRSL) and the Royal Historical Society FRHS). He has delivered dozens of lectures on Yeats in several countries.

“He rediscovers Irish literature, always conscious of looking apart and different from the crowd. He moves from being an Irish Victorian to being an advanced modernist. He moves to a different world but throughout the process and even now he has always remained somebody who continues to make Irish culture richer,” Foster said, as an attentive crowd listened patiently.

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In favor of home rule, Yeats once compared Irish society to “a stagnant pond filled with junk, including the two old boots of Catholic bigotry and Protestant bigotry”. Yeats believed that home rule could undam this pond, Foster said.

“Of course, this wasn’t going to happen. The pond wouldn’t be gently undammed by a constitutional act. It would be dynamited by a revolution,” he said.

Yeats changed his public image from time to time so that he emerged, in 1922, as a prominent figure of a new nation, Foster said.

“Many of his early poems which seemed superficially simple are actually deep, deeper than most of us can ever comprehend. Yeats had an extraordinary ear for rhythm and as such, he believed that his own poetry should be chanted rather than recited.”

“Yards and yards of scholarly research is yet to be written and decoded about the mysteries and the wide range of references and imageries that Yeats made in his work. As somebody growing up in a country facing a revolution, which would soon be free, in the new state of affairs, Yeats would soon emerge as a prominent figure, he always drew anger, strength and motivation from Ireland.

“His poems are so beautiful, in words and significance, because they came at a time when he was constantly changing his mind. He often had to rethink himself,” Foster noted.

Yeats was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923 “for his always inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation”. (IANS)

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Famous Indian Forts You Must Visit At Least Once

Indian forts like Agra Fort and Red Fort are even recognised by  UNESCO as World Heritage Sites

India is one of the countries in the world which is famous for its architecture especially forts.
India is one of the countries in the world which is famous for its architecture especially forts. Pixabay

By Ruchika Verma

  • India is famous for its architecture, especially forts
  • Indian forts are some of the most famous forts in the world
  • Indian forts are a great way of learning about Indian history and culture

India is the land of history and culture. The Indian architecture is one of the best in the world. Indian palaces and forts are some of the most admired architectural structures in the world who people come to see and visit from all around the globe. India has some of the biggest forts in the world.

India is famous for its forts and architectures.
India is famous for its forts and architectures. Wikimedia Commons

Indian forts like Agra Fort and Red Fort are even recognised by  UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. India, especially Rajasthan is famous for its forts. It is not unfair to say that most part of India’s tourism thrives on these forts. Here is the list of Indian forts you must visit at least once.

Red Fort

Red Fort in Delhi is one of the most famous forts in India. Th red-stoned fort in Delhi is very central to the Mughal architecture. The Red Fort is a must visit because of its rich culture and history. There are two museums in the fort where one can look at the old arms and clothes of the Mughal rulers.

Also Read: 7 Forts in India you must visit: Glorious Empires of Incredible India

Red Fort in Delhi is one of the apex of Mughal architecture . Pixabay
Red Fort in Delhi is one of the apexes of Mughal architecture. Pixabay

Amer Fort

Amer Fort or the Amber Fort is one of the most explored travelling destinations in Jaipur. It is one of the most well-maintained forts in India and attracts lakhs of tourists towards it every year. One can also enjoy elephant rides in the fort. The Ganesh Pol is one of the most beautifully carved place in the fort.

Famous Forts in India
Amer fort in Jaipur one of the most well-maintained forts in India. (Pic Credits: Elene Machaidze)

Chittorgarh Fort

Chittorgarh Fort is in Rajasthan and is the biggest fort in India. It is spread over in the area of 400 acres. The two pillars called Kirti Stambh and Vijay Stambh are famous for beautiful carvings on them. The fort has water body, temples, complexes and memorials which definitely deserve more exploration by more people.

Chittorgarh Fort is the biggest Indian form and a national heritage site. Wikimedia Commons
Chittorgarh Fort is the biggest Indian form and a national heritage site. Wikimedia Commons

Gwalior Fort

Gwalior Fort in Madhya Pradesh is one of the most majestic forts of central India. The fort for its military architecture and beautifully painted fortress wall. The Fort brings together religions like Buddhism and Jainism and is definitely a treat for the eyes.

Gwalior Fort in Madhya Pradesh is one of the most important forts in Central india. Wikimedia Commons
Gwalior Fort in Madhya Pradesh is one of the most important forts in Central India. Wikimedia Commons

Agra Fort

One of the biggest forts in India, Agra Fort is also referred as a walled city because of its massive expansion in 94 acres of area. The fort has special significance because it was here that the Kohinoor diamond was snatched away by the Mughal ruler Babur and it is also the very place where Shah Jahan died.

Famous Forts in India
Agra Fort can easily be called a small city in itself because of its huge size.Wikimedia Commons

Jaisalmer Fort 

Jaisalmer Fort is one of the biggest forts in the world. Jaisalmer fort is built on the Trikuta Hill in the Thar Desert with a very strong fortification. The fort is full of historical significance and is famous for the various battles and the bloodshed it has witnessed. This is also one of those India forts which are famous for witnessing Jauhar.

Also Read: Jaipur Forts: All You Need To Know

City Palace

City Palace in Udaipur is one of the most beautiful Indian palaces with a history of more than 400 years. It is a beautiful example of Rajasthani and Mughlai architecture fusion, located on the banks of Lake Pichola. The palace is definitely worth a visit for its magnificence.

City Palace Jaipur clicked by Shaurya Ritwik
City Palace is famous for its magnificence. (Pic Credits: Shaurya Ritwik)

Panhala fort

Panhala fort in Kolhapur is the largest and most important fort in Maharashtra, looking over the Sahyadri mountain range. This is one the Indian forts which perfectly describe the Marathi architectural style. This fort will neither disappoint the history buffs nor the people who have just come for sightseeing.