Sunday, September 2, 2012

समय यात्रा -एक विज्ञान कथा


आधा रातको निस्तब्धतामा सायद पुरै अस्तित्व निन्द्राको काखमा पौडिरहेको थियो। तर नेपालको उत्तरी हिम श्रृङ्खलाको बीच बनेको एउटा अनकन्टार सानो उच्च हिमाली मैदान माथीको आकाशमा एउटा अत्यन्तै उज्वल तर शीतल प्रकाशपुञ्ज देखियो । प्रकाश तीव्र गतिकासाथ हिमाली मैदानको नजिक आउँदा त्यो प्रकाशपुञ्जको आकार पनि झन् झन् बढ्दै थियो तर बिना आबाज…..।

मैदानको नजिक पुग्दा देखियो त्यो कुनै प्रकाशपुञ्ज नभै एउटा गोलाकार यान थियो र जुन बिना आबाज आरामसंग जमिनमा अवतरण गर्दै थियो । यानको माथिल्लो भागमा “अन्वेषण -३” लेखिएको थियो र त्यसको मुनि “नेपाल खगोल विज्ञान तथा समयारोहण अध्ययनशाला” लेखिएको थियो । यान जमिनमा अवतरण भएपछि मधुरो प्रकाश मात्रै त्यसमा बाँकी रह्यो र यानको तल्लो भागमा एउटा स्वचालित ढोका बिस्तारै खुल्यो । यानको ढोका खुल्ने बित्तिकै भित्रबाट एकजना ६५-७० का जस्ता देखिने कपाल र दाह्री सेतै फुलेका व्यक्तिसँगै करिब २०-२५ वर्षका जस्ता देखिने १० -१२ जना मानिस पनि बाहिर निस्के । उनीहरूलाई ‘मानिस’ भन्नुमा कुनै आपत्ति नहोला कारण उनीहरूको आकार प्रकार र शारीरिक बनोट हाम्रै जस्तै थियो, सायद हात खुट्टा अलि मसिना र टाउको अलिकता ठूलो मात्रै …।चिसो मैदानमा निस्कने बित्तिकै ती युवाहरूले भुईमा एक प्रकारको बाक्लो चकटी जस्तो आसन ओछ्याए । र सबै जना त्यसमा बसे। ती बुढा व्यक्ति पनि उनको लागि राखिएको बीचको आसनमा बसे … दृश्य हेर्दा यस्तो लाग्थ्यो ती बुढा व्यक्ति उनीहरूका गुरु थिए र ती जवानहरू उनका विद्यार्थी ।
सबै जना आफ्नो आसनमा बस्ने बित्तिकै ती बुढा व्यक्तिले आफ्नो कुरा सुरु गरे: “ हामीहरु आज यो २००० वर्ष अगाडिको भूतकालमा आउनुको मुख्य कारण तिमीहरूलाई आफ्नै पूर्वजहरूको बरेमा वस्तुगत जानकारी दिनु मात्रै हो… ” ।
त्यसपछि ती बुढा प्राध्यापकले करिब १ घण्टा जत्ती त्यही स्थानमा बसेर आफ्ना विद्यार्थीहरूलाई विभिन्न कुराहरू बताए। वातावरण प्रदूषण देखि, भूमण्डलीय तापक्रम वृद्धि अनि आणविक हतियार देखि सौर्य उर्जाका विविध प्रयोग सम्मका । त्यसका साथै नेपाल लगाएत विश्वका देशहरुको राजनीति र द्वन्द समेतका विषयमा गम्भीर चर्चा भए । अनौठो कुरा के भने उनीहरूले चर्चा गरिरहेका सबै विषयहरू संसारमा अहिले घटि रहेका घटनाहरू थिए …तर अचम्म उनीहरू त्यसलाई “भूतकाल” मा व्यक्त गर्दै थिए ।
आफ्नो आख्यान सक्काए पछि तिनले आफ्ना विद्यार्थीहरूतर्फ प्रश्न सूचक दृष्टिले हेर्दै भने :” तिमीहरुलाई आफ्नो इतिहास बारे अरू केही सोध्नु छ ?” ।
“…हामीहरु अहिले देखिएको यो स्थितिबाट विकसित भएर आएका हौं भने यो तत्कालीन चौआयामिक समय कालमा रहेका सबै मानिसहरू हाम्रा पूर्वजहरु हुन…” । एक जना विद्यार्थीले प्रश्न गरे: “…अहिले हामी रहेको यो चौआयामिक समय २०६७ साल छ र हाम्रो वास्तविक समय काल ४०६७ साल हो । तब के त, अहिले यहाँ कुनै मानिसलाई भेटेर हामीले हाम्रो बारेमा बतायौं भने उनीहरूले विश्वास गर्लान त ?” ।
यस पटक ती बुढा प्राध्यपकले लामो सुस्केरा हाले अनि बिस्तारै बोल्न सुरु गरे:” आजको यो समय-यात्राको अर्को उद्देश्य यो पनि हो कि, तिमीहरुले यो कुरा बुझ्नु पनि जरुरी छ कि हाम्रा पूर्वजहरुले कति अभाव र दु:खका बीच यो विज्ञानको ढोका खोलेका थिए । जसको मद्दतबाट आज हामी इतिहासको यात्रा र वर्तमानमा पूनरागमन दुवै गर्न सक्छौं …”। उनले अगाडि भने “… हाम्रो यो समयारोहण यान उनिहरुकै योगदानको फल पनि हो । तर पनि अहिलेको स्थितिमा यो यथार्थलाई कसैले बुझ्ने छैनन् । सायद यो परावैज्ञानिक कुरा बुझ्न सक्ने मानिस र त्यो पनि नेपालमा त ज्यादै कम होलान …” । उनले आफ्नो कुरा जारी राखे :”… किनभने पश्चीमी देशमा Time Machine को परिकल्पना १८औं शताब्दी देखी नै चले पनि नेपालमा भने बि. सं. २४२५ देखि मात्रै यसतर्फ सोच्न थालिएको थियो । समय पनि एउटा पदार्थ नै हो र कुनै पनि पदार्थको लम्बाई, चौडाई उचाइ र गहिराई जस्तै समयको आयाम भित्र पनि आवत जावत गर्न मिल्छ भन्ने कुरा सुनेर मात्रै हुदैँन बुझ्न निकै कठिन हुन्छ “।
“हैन… यो कुरा साह्रै जटिल त छैन नि?” अर्का एकजना विद्यार्थीले फेरि प्रश्न गरे । “सरलता र जटितला भन्ने कुरा वैज्ञानिक सिध्दान्तको कुरा मात्रै नभै समाजको विकास र यन्त्र वा उपकरणको उपलब्धतामा पनि भर पर्छ ।…कुनै पनि कुरालाई बोल्नु र लेख्नु मात्रै हैन प्रमाणीत गरेर देखाउन नसकिने अबस्थामा साँचो कुरा नै भएपनि मानिसले विश्वास गर्ने छैनन् ।
“ध्वनी भन्दा छिटो गतिमा चल्ने यानको निर्माण भएमा कुनै यान आकाशमा उडेर अवतरण गरीसकेपछि मात्रै त्यसको ध्वनी सुनिन्छ भन्ने कुरा समेत मानिसलाई सुरु सुरुमा विश्वास गर्न निकै गाह्रो भएको थियो …”। प्राध्यापक आफ्नो आख्यान जारी राख्दै बताउन थाले:”.. त्यसरी नै प्रकाशको गति भन्दा छिटो चल्ने यान निर्माण भएमा पहिला यान अवतरण हुन्छ र त्यसपछि मात्रै यानको छायाँ देखिन्छ… यो कुरा सुन्नु र बुझ्नुमा धेरै फरक छ…” । निकै लामो आख्यान पछि उनले आफ्नो आख्यान पुरा गरे :”… कुनै पनि यानको गति प्रकाशको गति भन्दा बढी भएमा त्यो समयको चौआयामिक स्थितिमा प्रवेश गर्न सक्छ भन्ने कुरा अहिलेको शिक्षित मानिसले सिद्धान्तगत रुपमा बुझे पनि प्रयोगात्मक रुपमा सम्भव मान्ने छैनन् किनकि हालको अबस्थामा त्यसको प्रयोगात्मक परिक्षण गर्ने उपलब्धता मात्रै हैन सोचको समेत अभाव छ” ।
“ल आउ अब हामी हाम्रो देशको भौगोलिक परिवर्तनको बारेमा बुझौं…” यति भन्दै प्राध्यापक फेरि बोल्न सुरु गरे:” अहिले यो चौआयामिक समयकाल अर्थात २०६७ सालमा सगरमाथाको उचाइ ८८४८ मिटर छ, तर बि. सं. २६७८ मा नेपालको उत्तर पुर्वी भागमा ठूलो भुकम्प जान्छ र तिब्बतियन प्लेट माथि उठ्दा सगरमाथाको उचाइ पनि ९०१२ मिटर हुन्छ…” । “त्यसो भए त त्यतिबेला धन जनको निकै ठूलो नोक्सान भयो होला नि …?” एक जना बिद्यार्थीले प्रश्न गरे । “..धनको नोक्सान भए पनि जनको भने हुन पाएन…” प्राध्यापकले मुस्कुराउँदै भने “.. किनकि त्यसको ५ वर्ष अगाडि नै नेपालका वैज्ञानिक जगदिश शर्माले “भुकम्प सूचक यन्त्र”को आविष्कार गरी सकेका थिए र भूकम्प जानुभन्दा १२ घण्टा अगाडि नै मानिसहरु यस्ता दैवी प्रकोपको भविष्यवाणी गर्न सक्षम भैसकेका थिए” ।
“…ल हिँड… त अझै केहीसमय बाँकी नै छ…हामी अब २६७८ सालको फागुन १३ गतेमा जाऔं र सो भौगोलिक परिवर्तनलाई आफ्नै आँखाले हेरौँ”
सबै जना यान भित्र प्रवेश गरे र यान फेरि बिना आबाज अन्तरिक्षमा बतासिएर एकैछिनमा गाएब भयो ।

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tribhuvan University (An Introduction)


Tribhuvan University (TU) [त्रिभुवन विश्वविध्यालय]is a public university located in Kirtipur,KathmanduNepal. Established in 1959, TU is the oldest of the six universities in Nepal. A huge number of students, approximately 3,00,000(not sure) from all over Nepal and abroad, makes it the biggest university in Nepal and 19th biggest in the world.
The university provides undergraduate and graduate education. Currently, more than 2,400 courses are offered, of which 300 are for intermediate-level courses (equivalent to Higher Secondary School), 1,079 are for undergraduate and 1,000 are for postgraduate programs. The university has 65 integral colleges and more than 200 affiliated colleges throughout the country. Since it is government financed, it is less expensive than other private universities.
During its 48 years, the state-owned university has expanded its programs. There are five technical institutes and four non-technical faculties, which offer 300 courses in certificate, 1,079 courses in bachelor, and 1,000 courses in master level. More than 2,400 courses are offered.

Technical and non-technical Ph.D. programs are available. TU offers a variety of courses of study as required by the nation. Recently TU decided to offer Biotechnology, Dietician, EMBA, Distance Learning Courses at the Master Level and an M.A. in Conflict Peace and Development. M.Phil courses have been started in the faculty of Management, Humanities and Education.
Before 1980, TU offered courses through its constituent campuses only. With the increasing number of students wishing to study at Tribhuvan University, it became necessary to establish colleges in the private sector; the constituent campuses of the university alone could not meet the demand.From 1980, TU began to accord affiliation to private colleges to conduct a variety of programs at different levels. In that year, 24 colleges were affiliated to offer the certificate programs. So far 561 colleges, located throughout Nepal, have received affiliation.

There are 290,833 students at TU who study at various levels. The majority of the students (171,592 or 59%) are in its 60 constituent campuses spread throughout the country and the remaining 119,241 (or 41%) are in the 416 affiliated colleges. Because of the lower fees and easy access,the number of students in constituent campuses is very high.

Tribhuvan University has 7,049 teaching faculty members and 5,607 non-teaching staff, including support staff, in its constituent campuses.
TU is government financed, but still an autonomous organization. The Head of the government, the Prime Minister, is its Chancellor.
     Chancellor
  Pro-Chancellor
   Vice Chancellor 
       Chairman 
         Rector 
       Registrar 

Council

Tribhuvan University has five decision-making bodies:
University Council is the supreme body that makes decisions on policies, budget, rules and regulations and the formation of special committees and commissions.
Executive Council implements operational decisions while the University Council accepts donations to the university. It makes decisions on grants, affiliation to private campuses and appointments of university officials.
Academic Council makes decisions on policies and practices regarding curriculum, teaching, examinations and research.
Research Coordination Council makes policies on TU research activities, approves guidelines for researchers and coordinates the functions of university level research organizations.
Planning Council has an advisory role of preparing plans (long and short-term), developing annual programs and evaluating programs implementation.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

फ्रेन्च अर्केस्ट्रा फ्लेवरमा ‘स्नो फ्लावर्ज’



snow_flowers_home_400धन्यवाद छ, अन्तराष्ट्रिय मिडियाहरूलाई जसले नेपाली सिनेमा ‘स्नो फ्लावर्ज’लाई समाचारमा स्पेस दिइरहेका छन् । एएफपीले त यसलाई हलिउडको ‘व्रोकब्याक माउन्टेन’सँग तुलना गर्‍यो । हफिङटनपोस्ट, न्यूयोर्क टाइम्स, बैंककपोस्टसहितका जतिपनि अनलाइनले ‘स्नो फ्लावर्ज’लाई लेखेका छन् –सबैले एउटै बहस उठाएका छन् । त्यो हो –समलिंगीप्रति पूर्वी एसियाको अनुदार नीतिका बीच यो नेपाली फिल्मले सामाजिक मान्यता पाउला कि नपाउला ?

बहसको जिम्मा क्रिटिक्सहरूलाई छाडिदिऊँ र चर्चा गरौं ‘स्नो फ्लावर्ज’को सांगीतिक पक्षबारे । सम्भवतः पहिलोपटक युरोपेली संगीतकारले कुनै नेपाली सिनेमामा संगीत दिएका छन् । फ्रेन्च सिने अर्केस्ट्राम्यान सिल्भेन मोरिजेट यसका संगीतकार हुन् । ‘थ्री अभ लाइफ’, ‘स्ट्रेन्जर लाइफ अभ बेन्जामिन’जस्ता हिट सिनेमामा अर्केस्ट्रा संगीत भरिसकेका मोरिजेटले के नेपाली माटो सुहाउँदो संगीत भर्न सक्लान् ? ‘हो, हामीसँग यही चुनौति थियो । संगीतलाई भौगोलिक सीमाले छेक्न सक्दैन र संगीतको आफ्नै भाषा हुन्छ’ पोस्टप्रोडक्सनका लागि पेरिस उड्न लागेका निर्देशक थापा भन्छन् ।

मोरिजेट पियानो बादक पनि हुन् । उनको संगीतमा नेपाली शाष्त्रिय ब्यान्ड कुटुम्बसहित आशिष ताम्राकार, सुजिता गुरुङ र युट्युव सेलिव्रिटी नताशा शाहले स्वर दिएका छन् । दुई अँग्रेजी ब्याकग्राउन्ड गीत छन् । बज्रयोगिनी गीतमा कुटुम्बले क्लासिक प्यार्टनको स्वाद पस्किएको छ । संगीतलाई सबैले रुचाउने थापाले बताए । ‘लेस्बियन भन्नेवित्तिकै नकारात्मक धारणा लिने चलन छ हामीकहाँ । तर, त्यस्तो किसिमले छैन । सेन्सरसिपको समस्या पर्नेछैन र पारिवारका सदस्यहरू बसेर मजाले सिनेमा हेर्न सक्छन्’ मेरोसिनेमासँग थापाले भने । इन्डक्लायप सिनेमाको यतिबेला धमाधम डबिङ भैरहेको छ । 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Letter To Love


[Please don’t consider the grammar] Exactly i don't know but may be a year back or more then that we would be together, but today we both act as if none of us exist in each other's life. When i try to sleep, a live hell drama start in my mind(play).....whenever I think of my past it is needles from all sides and stars to poke my heart.My tears, seem meaningless to myself as they roll off my cheek and then on ground.Because there's no one to wipe them off like you were sometime before.
 When I see people happy together.I feel that I was also happy a year back or more then that When "you" owned my life.I  hope god feel pity over the fate of this boy.But, today, I'm left out with some note(faded already),photograph and lots of memories which are still paining my life with your life.When I think about the time when you by my side, all memories flash back.Even the good thoughts, late nite gossips,and so on makes tears run down my cheeks and falls on ground.But, what I realize now is that all the happiness in the world I get and gave you, started paving the way towards the pain.Your past presence doesn't seem good right now nor does your absence. All that you've left for me is a broken heart that can't mend ever again.Your smile that I see on the pictures make me feel low.
They make me weak."You"have been the reasons to live and to make my life a living hell.Still, when I look up at the stars,they give me a sign of hope. What I think and try to smile is that I was lucky to have you ance and that's 'literally' enough.
It makes my hearts go numb whenever I see you, either on a picture or sometimes on my real life.It makes, me fall of my knees when I read the words,"I LOVE YOU" on the faded corners of the pages,which was written by you.These are only the things that make me feel comforted.Though you're not around. There's some parts of you in my heart,Yeah! Its hard to forget even i wish but you  forget me for no reason very early.Its stupid to cry when its been a year or more then that we've been apart. I dont know why it getting harder these days to put you aside I think it because your ignorance is getting deeper and deeper.SO, all I want to say is that I'm tired of pretending to be OK.Because I also own a heart(although its not perfect as yours).What i know is that i still love......................

One Mistake

The end of all tension and all worries of the world.No need to care at all.But, is it going to hurt.May, be a little it hurt.But it"ll be alright after i die.Where will I go ??Well according to people good works takes us heaven but what if i have done bad work.will i go to hell?Well i am going to die anyway, so to be frank, I'm not a such a good person.I think i had never help people  or sometime i may have help.But what the reason of that.I have done more bad work then good. So, I think I"ll surely go to hell.But,once on a tour,when a car hit a small child, an orphan actually,I ran to save him, without thinking about anything. I carried him he was bleeding and took him to nearest clinic.Later when he was fine I dropped him to his orphan building.Here what, will god take me to heaven for that? I'm not panicking now but still I am frightened for what I have done last time.Some one is right saying that, never trust anyone,if you know that, the particular person does not trust you in return.Bu I knew who trusted me.Someone tells me that she would be always be there to save me at anycost if i was dying or will be dying.BUt now what i think is world is full of selfishness,But today when i think of killing my self there's no one. It can be my imagination but i can see her,she is on the otherside of my life. I want to cry out loud and long her name,and be saved but if i did that, i would not be able to find out where i was to go hell or heaven.Although, if it had to be just one choice, well i know which to chose. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Abroad Studies


Education System!  Abroad and Here
                Education means the way of living life, socialization, learning the way the life style of people, their culture and so on .The meaning of Education is so vast that the definition can't be defined in one sentences. In facts Education bears the ability to open new vision to both individual as well as for the country. But due to lack of visionary planning, production-oriented education policy and signifance of education, the country is lagging far behind in the path of development.
                Each year large share of the government budget is allocated to public schools and college, but allocated budget is not properly utilized, due to different cause like Political situation, Banda etc. Not only this nowdays Education has become a good source of income, where quality don't matter what matter is quantity. Establishment of large number of school also show how competitive is it being. If utilized also not properly managed, distributed. The other condition is that school specially use or follow the outdate curriculum and they use their unnecessary technique in teaching.     
                While talking about the history of education, it's not much of time in development. Since the beginning of human evolution, writing and teaching was passed out (workout) but through culture, social values, traditions, morality and religion. In previous society Education was achieved orally and through observation and imitation. Young learn informally from their parents and other family members. Even today in some parts of the world, literacy rate are below 60 percent. Schools, colleges and Universities have not been the only method of formal education and training. Many different professional have added additional training requirements, and in Europe, from the Middle Ages until the recent time, the skill of trade were not generally learnt in classroom, but by serving an apprenticeship(a period of working).Systemic instruction, teaching and training by professional teachers are now a days considered as formal education. In ancient, during the Vedic periods most education was based on the Veda (formula and incantations, recited and charted by priest). This (Veda) education includes proper pronunciation and recitation of the Veda, the rules of sacrifices, grammar, derivation and composition etc. Some medical knowledge was existed and was taught. Herbal medicines of different diseases, including fever, cough etc are the examples of medical knowledge. Education in Vedic society at first was free but in course of development it becomes discrimitary as the caste system, originally based on occupation, religion and so on. Upanishads society or period way of learning was somehow different from pervious, they learn through travelling. Here teaching methods used reasoning and questioning. Gurukul system of education supports  only Hindu, although education was free, but students from rich families paid "Gurudakshina" as a voluntary contribution after the completion of their study. At Gurukuls, teacher imparted knowledge of Religion, Scriptures, and Philosophy, Literature, Medicine, Astrology and History etc. All this education was based in sanskrit. After this formal educational system emerge in world.
                Comparing Nepal Education System and Foreign we are much more back ward .While talking about the Nepal here are only few universities (only 5) which show the educational reality of Nepal. Education is considered as preliminary pre-requisite for democracy but we have not made it fundamental right so-far. Education which considered as an agency to establish equality, social transformation, but our policy in fact is far of this. There is growing legitimate demand for education by the citizens but or pattern of supply of education is basically as commodity to be made available in the educational market. However, recently education has become commodity for profit with all its ugly face in market economy. Advertisement and other unnecessary expenses are added to the cost of tuition in private sector. Comparing with Japan, Education is compulsory at the elementary and lowers secondary levels. After that they progress to upper secondary level, which is voluntary. Most attend public school in lower secondary. But Universities and upper secondary is popular at private sector. They provides education with age and Grade. So it a bit different from other. At the age of 28 Japanese will complete  Ph.D. Let see Indian Education, Education has been made free for children up to the age of 14 or class 7 under the "Children Right To Free and Compulsory Education" Act 2009.There this is catorized as primary Education .Secondary Education Cover children from age 14-18. Tertiary (Higher Education) System is the third largest in the world, after U.S and China. Research done in year 2009 show that there are 20 Central Universities, 215 State Universities, 100 Demed Universities. Other institution includes 16000 colleges, out of which 1800 are for women only. Distance Learning is also a features of the Indian Higher Education System. IT Universities and Colleges have highly flourished in India, each year 8000 student enroll in this field. Now lets see Sri-Lanka Education it has got a long history from 300B.C. Education in this country falls under the control of both the (C.G) Central Government and th provinicals Council. Education is catozerised as fundamental Right in "The Constitution". 92 Percent are literacy rate of total population here, it higher than excepted from a third world country. It has highest literacy rate in South Asia and overall, it is one of the highest literacy rate in Asia. Most school are maintained by Government as a part of free Education. While seeing the Finland Education it has got rating for the best system overall since the yrs 2000. In world Finland Education is considered as the best. At 2008, Finland also joined Japan at the top leader board to produce the best science student in the world. Finland's 15 years olds are the most literate in the world. Although the country is comparatively small, it has the principal research and development offices of Nokia along with 800 other high-tech companies, some overflowing their expertise into neighboring Russia.

Now at Nepal, After the people Movement-2 Education has been highly empasized in Nepal. The upcoming constitution needs to mention the work and responsibility of Central, Federal and Local Bodies (Government). After that model education mode should be developed, which should includes age level, content of study and many more. Here some question raise with upcoming program in future. What will be the strategies, plans (operation) and future programs? What will be the responsibility and work and educational Structure and authority of the Central, Federal and Local Levels of Education? What will be curriculum, test book, method of teaching and learning? Level of Education should be made clear for E.g 2-5 foundation level, 5-7 primary Level and so on. Responsibility of Public and private should be maintained. Level of teacher and staff in both private and public school are to be determined. The conclusion about all these are Educational Act must be made, with new and updated Curriculum. Structure like this can help a lot
Age
Level
Grade
Mode of Operation
1-5
Foundation
Compulsory Education
              (Free)
Government Sector
5-8
Primary
Compulsory Education
              (Free)
Government Sector
8-12
Secondary
Compulsory Education
              (Free)
Government Sector
12-18
Higher Secondary
Compulsory Education
(Loan to Provide by Government)
Government and Private Sector
18 Above
University
---------------------
Government and Private Sector
                                   
Vocational Education should be emphasized from secondary level of Education. Skilled Based training should be given to Higher Secondary and University Level Students. Utilization of IT must be maximum. Only after this Nepali will be well qualified ,equified, Research oriented public. So let be focused on practical basis knowledge.
                                                                                                                                                                                                Rishi Raj Adhikari      

Monday, May 23, 2011

Literature


Studying English Literature
When we dip into the rich variety of novels, poems, and plays which constitute English Literature we are reading works which have lasted for generations, or centuries, and they have lasted because they are good. These works say something worth saying, and say it with artistry strong enough to survive while lesser works drop into obscurity.
Literature is part of our cultural heritage which is freely available to everyone, and which can enrich our lives in all kinds of ways. Once we have broken the barriers that make studying literature seem daunting, we find that literary works can be entertaining, beautiful, funny, or tragic. They can convey profundity of thought, richness of emotion, and insight into character. They take us beyond our limited experience of life to show us the lives of other people at other times. They stir us intellectually and emotionally, and deepen our understanding of our history, our society, and our own individual lives.
In great writing from the past we find the England of our ancestors, and we not only see the country and the people as they were, but we also soak up the climate of the times through the language itself, its vocabulary, grammar, and tone. We would only have to consider the writing of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Boswell, Dickens, and Samuel Beckett side by side to see how the way writers use language embodies the cultural atmosphere of their time.
Literature can also give us glimpses of much earlier ages. Glimpses of Celtic Ireland in the poetry of W. B. Yeats, or of the Romans in Shakespeare’s plays, for example, can take us in our imaginations back to the roots of our culture, and the sense of continuity and change we get from surveying our history enhances our understanding of our modern world.
Literature can enrich our experience in other ways too. London, for example, is all the more interesting a city when behind what we see today we see the London known to Dickens, Boswell and Johnson, or Shakespeare. And our feeling for nature can be deepened when a landscape calls to mind images from, say, Wordsworth, Thomas Hardy, or Ted Hughes.
The world of English literature consists, apart from anything else, of an astonishing array of characters, from the noble to the despicable - representations of people from all walks of life engaged in all kinds of activities. Through their characters great authors convey their insights into human nature, and we might find that we can better understand people we know if we recognise in them characteristics we have encountered in literature. Perhaps we see that a certain man's behaviour resembles that of Antony in Antony and Cleopatra, or a certain woman is rather like The Wife of Bath in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Seeing such similarities can help us to understand and accept other people.
Good works of literature are not museum pieces, preserved and studied only for historical interest. They last because they remain fresh, transcending as well as embodying the era in which they were written. Each reader reading each work is a new and unique event and the works speak to us now, telling us truths about human life which are relevant to all times.
We don’t have to read far before we find that a writer has portrayed a character who is in some way like us, confronting life-experiences in some way like our own and when we find ourselves caught up with the struggles of a character perhaps we are rehearsing the struggles to come in our own lives. And when we are moved by a poem it can enrich us by putting words to feelings which had lain dormant for lack of a way of expressing them, or been long-forgotten in the daily round of the workplace, the supermarket, the traffic jam, and the TV News.
We can gain a lot from literature in many ways, but the most rewarding experiences can come in those moments when we feel the author has communicated something personally to us, one individual to another. Such moments can help validate our personal experience at a depth which is rarely reached by everyday life or the mass media.
So why do we need to study English Literature, instead of just reading it? Well, we don't need to, but when visiting a country for the first time it can help to have books by people who have been there before by our side.
When we start to read literature, particularly older works, we have to accept that we are not going to get the instant gratification that we have become used to from popular entertainment. We have to make an effort to accommodate to the writer’s use of language, and to appreciate the ideas he is offering. Critics can help us make that transition, and can help fill out our understanding by telling us something about the social climate in which a work was written, or about the personal circumstances of the author while he was writing it.
We are not going to enjoy every literary work, and there may be times when we find reading a critic is more interesting than reading the actual work. Reading the work of a good critic can be edifying in itself. Making the effort to shape our own thoughts into an essay is also an edifying experience, and just as good literature lasts, so do the personal benefits that we gain from studying and writing about it.
Whether we choose to study it or read it for pleasure, when we look back over our literature we are looking back over incredible richness. Not just museum pieces, but living works which we can buy in bookshops, borrow from the library, or download from the internet and read today, right now.