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Small words and righteousness, poetry and music at the same time

Ahmed Chowdhury was born in 1962 in Kolkata, India’s largest city, and grew up in Mumbai. He went to England to study in his youth, majoring in English, graduated from University College London, then went on to postgraduate studies at Balliol College, Oxford, and became a member of the Creative Arts program at Wolferson College, Oxford. During his time at school, he was awarded a Harperburn Scholarship at St John’s College, Cambridge University for his excellent English literary writing skills. After graduation, he served as a visiting professor at Columbia University and other world-renowned universities, and is now a professor at the University of East Anglia. Chowdhury is a representative of contemporary Indian writers and emerging writers who write in English. He has written many novels and short stories, such as “A Strange and Sublime Address”, “Afternoon Ragh” “Afternoon Raag”, “Freedom Song”, “A New World”, “The Immortals”, etc., and won the Commonwealth Writers Award, Los Angeles Times Books Award, Betty Trask Literary Award, Encore Award, Southern Literary and Art Award and many other awards, the popularity and artistic attainments of his novels are evident.

Some people call Ahmed Chowdhury a “micrographer”, and that’s true. His novels are intricately described, and the content is mostly the bits and pieces of daily life. Eyes, trivial daily life can always become vivid and interesting in his writing.

His debut novel A Strange and Solemn Address tells the story of Sandeep’s observations and inner feelings about the world around him when he returned to Calcutta from Mumbai for two vacations from the perspective of Sandeep, a child living in Mumbai. In Sandeep’s eyes, everything around was an object of observation with relish: the smell of mustard oil smeared on his body in the bath reminded him of the sunshine of Bengal, where little babies are covered in oil and basked in the sun, glowing brightly. The small body is like a small koi fished out of the Hooghly River; during the nap, the uncle fell asleep in a pile of newspapers, and the newspaper covering his face rose and fell with his exhalation, and he felt like the newspaper could breathe; The aunt sleeping on her stomach with her arms bent seems to be swimming in the lake, and the mother lying on her back with her feet placed like a joyful dancer; the liberation of her legs and the floating of her body make him feel like he is Like a fish, and the shops and restaurants lining the roadside are like corals and anemones passing through his fish’s life… In Sandeep’s eyes, a peaceful life is full of novelties. Under the quiet tone of the novel, children’s innocence, simple joy, and faint warmth are everywhere like air, lingering around readers.

Chaudhry’s second novel, “The Afternoon Ragh”, is about the memories of a young Indian who was studying English literature at Oxford University, recalling the past, and the description of daily life is also everywhere. For example, Guru and his brother perform a raga (a raga is the basic key of Indian classical music, a frame of melody, known as the seed of melody and the soul of Indian classical music. There are many kinds of raga, each of which is have their own unique scales, intervals and melody fragments to express a specific taste and show a specific emotion); for example, a mother suffers from insomnia, and gets up in the middle of the night every day to weigh herself and drink tea; for example, garbage is transported out of the apartment of the men flirting with the cleaning lady every day; the father likes to watch cartoons, she always finds it funny every time he shares it with the mother, etc.

Chaudhry’s other novels, like these works, seldom have obvious, violent conflicts and clear storylines. The drama often seen in traditional novels seems to rarely exist in Chaudhry’s writings. The life described in the novels is like A small river flowing quietly, seemingly without any waves, and full of poetic colors. One commented on his novel this way: “Chowdhury writes with care and precision, trying to capture the rhythm of prose, the happiness of things that have passed away, the strangely simple and memorable moment, the simple but resonant beauty.” Read Choudh The novels in this book, feeling his humorous and delicate brushstrokes, will make us suddenly realize that there are many happy moments in life, and his warm and detailed description of ordinary life can arouse deep resonance in the hearts of readers.

However, only the subtle description of daily life does not make great works, and behind Chaudhry’s intentional understatement lies a profound ideological connotation. Lakshmi Krishnan, Chaudhry’s interviewer, said: “Chowdhury’s work pervades the sounds and textures of everyday life: a neighbor’s religious ceremony, a family’s ritual when preparing dinner, or a The ritual of a music class. His observant novels are quiet, even mundane, but far from self-satisfying.” Just as seemingly calm running water can actually hide eddies, Chaudhry’s novels Seemingly bland and full of the rambling air of everyday life, he has in fact been looking at India in the post-colonial era, and through seemingly casual and inconsequential narratives pointing directly at major social issues, he expresses his vision for India’s future. Destiny’s deep concern. Therefore, his novels contain not only innocence, joy and warmth, not only the capture and magnification of happy moments in daily life, but more importantly, Indian social life, Indian culture, Indian religion, Western industrial civilization and even the entire Analysis and reflection on the relationship between Eastern and Western heterogeneous cultures. He examines India in the context of globalization, and by describing the fragments of the daily life of the middle class and the lower classes in India, he alludes to the disintegration of traditional India and the reconstruction of modern India by globalization. The novel also reveals the loneliness in the hearts of Indians who are living overseas and living abroad for many years, revealing the reality that Orientals have become “others” in the Western world.

In Chowdhury’s novels, Hinduism has faded away from the holiness and sublime beyond the world, and become a part of worldly life, which is described as the destination of modern Indian souls and a symbol of Indianness. In the eyes of the child Sandeep, the prayer room for gods is like a child’s toy room, and the statues of gods in different postures in the prayer room are like children’s toys. It’s no different to be surrounded by a pile of toys in a toy room. Sandeep’s focus on godly devotion is not in his devout beliefs, but in the smell of sandalwood and tribute, in the clanging sound of prayer, in the time when prayer time is the time when an adult becomes a child, during which time The most important thing is that both man and God are freed from the tiresome world, and enjoy a moment of abundant joy, and the content of the prayer itself is not important. Sandeep’s understanding of religion can be seen as Chowdhury’s unique view on the role of Hinduism in today’s Indian society, that is, Hinduism is not just a religious belief in modern society, its greater significance is that people can worship God. In the process of escaping the troubles of real life, obtain spiritual relaxation and spiritual enrichment.

Like other Indian diaspora writers, Chowdhury has many years of experience in studying and living overseas, which enables him to fully understand the West, but because he cannot truly integrate into Western society, he has become a “marginal person” in the Western cultural field. The sense of “other” everywhere makes him a cultural loner, so in his novels he pays special attention to depicting overseas Indians and even Orientals. For example, there is such a description in the novel “Rage in the Afternoon”: “Under the portrait is a table, where Chinese college students sit. They don’t look much bigger than little boys, with straight black hair and clean and lively faces, Are leaning over and yelling at each other in Chinese….in appearance they are more westernized than Indians, comfortably dressed in European style, devouring steak and kidney pie hard, but they hardly speak to English speaking students, lunch time A small island is formed on that table, floating…” Chinese students are a symbol, a symbol of the East. People in the entire eastern world are trying to learn from the West, but it is difficult to integrate into the Western culture, and it is difficult to communicate with the West. dialogue and exchange. Chaudhry’s attitude towards Western industrial civilization is also not positive in the novel, so he describes Calcutta as a city with dust floating everywhere, and his college students prefer the grumpy widow neighbor because she retains her faith people’s traditional way of life. In addition, Choudhury’s fourth novel, A New World, also shows that Indians living abroad see their homeland as a place of healing and richness and opportunity.

Amid Chowdhury not only adheres to a unique style in literary creation, but is also proficient in music, especially traditional Indian music. His music echoes literary creation in ideological connotation and style, and he can be said to be a poet who combines both poetry and music. Writers and Artists. Chowdhury’s mother, a brilliant singer, taught him traditional Indian music when he was young, but he often resisted at that time. At the age of 12 he began to learn to play the guitar, and at the age of 16 he began to learn Indian classical music and suddenly developed a strong interest in it, and at the same time he began to be exposed to Western music. Today, he has been playing violin and Indian music for over 20 years. The family environment with a strong musical atmosphere and a good music education enabled Chowdhury’s musical talents to develop, and he eventually released his own CD “This Is Not Fusion” (This Is Not Fusion). In fact, this album is a mixture of traditional Indian music and Western music. It is not just a breakthrough in Chowdhury’s music creation, but also another attempt to integrate the two cultural traditions. He got his inspiration from the similar melody of the traditional Indian music form raga and Western music, and matched it with literary lyrics to form a music that integrates the East and the West without losing the Indian characteristics. In the creation of novels, Chowdhury also often expresses musical themes, such as “The Afternoon Rag” and “The Immortal Man”, but he further deepens the musical theme, trying to explore the relationship between music and social environment, thinking about the impact of globalization on India Brings the conflict between tradition and modernity.

Amid the righteousness, poetry and music at the same time, Ahmed Chowdhury is such a talented and individual writer and musician. Both novels and music albums show his profound thinking on Indian society and the world situation. Behind his novels The profound implication is far more than that, and it is worth exploring carefully.

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