The Dept of English organized a special Lecture on Critical Analysis of T.S. Eliot’s “Wasteland “. The Chief Speaker was Prof Sonjoy Dutta Roy ,Former Head ,Dept of English & Dean , Faculty of Arts ,UoA.
While presenting an analysis of T.S. Eliot’s “Wasteland”, Professor Roy talked about his theory of Impersonality and he said that the poem should be understood as an independent body according to New Criticism.
Till 1950-1960s, Wasteland was read as a completely impersonal poem. The manuscript version of “The Wasteland” was published until 1960 . The Facsimilie version of Wasteland was provided by his second wife Valerie Eliot and the present poem is an edition of it. Since then the poem has been understood in a different light. In the manuscript, the original title was “ He do the police in different Voices” which is a dialectical version which means he,i.e the poet fools the police in different voices, where “police” is referred to the readers and audience. He called the readers “anecdotal hound”. The Wasteland is referred to the land that has been cursed, a curse that was brought upon the Fisher King because he raped the nuns in the church. The curse fell upon them because of the distortion of the harmonious relation between male and female and was associated with rape.
He elaborated on the allusion of the Holy Grail. The “blood” of the crucified “Jesus” was considered holy and was saved by his disciples in the Holy Grail. It mingled with the land and brought back fertility to the “Wasteland”. It is a poem which talks about the journey to the “Chapel Paralious”.
The poem concludes with “Da da da” Shanti Shanti Shanti. Referring to this Professor Roy brought to light that the word “Da” has been taken from the Upanishads. The first “Da” means “to give”. Professor Roy discussed the deeper meaning of “give “. Have we truly given? Have we surrendered our ego? Until and Unless we do not surrender the ego, the mind will not find peace. Hence he ends the poem with Shanti because in the Western phraseolgy peace has only a rationalistic meaning but peace is a value that can’t be rationalised. It is an innate, psychological and moreover a spiritual feeling Hence he ends the poem with Shanti Shanti Shanti
Sonjoy Dutta Roy retired in May 2023 as Professor and Head Department of English, Dean Faculty of Arts, Director, Centre for Film and Theatre,, Coordinator, Centre for Media Studies, University of Allahabad. In 1995-1996 he was a Senior Fulbright Fellow, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, USA. In 2004-2005 he was Fulbright Visiting Professor at University of California, Berkeley, USA. In 2008 he was visiting Professor at Jadavpur University Kolkata. He has published several books and research papers in India and abroad. He was invited to deliver talks on Theatre in India in 2016 and 2019 at University of Connecticut, Storr and University of California Berkeley, USA.