A warm light lamp right over my head, with darkness all around and the wall in front with my shadow and a book placed over my knee, that’s how I read George Orwell’s 1984.
In 1984 I found one of the most beautiful descriptions I have ever read of an object. It was a glass paperweight with a fragment of the coral inside, to which George Orwell alluded, was the arch of sky enclosing our tiny world. As I drew my breath appreciating its image I had in my mind, just in the next line, Orwell decided to smash that beautiful stone ruthlessly on the floor. I could see pieces scattered on the floor, but not clearly, for my eyes were filled with tears. This was my first experience with Orwell.
George Orwell was born in India as Eric Arthur Blair. He was a novelist, essayist, journalist, columnist and a critic. His another well-known novel, Animal Farm is a caustic satire played in the world of animals. A tale where dreams of revolution and equality end up in a ditch because of the unsavoury wishes of another animal who ruled over other animals.
Our all-time reminder.
Known throughout the world, George Orwell wrote the legendary caution tale, 1984. It should be read repeatedly to warn generations about the dangers of totalitarianism. That is why Ravish Kumar’s Bolna hi hai comes with a chapter titled ‘Reading 1984 in 2019.’ It feels scary upon realizing that Orwell wrote about our present social and political scenario almost 70 years back. Scary to this extent that you will be pushed to ask yourself the question Bhagat Singh once asked, “This is the reason that tears of blood flow from our eyes at Bharat’s present state and the question that rises in our heart is, What will become of Hindustan?“
In the 21st century, he has become an important icon in political culture. ‘Orwellian’ is a term growing in popular usage. It is used to ascribe to things similar to Orwell’s writings, which is of authoritarian type. The most latest usage being by Donald Trump Jr. when his fathers’ Twitter account was suspended in view of recent Capitol riots. 1984 ranked bestseller no.1 on Amazon after this incident. Its sales even increased by 9500 per cent when Trump became the President in 2017. No doubt why the book landed at the top in Steve Job’s favourites.
Orwell’s revolution in Language
He even invented a new language for 1984, the Newspeak. He wrote its appendix for usage with such a great precision that some of its words have crawled into our language like ‘Doublethink’ and ‘thought crime’. And how can we forget the ‘Big Brother’.
George Orwell has got special advice for writers in ‘Politics and the English Language‘. He says never use a long word where a short one will do and to cut words as much as possible. To avoid writing in passive and not to use any foreign jargon until necessary. Whenever the need is, he asks us to break these rules instead of writing anything barbarous.
Eric Arthur Blair aka George Orwell passed away in 1950 on this day because of tuberculosis at the age of 46. Bringing us back to question – Why do best die early?
“What I have most wanted to do… is to make political writing into an art” – George Orwell
We should read and re-read such a great reflection of politics to introspect where do we stand. In times when a comedian is arrested for a joke that he might crack, when possession of a certain piece of literature is an offence, we all should collectively look towards Orwell, for he holds some answers that we rightfully deserve in such situations.