The Nobel controversy | Daily News

The Nobel controversy

Bob Dylan

Awarding Nobel Prize for literature has always been an event of controversy. Yet with time it was proven that the choice of the selectors had done a service. When Rabindranath Tagore was awarded the prize for ‘Gitanjali’ in 1913 the Bengalese were fighting the British rule. It was Tagore who interpreted the Bengali and Indian philosophical thought in English that exposed the Asian life to the world. Pablo Neruda, the Chilean poet received the award in1971. His poetry was introduced as finding harmony with man and the earth, while some read it as poetry that awakens a continent. It is sad to recall his death due to the coup in Chile in 1973.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Colombian writer was awarded the prize in 1982 for his imagination and realities in the continent. The 2016 Nobel Peace prize awarded to Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos for his efforts to bring peace to Colombia by trying to put an end to the five decade long militancy.

It is a rare quality for a songwriter to be a singer. Naturally when the song is socially related, the song is read as a poem. The term Trova style of guitar playing is popular in the South American countries. The term is used for the songwriter and singer to be the same person while he uses the guitar to sing and the song has a social message. One of the finest Trova players was Victor Jara of Chile. He was a poet, songwriter, singer, guitarist and dramatist. His songs are still in the hearts of millions. Victor Jara became a symbol of resistance in the seventies and he became a hero after he was murdered in 1973.

Domestic and foreign policies

The world has seen many who use the guitar as a supporting instrument to sing or read a poem in public. Bob Dylan is an artist who has been in the informal music field for a long time. He has sung with Pete Seger who was also a songwriter and poet occasionally using the banjo as a supporting instrument. John Denver who died in a plane crash was also a lyricist who expressed himself and communicated with the masses using a guitar. One of the notable female singers and peace activists on stage with Bob Dylan was Joan Baez.

All these singers in some way have been active in the USA against the acts of the government of its domestic and foreign policies. The American music field has been a global phenomenon uniting people through music. During the times of the Cold war, musicians from the Soviet Union and the USA had a requirement to promote music and poetry among the people. One of the notable soviet poet, stage actor and guitarist was Vladimir Vysotsky. He was popular among the Russian masses as he loved to sing among the people. His songs were mostly about man and society. Some write about Vysotsky as the Russian soul of the soviet period.

The early sixties had some significant political events globally. The Vietnam war, the Cuban revolution and the national liberation struggles in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. USA was directly involved in all these events. The musicians and poets were raising social issues which drew massive crowds. These concerts gathered different dissent political views. Generally they opposed war.

New horizons for poets and guitar players

Bob Dylan whose name is associated with ‘Forever Young’, ‘Blowing in the wind’, ‘tambourine man’, ‘Knocking on heaven’s door’ are poetical songs which have a deep effect on people’s minds. Like John Lennon’s legendary songs, Bob Dylan has acquired a permanent place in the rebel music field.

At a time when the world is facing great challenges unprecedented in human history, artists can be creative in helping fellow human beings. Challenges to Climate change or any other global issue cannot be solved militarily. It is the human mind that has to realize its potential and volunteer in overcoming this situation.

Awarding Bob Dylan the Nobel Prize for Literature has opened new horizons for poets and guitar players. It is an acknowledgement for all songwriters and guitar players worldwide to take up social issues and make people conscious of their living.


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