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By Kriti Sharma

ख़िरद वालों को हुस्न-ओ-इश्क़ की तनक़ीद क्या होगी

न अफसून-ए-निगह समझा, न अंदाज़-ए-नज़र जाना||

Through these words, Urdu poet Majaz Lucknowi questions the understanding of rational people by saying that rationality clouds the ability to see the magic in the eyes of a passionate lover. According to him, romanticism essentially is a retreat from rationality.

Romanticism is in the dreams of a dreamer, it is in the passion of the athlete, it is in the thought of the doer, and in the action of the thinker. The world knows romanticism from the song of the solitary reaper, from the ode to autumn, and when the world walks in beauty. Romanticism is an acceptance of grief, a grief which leaves the grieved with a sense of madness, irrationality yet there is no denial in their eyes. The eyes which praise a blossoming flower are not romantic, the eyes which praise the wilted flower which had once blossomed, are romantic.

Often perceived as a description of sentimentality and emotionalism, romanticism has much more to its credit. Romanticism is the deafening sound of imagination coming from the hollow material life and it’s a movement which accepts the bitter reality of life- that we all lose our loved ones and we all go through that depression. Was romanticism an uprising against scientific advancement or was it just a movement greatly prejudiced by intuition, denial and emotion? The answer is that romanticism as a concept originated from the realisation that sorrow is a part of everyone’s life, and that sorrow does not always demand a rational reaction.

People from different fields of art and science, hailing from different countries like France and Germany have infused romanticism in visual arts, literature, and music. In essence, Romanticism thus began as a literary movement. For this reason Romantic visual art should never be studied in isolation, because it can only be understood within the context of both socio-historical events and in relation to the literature, poetry and music of its time.

Like many other movements in art, Romanticism started in opposition to what existed before. In the fragment and the novel, the order and logic of neoclassical hierarchies was first questioned. The fragment, by its very nature, defied any ordering, because in it all barriers between various genres were broken down. It blended, amongst other elements, lyrical poetry, drama, history, autobiography, philosophy and fairy tales. Romanticism in its entirety will be remembered as a perfect concoction of purity and spirituality.

While many try to comprehend this movement by means of learning, unlearning and relearning the mannerisms of that era, the simplest explanation could be when nature wins over technology, when sensibility prevails over crude materialism and when the depth in life takes over the shallowness of existence. Like any other word romanticism can be interpreted by people in different ways depending upon their respective struggles in life.

I would like to explain romanticism as I grew to know it. To me, romanticism means the clarity in sight and thought when I see, read and write. It is not just a win over technology, it is a way of seeing the pure and natural elements in technology, and it is about finding traces of romanticism in technology. To me, it is not about thinking that technology disrupts nature; it is about how technology accentuates nature. It is not about being happy all the time; it is about accepting my share of sorrow and despair. Sometimes it is about giving up, sometimes it is about picking up pace in the face of moroseness. It is as much about denial, as it is about acceptance.

Romanticism holds a special place in my heart not just as a movement that the world saw centuries ago, but as something that I feel when I read any work of Wordsworth or Keats. It is a connection one feels with nature. Romanticism is an appreciation of nature which can be done even when you are taken away from nature. Any industrial revolution or scientific advancement cannot take away the joy and pride of a romantic. According to me, a person becomes a romantic when he starts finding sense in solemnity, when he is able to transcend the boundaries of realism, over to the world of imagination.

To express my understanding of romanticism, I would like to take help of the following lines:

I can feel the warmth of cold rain drops on my skin

I can see the happiness in a fish’s eyes as it paddles its fin,

The scent of fresh air, the dampness of mud, the hustle of a creek

The power of a dream, the strength of a thought, the beauty of antique,

And my belief in the joy of living is what makes me a true ROMANTIC.


About the Author:

Meet Kriti Sharma from the batch of 2017–19, who often passes off as a very quiet person, but can make hell come down on you if you say “Leviosaa” instead of Leviosa. She is not a Nazi, and by no means is she a purist, she just feels that certain things were meant to be said and written in a certain way. An avid reader since she first felt Alice in Wonderland in her hands, she can read anything and everything as long as it keeps her in her parallel universe, where “ there is time to stand and stare…”

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