Aldous Huxley's Benares

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  • Topic: Varanasi, Ganges, Uttar Pradesh
  • Pages : 2 (559 words )
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  • Published : December 19, 2012
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Benares Aldous Huxley Himself the most subtle and intellectual of modern writers, Aldous Huxley in his essay Benares presents satirically the disillusionment in social life. This essay mirrors the empty lines of the Hindus and their loss of the old cultural values. The glance at the middle class conventional morality is scaring and pitiless, while the mass literacy of the crowd becomes an obsession. As the title of the essay itself suggests, Benares has its setting in Northern India and is marked with an exhilarating comic and satirical tone. Huxley mocks at the corrupting influence of religion on Hindus. The story of the essay is woven round the legend of solar eclipse and the superstition that the sun is swallowed up by the monster serpent. The essay opens with the description of the gathering of millions of Hindus on the bathing ghats along the river Ganges in Benares (now Varanasi). The people coming from rural areas through previous night and day are seen marching bare footed in an endless procession with bundles of provisions, cooking utensils, dried dung or fuel and new clothes mounted on their heads. While women are portrayed as walking in a trance in fatigue, men are seen taking rest under the wheels of the passing (animal driven) vehicles. On the day of the eclipse and at one of the less crowded ghats, a princess is seen descending from her palanquin from behind the glittering curtain with all her royal robe. So that the princess could take bath in the Ganges unseen a passage way of canvas is erected. But the princess could not take bath due to passing boats and for fear that she will be shot by the writer’s camera. A row of priests are also seen the day of solar eclipse a little distance away. They are seen sitting on narrow ledges above the water “cross-legged, their hands dropped limply, palm upwards… they contemplated the brown and sweating tips of their...