What is all the fuss about Shakespeare? Why do pupils have to endure the drudgery of toilsome lessons on the Bard? Surely more recent writers would perhaps have an endearing charm that resonates with students and teachers? These are questions that are often asked. My aim here is to offer some answers to these perennial questions to not only illustrate the importance of Shakespeare, but more importantly, why.Continue reading →
‘The good die first, and they whose hearts are dry as summer dust, burn to the socket.’ (Wordsworth)
Dressed in a Saharanpuri kurta pajama, clad in an Aligarh style sherwani, topped by a five-pointed long hat of an earlier Thana Bawan style, a young man in his mid-thirties, with a scholarly face and spectacles on nose sat on the raised cushion. Two students were sitting on the floor facing him. It was 1994. The teacher was Mufti Abu Zafar, and I was one of the students. Before him was Ibn Hājib’s al-Kāfiya fi al-Naḥw.
He began his explanation of the opening words:
الكلمة لفظ وضع لمعنى مفردًا…
He examined the words in the sentence sufficiently enough to break it down into its various clauses. Then, taking the clauses one at a time, he broke down each clause, and examined more closely the individual words in it and, in the case of nouns, pronouns, adjectives and verbs, their word forms. He explained alternate grammatical possibilities and the implication this had on the various purport of the meanings. All this was done faithfully, efficiently and speedily, coupled with a humorous interaction with the students. This was my first lesson.Continue reading →