• Dr.Pragya Suman

A Birthday Note to T S Eliot



Today at 26 September, is 133th birthday anniversary of renowned modernist critic and poet T S Eliot. He rejected the old romantic theory of literature and applied a question mark upon the inner voice of modern man. That era was a bloodshed phase of world war and human beings stood up with one of his heinous faces. It seemed inner conscience was a fake thought. Eliot used the term catalyst to elucidate his theory. Mind is nothing but a catalyst of the creative wheel.


H2o + so2 = H2so4, in presence of platinum catalyst. During this chemical reaction platinum remains unchanged.

Eliot says the artist's mind remains unaffected during the creative process just like a catalyst and it helps in wheeling the creative process. Personality and artist are distinct identities, which he defined as the theory of Impersonality by Eliot.


It could be similar to the same theory of physics ‘Theory of Photoelectric Effect’. Here light (collection of tiny pockets of photons) falls upon the material and after it electrons eject from the material. The most mysterious element lies in the process between fall and ejection. A spooky mystery, same as the catalyst.

I think it is that particular mystery which has been the lynch pin of the generation of various theories and philosophy. That unknown ---where stoic formulates his theory of non dualism, unifying the personality of the whole universe.

I think Eliot’s loss of personality, in Spiritual theory is dissolving of the inner self in an infinite one. At this depth the flow of energy happens in a bilateral way but the stoic who is supposed, who has controlled upon six senses and emotions remains fresh and alive, while the artist loses himself and sometimes goes insane.

Mind = creative running wheel-----for a creative person

Mind =non creative controlled wheel---for a spiritual stoic person.

In the case of Vincent Van Gogh we see a disbalance of personality or in word of Eliot loss of personality.


There have been so many theories and newer will come, all around that spooky mystery, and one unifying ultimate opinion is not going to formulate. Romanticism--modernism--postmodernism--meta postmodernism---it would be an endless process. At the deepest depth, a spiritual one would get satisfied by dissolving his identity or personality, which he calls eternal bliss but an artist on the same depth would rotate like electrons around the nucleus. In this process he sometimes loses his personality which the mundane world calls Madman as we see in the case of Vincent Van Gogh.

Sometimes after getting bored with the same rotation artist ends his physical personality, as Pablo Picasso.

But it is true that they all have pierced the thickest clouds and have descended to the zone of mystery.

I have written a poem upon T S Eliot--A birthday tribute--




T S Eliot is traditional now



The sea waves iced

on the ledge I saw

Eliot chopping it


----Though hardly I noticed


The sea skulls were

bobbing up in leftover

of stale breath. A square


hole was in my chiseled chest--


Spoons knives forks of

my modern cutlery

are hung in kitchen


--Though my ancestors cooked in Iron cauldron.


In breakfast I was

slurping seafood smoky

smell of firewood


Spread in the dining room--


(My grandmother would gather them in winter clamorously)


My lung recoiled in

sharp smile of Eliot


Mist has deepened how


And also I see among fragments

T S Eliot is traditional now.





copyright@Dr Pragya Suman


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