Bob Dylan in textbooks

As a teacher I find it a bit queer and at the same time quite experimental when I came to know that Bob Dylan, ( Robert Zimmerman) is included in text book of Kerala. The poem/ song ‘Blowing in the wind’ is one of the most popular/ oft quoted poem of Dylan. The poem in particular does not only contain lyric grace but also a great philosophic content . People argue that it is anti war poetry. Some critics find it a poem dealing with the journey of human. I find it a poem which is seeped in music carrying a message of human triumph. The imagery and the beauty of words of the poem make the poem so enchanting that one is bound to repeat reading it even after several readings. Specially the refrain which talks of answers of the rhetorical questions asked in the poem simply ‘ Blowing in the wind’ turns the song into an anthem. Here one can always find a connection between Dylan and Tagore. Tagore being a gifted lyricist and song composer always composed poems and songs which are bound to create an urge in the readers to sing aloud and to repeat reciting the poems. The insertion of refrains add to the musical brilliance.

I am not sure whether Tagore is included in text books of Kerala, but in our texts in West Bengal Tagore is there. However the recent inclusion of foreign texts in the text books of English in our state have opened surely newer vistas, both for the students and the teachers. Only wish more songs are included in the texts like the Dylan one as mentioned or even more radical ones like those sung by Europa or Scorpions which have soft cadence and lyric grace. If we can include more of Tagore and say more of Elton John songs ( like Circle of life or Candle in the wind) the class room teaching can be very musical and captivating. Recitation of poems and singing of songs can definitely make lessons memorable. Given the scope of IFE , inclusion of songs can be a great way to work on rubrics related to listening and reading and speaking for teachers and for the students it can be the most desired way out of monotony of classroom learning.

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