Some scientists are known to be petty, mean and dishonest, not poets who are undisputed masters of their works.
Since the 1980s England’s prestigious Cambridge University had felt the need for building a new Development structure to meet the additional accommodation requirements resulting from a growing number of post-doctoral researchers and post- graduate students.( for example the currently there are 4000 post-graduate students and the figure will naturally keep on growing).
The matter had acquired urgency in view of the people’s inability to meet the high cost of living arising out of general rise in prices and rental increase in Cambridge Town.
Early discussions for building a Development structure had taken place in the 1980s, itself. However formal permission to build the property was granted only in 2013 and actual construction on the first phase of the development started later that year.
All this activity ultimately led to the construction of the Development called “Eddington”(named after the great British physicist) to the north-west of the city on 150 hectares of land last year. The first residents of “ Eddington” moved in about five months ago.
It may be mentioned that last year Cambridge was ranked No 1 among all the Universities in the world including such prestigious universities of the United States like Harvard, Columbia, Stanford, and the nine Universities of California. In terms of Nobel Laureates also, England’s Cambridge University and its affiliates rank first in the World.
Many people, particularly in India, felt that naming this property after Eddington, a man who had ridiculed India’s Chandrasekhar, one of the greatest Astrophysicists in the world and an alumnus of the University as a great example of intellectual dishonesty (Eddington had questioned the validity of the “Chandrasekhar limit” and a few other related discoveries of Chandrasekhar, which were later proved to be correct). Eddington who had thus been proved wrong did not even have the grace to accept his mistakes with dignity. It was therefore considered in very bad taste and unfortunate that the most prestigious University in the world had not only turned a blind eye to this controversy but was now honouring the wrong man, by naming a Development after him.
Rather inexplicably and unfortunately, the history of Science is replete with instances of such grievous miscarriage of assessment of merit with mala-fide intention. Crick and Watson conveniently made use of the diffraction plates of Rosalynd Franklin, and there is evidence to show that they actually conspired to belittle her contribution resulting in the Nobel Committee ignoring her when the Nobel Prizes were given.
The great Isaac Newton plotted to suppress the fact that Leibinz had independently discovered Calculus, and succeeded in his effort because of his stature in the scientific community. While it is believed that Raman discovered the phenomenon that bears his name, what is not widely known is that he published his paper in undue haste bordering on the unethical, to beat Landsberg and Mandelstam to the finishing line. There is another story that the discovery was actually made by his student K.S.Krishnan but Raman claimed the credit! There are many more such instances.
In the case of poets, the question of one poet beating another to the finishing line does not arise for obvious reasons.
Let us first take Shakespeare, the greatest poet in human history-could any other dramatist have written Hamlet or Macbeth. Definitely not. Had he not been born, not one of those 37 plays or 154 Sonnets would have been written by any other poet.
Gray wrote his” Elegy”. No one else could have. Keats wrote his odes which no other poet could have. Wordsworth wrote “ Tintern Abbey”. How could any other poet have written it? The list is endless.
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Poets on the other hand ought to be admired for their noble friendships e.g Shelley wrote Adonais expressing his great admiration and sympathy for Keats. Byron was very upset by the fact that Keats did not think highly of Pope whom he admired, and was also critical of the rejection of 18th century Augustan poetry by Shelley and Keats . But he gave his real opinion of Keats in the following observations he made on an article that had appeared in Blackwood’s magazine:
‘My indignation at Mr Keats’s depreciation of Pope has hardly permitted me to do justice to his own genius, which, malgre all the fantastic fopperies of his style, was undoubtedly of great promise. His fragment of Hyperion seems actually inspired by the Titans, and is as sublime as Aeschylus. He is a loss to our literature; and the more so, as he himself, before his death, is said to have been persuaded that he had not taken the right line, and was re-forming his style upon the more classical models of language”.
Kindly note-he says that “ Hyperion,” Keats’s poem is as sublime as anything written by Aeschylus!. Therefore we can afford to dismiss his other gibes at Keats and his poetry on various occasions as examples of mischievous Byronic humour.
Coming to Shakespeare, he was admired by all his contemporaries, including Ben Jonson, except the mediocre playwright Greene who called Shakespeare an “upstart crow” out of jealousy when Shakespeare had just moved to London from Stratford upon Avon. Almost every poet of the succeeding centuries admired and revered him barring a lunatic fringe of two or three writers, like Shaw, Tolstoy, and Pepys who ridiculed him, out of petty jealousy. But rightly no one takes their views seriously. On the other hand a galaxy of literary luminaries venerated him. Such to name a few are, De quincey, Thomas Arnold, John Dryden, Logan Pearsall Smith, Samuel Johnson, Thomas Moore, John Milton. Samuel Coleridge, Alexander Pope, Wordsworth, Landor, Walter Raleigh, Robert Browning, William Hazlitt.
Need we say more?
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