The IUP Journal of English Studies
Kuntaka’s Theory of Vakrokti: The Language of Literature

Article Details
Pub. Date : Dec, 2018
Product Name : The IUP Journal of English Studies
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJES71812
Author Name : Ashima Shrawan
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : English Studies
Download Format : PDF Format
No. of Pages : 09

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Abstract

Literature is the most conscious use of language. It is a language within language and an art of language. It is a special kind of human discourse in which the writer tries to communicate his/her vision or ideas in a highly individualized medium by resorting to a particular and, in part, unique use of language. This unique use of language is a process in which the basic concept is transformed into an effective and meaningful message. It is the most delightful and perfect form of utterance that human word can reach. Indian thinkers have their own distinctive concept of the language of literature in which they fully appreciate the oblique elements which they call vakrokti. In the present paper, an attempt has been made to unfold how Kuntaka treats the language of literature as vakrokti, delineating its nature and different levels.


Introduction

Vakrokti, etymologically, has two components—vakra and ukti (literally, a crooked or indirect speech), thus impregnated with obliqueness of expression. Raghavan defines it as a striking, oblique expression. According to Kuppuswami Shastri, vakrokti can be understood as obliquity of expression from the commonplace. The earliest use of vakrokti is discernible in the Atharvaveda, Subandhu’s Vâsavadattâ, Amarû’s Amarûúatkam and Bâa’s Kâdambarî. In the Atharvaveda, it is used in the sense of crookedness; Subhandu used the word vaidagdhya in the sense of vakrokti; Amarû and Bâna used vakrokti in the sense of humorous remark—the former in the description of the condition of his heroine who had become angry with her husband for the first time, and the latter in a bantering humorous speech made by Candrapîda about the quarrel of the parrot and the jealous mainâ. The parrot, addressing Candrapîda, said that she also understood all oblique statements and could make use of witty remarks. This shows that there were poets before Kuntaka who were already aware of vakrokti1 in one way or the other.


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