M Abul Fazl Some people just lose out or fall by the side. Dr Akhtar Hussain Raipuris Adab aur Zindigi was published in July 1935, a year before the founding of the Progressive Writers Movement. It offers the same philosophy of literature as does the Movements declaration, but more elaborately and in a wider perspective. It, moreover, calls upon the writers involved with the new literature to organise themselves as a movement. He had mastered seven languages and had a PhD in Sanskrit literature and edited a Hindi-language literary journal from Calcutta. In the article mentioned above, he poi-nted out that the society was evolving rapidly and every writer had to decide for himself where he stood: in his ivory tower or with the masses? He traced the evolution of literature in South Asia since the Vedic Age. He pointed out that, in the time of the infancy and early growth of Sanskrit literature, the material conditions of existence were so primitive that the life was devoid of almost all material comforts. So its poetry expressed sexual feelings uninhibitedly. Kalidas could rise above it to attain greatness because he was concerned almost entirely with na-ture and communicated with it. Productive forces had developed sufficiently in South Asia by the seventeenth century to produce a surplus big enough to support a large body of writers and artists (it was big enough to finance the construction of the Taj Mahal). But the writers were dependent on the courts and the need to please the rulers constricted their writing. Literature can flower only in freedom. The political oppression in this period was suffocating it. Even then it produced some great poets, like Nazeer and Ghalib. He says that, the two greatest voices in the modern period were those of Tagore and Iqbal. The former seemed to reject the mat-erial aspect of progress, while Iqbal got wrapped up in Pan-Islamism. At home, he addressed not the whole nation but only a part of it. (Later, after studying Iqbal more fully, he modified his opinion about him.) He expresses his opinion about the relationship between literature and society in greater detail when dealing with the contemporary period. Raipuri says: The fate of the society hangs upon the outcome of the struggle between the capital and the labour. It is only the working class which can, after ending the unjust distribution of wealth, carry the development of the forces of production to extreme heights.If one wants to write, he should observe the pain of his country. And if he is not agonised by it, he should throw away the pen. In view of this outlook, it is surprising that the Progressive Writers Movement chose to ignore him. True, he was not a communist and, therefore, not prepared to support the Movement politically. But his contribution to the creation of a base for the Movement in a purely literary way should have been recognised. Well, it is hard to tell a writer or a poet what to write, the processes of creation being mainly internal reacting to external stimuli. Coleridge recounts how he came to write Kublai Khan. He was on a holiday. He fell asleep in his chair, when reading the Purchass Pilgrimage, he was at the sentence: Here Kublai Khan commanded a palace to be built, and a stately garden thereunto. And thus 10 miles of fertile ground were enclosed with a wall. Upon waking up about three hours later, he realised that he had composed a whole poem of a few hundred lines while asleep. But he had succeeded in writing down only the few lines of it which have reached us when he was called away and forgot the rest. Even so, what we have is moving: The shadow of the dome of pleasure Floated midway on the waves; Where was heard the mingled measure From the fountain and the caves. And, of course, any writer will be responding to the happenings around him. But how do we rate Suroors writing an old tale of love and adventure, with plenty of sorcery in it, when the world around him was coming down crashing. That he should not have cared about one state being replaced by another, while the sub-structure remained intact, was as it should be. But he was witnessing the collapse of the whole structure, as land revenues were turned into tribute and the artisanat was being destroyed. Perhaps, he was escaping the catastrophe into story-telling. It is about such moments that the Progressive writers say that the writer does not have the right to escape. The writer is a former ambassador.