New Delhi: On Thursday, the Nobel committee announced that singer-songwriter Bob Dylan would be conferred with the Nobel Prize for Literature “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”. Undeniable as he is for being one of the greatest rock musicians, Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize, however, has surprised many.

In a Wall Street Journal opinion page published after the announcement, it questioned whether Bob Dylan could be considered as ‘literature’ at all. And Anna North from New York Times said that Bob Dylan was more a musician who belonged rightfully to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame instead of the bleak world of literature and its many prizes.

Many who’ve listened to Bob Dylan and crooned to his sonorous lyrics executed through his nasal Southern American drawl say that the singer is deserving of this honor because of the supreme quality of his prose, regardless of how it sounds with or without the music.

The question then becomes: would Dylan have been considered for the prize had his lyrics been judged under the same mirror where Indian Nobel laureate Rabrindranath Tagore was judged for ‘Gitanjali’?

I wish that for just one time you could stand inside my shoes/And just for that one moment I could be you/Yes, I wish that for just one time you could stand inside my shoes/You’d know what a drag it is to see you. An excerpt from one of his most famous songs, Positively Fourth Street, has been quoted repeatedly as one of his great work of Arts which resonate among many.

But regardless of the controversial decision taken by the Nobel committee, it stands evident that the declining trend of literature around the world needs some ‘commercial’ encouragement. And Bob Dylan, from Blowing in the Wind to reminiscing a lost love in Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright, deservingly compliment the Nobel Prize for Literature. His prose, which have been said to go under intense scrutiny from the writer, should (as we believe) have undergone the same lenses under the judges who conferred him the prize.


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