It is hard to escape from the avalanche of news: Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize, spread all over the tabloids, and it is even harder to survive from the fact that a musician has won such a prestigious prize, in Literature. While defending him as a deserving candidate, the Nobel Prize committee said: “new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”

I was raised listening to Dylan’s songs and loved his powerful lyrics ever since. Among his many songs: Blowing in the wind, Mr. Tambourine Man, and Like a Rolling Stones are my all-time favorites. His works have always provided me an Elysium to live; helped me to search hope in the time of great despairs, and gave me opportunities to taste the soul-of-music. His music enshrouded love, hate, war, and freedom. But, I blew in the wind and contemplated for a while, when I heard that the Swedish Academy has awarded Dylan as the winner of 2016’s Nobel Prize in literature, despite the truth that there were many other deserving candidates than him. For example Philip Roth, Don DeLillo, Haruki Murakami were considered as the strongest contender for the prize. Their literary works—novels, poems, stories, and plays—are read throughout the world and had a powerful impact in the field of literature as well as uplifting the dominated problems and providing a new vision to the modern world.

No doubt, Dylan’s works too have moved the world ever since he stepped in the arena of Rock and Roll, but he deserved other awards like Grammy, National Medal of the Arts, Oscar, Golden Globe, Rock and Roll halls of fame, which he already has bagged in his heyday. But he should not have won the Nobel Prize and especially in literature. Besides that, lyrics are not considered as poetry. Dylan’s lyrics, though analyzing broadly, couldn’t be categorized as a poem because he depends upon his sultry voice and loud music in order to convey his words; in fact, such is not the case in the literature. The words are Goddess and they are Virgins. It would not be wrong to say that, after this intended incident, cultural hegemony still exists in the Nobel Prize committee. And, since the Swedish Academy awarded the prize for a songwriter, out of the box, now for its own sake, it must collaborate with different musical awards. Then it must start to distribute the prize in literature to other deserving lyricists like Smokey Robinson, Kate Bush, and Patti Smith.

Dylan is the first American, after Toni Morison, to win Nobel Prize in literature. Sure it would be down shame in the history of literature when the name of Bob Dylan comes with other Nobel laureates and literary giants like Toni Morrison, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and T.S. Eliot. His bunch of so-called poems, bare and naked yet covered with invisible papers, will shamefully be clinging in the strings of a guitar, beside the masterpieces like Beloved, One Hundred Years of Solitude, and The Waste Land.  He may be a genius and giant in the music industry but he is no more than a lewd in the literary world. Even he is aware of this fact that is why he is running away from the calls-of-the-committee.

The death of literature in the city is sure after this blunder, as the hope always prevails in the corner, there is only one messiah who could save literature and that is none other than Bob Dylan himself: he should repudiate the Nobel Prize.

-Rozesh Gautam

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