D. C. Chambial’s Review of K. V. Dominic, ed. Discourses on Five Indian Poets in English: Keki N. Daruwalla, Shiv K. Kumar, Pronab Kumar Majumder, Syed Ameeruddin and Aju Mukhopadhyay
K. V. Dominic, ed. Discourses on Five Indian Poets in English: Keki N. Daruwalla, Shiv K. Kumar, Pronab Kumar Majumder, Syed Ameeruddin and Aju Mukhopadhyay. New Delhi: Authorspress, 2011.Pp. xv+311. Price: Rs. 825.00. ISBN 978-81-7273-603-3.
D. C. Chambial
The book has 24 articles in all on all the five poets selected for discussion in this anthology. Five are on the poetry of Keki N. Daruwalla, three on Shiv K. Kumar, four on Majumder, eight on Syed Ameeruddin, and three study Aju Mukhopadhyay’s poetry. The first article by PCK Prem is an introductory article reflecting on the poetry of all the five poets.
In this article, PCK Prem reflects on the poetry of all the five poets selected for critical evaluation and rightly observes: “To critically evaluate the interconnection and lyrical quality with regard to thematic patterns of poetry of these poets together, invites genuine problems” (1). He further adds that “in poetic and intellectual range of these poets, one finds flashes of Ageya, Bharati, Shamsher Bahadur Singh and Narender Mohan . . .” (10).
Keki N. Daruwalla
Asha Viswas studies Daruwalla’s Landscapes in her critical examination. Viswas terms these poems as the “product of thousands of egoless perceptions” (21). These poems mark “a complete departure from modernism. In its love for nature, love for the past, love for mystic lore, emotional intensity, lack of irony and satire” evince the poet “moving away from the sand-dunes of modernism towards greener pastures” (37). Jayshree Goswami and Mojibur Rahman evaluate Daruwalla’s poem, “Caries,” based on the theory of Discourse construction propounded by Halliday. These critics find that this poem is “constrained and influenced by the situation of context” (39) and arrive at the conclusion that there is “no direct reference to any one political leader but an implied reference to all the criminals, dishonest, and debased men who use guile to win the faith of the citizens” (47). P. V. Jayaraj makes an eco-critical study of his poems on Nature. In his 13 page long article, the critic concludes that “Daruwalla’s sensibilities” are “constantly policed by the immanence and transcendence of nature” (60). Prem sees in Daruwalla “a poet of sophistication with wide-ranging experiences” with “the influence of urban consciousness” (62). Daruwalla, in his poetry “stirs inner tranquility” by “hurting feelings and thoughts”. Daruwalla, argues Prem, “is astutely aware of the injustice, corruption and immorality in life and tries to give an authentic intellectual explanation which shall remain his strength” (79). Prasenjit Das and Binita Sarma also explicate Daruwalla’s poetry from eco-centric angle. They affirm: “If poetry must show an awareness of the physical and human landscape then Daruwalla’s ‘eco-poems’ can be cited as the fitting examples of Indian Poetry in English in the last three decades” (90).
Articles on Shiv K. Kumar
Chambial, Prem and Bhardwaj take up Shiv K. Kumar’s poetry for their study from three different angles. DC Chambial studies Kumar’s books, Articulate Silences and Thus Spake the Buddha, and finds that images of sex and Eros, in it, resulted after his wife divorced him in 1966. His first book, Articulate Silences, appeared in 1970. In his article, ‘The Sounds of Starved Eros . . . ,’ Chambial shows that the protagonist in Kumar’s poetry “is haunted by Eros. For its fulfilment, he seeks its [of sex] sublimation in such images as are related with such biotic acts” (98). PCK Prem, in his article, ‘Nostalgic Past and Agonised Present in the Poetry of Shiv K. Kumar,’ claims him as “one of the finest and brilliant Indian English author” (99). He finds in his poetry: “. . . the poet is deeply worried about the destiny of man. He is realistic, touches many aspects of modern life with urban sensibility and philosophic bent of mind and in the process, slowly moves towards spiritualism but suddenly turns back” (110). Dr Anshu Bhardwaj surveys Kumar’s poetry for East-West fusion. She argues that Kumar’s “poems have the flavor of English Romantic poetry, but they express Indian nationality, thought and reveal his sense of patriotism” (113). In her 19 page long article, she arrives at the synthesis that “Kumar sees the life in the West but thinks of his own country and returns home . . . encounter of both Eastern and Western ideas develops a new vision that distinguishes his work from the other poets and gives a new shape and sensibility to his poetry” (128).
The Poetry of Pronab Kumar Majumder
There are four articles on the poetry of Majumder by PCK Prem, Kurt F. Svatek, Swagata Ray, RK Singh and M. Mojibur Rahman, and Aju Mukhopadhyay. Prem looks for peace and harmony in an age struck by terror in Majumder’s poetry. He writes that “the poet is a responsible citizen deeply and painfully aware of the sufferings of the people but he is also committed to the cause of nation’s prosperity which are possible only if peace is maintained and violence of any kind is abhorred” (132). He affirms that Majumder “has dwelt upon the theme [of peace] speaks of terrible craze and passion, he cherishes. To him, the earth and man have a bright future only if peace and harmony are ensured” (140). Prof. Svatek delves on the theme of “Time” in Majumder’s poetry. He defines ‘Time’ in the light of Existentialism and Bergsonian concept. In his views the poet “wants to carry forward justice, to disseminate truth, and to steer people on to the right road, to expose darkness and corruption, to castigate evils, so as to purify the society from a new angle and to promote the advancement of human civilization” (150). The three writers–Swagata Ray, RK Singh and M. Mojibur Rahman–explore “minor themes and Time” in Majumder’s poetry. For them the poet “wears a mask to unravel the ‘eternal ringings / of the bell that keeps tolling’ though he hardly reflects on meaningless death or purposeless life. In fact, as a poet of Time, Majumder exposes his philosophic vision against personal self experiences against ‘the mortal world time’” (151). They pronounce that Majumder, in his poetry, “explores his own state of being, as well as the state of the world without, and gets attached to it and keeps repeating it, be it time, mind, life, or nature” (163). Aju Mukhopadhyay, in his article, assesses his poetry for the theme of love in his “love poems.” He observes that as the poet “observes his surroundings, nature and humans, keeps himself aware of the flow of time, affecting his mind, life and body throughout the span of his living time” (174). Mukhopadhyay finds his love poems as “inspired utterances” and affirms: “he has excelled in his love poems” (179).
Syed Ameeruddin’s Poetry
In this book there are eight articles on Ameeruddin’s poetry exploring varied aspects of his poetry. Binayendra Chowdhuri,, himself a poet, develops his essay based on the study of Ameeruddin’s book, Visioned Summits, which, according to Chowdhuri, “is full of melodramatic poems enlightened with introspection as well as realistic spiritualism of life” (194). DC Chambial examines Ameeruddin’s poetry for identifying the poet’s “quest for self”. He finds that Ameeruddin’s poetry seeks to restore “harmony to the disharmonious world” (201) and that the poet “thinks about his self and tries to know what lies beyond the bourns of ephemeral existence and how this existence, even after the termination of bodily life, can be made to exist eternally” (202). Har Prasad Sharma, in his critical analysis of Ameeruddin’s poetry says: . . . he writes such powerful poetry which leaves an indelible impression upon the minds of reader[s] (217). S. Kumaran finds Ameeruddin as a didactic poet. In this paper, he tries to identify “how he (Ameeruddin) uses poetry as a medium to express his perception and philosophy of life, views on relationship, concern for humanity, universal brotherhood . . . ” (218); he detects after the analysis: “Ameeruddin urges humans to cherish each moment and to accept things as they occur. … by assuring his faith in the transforming power of hope, he assures humans the way to attain liberation and to experience the bliss of divine” (229). Mosam Sinha, in his paper, ‘Syed Ameeruddin: A Wanderer with a Goal,’ finds his poetry as “symbolic and decked with the skilful use of metaphors, contradictions and epigrammatic force” (230). He affirms that his poem, ‘Drumbeats of Dampatya’ “. . . the most beautiful song ever created by any poet for his beloved wife” (247). O .P. Mathur writes about his both books: Visioned Summits and Visions of Deliverance, and terms his poetic pilgrimage as summits of deliverance, in which the poet “of course, accept(s), like T. S. Eliot, the ambiguities of life and the multi-faceted evil that has gripped our world” (257), besides “its immortal message of unity conveyed effectively and repeatedly” (258). While in his books, PCK Prem finds an elevating journey of grace and nobility. He interprets Visioned Summits as a book that “takes us to unknown beyond and gives an inkling of exotic and stunning world” and in Visions of Deliverance, he tells about the poet’s confronting of “existence arising out of loneliness, lusty and greedy materialistic love and consequent vacuity in life” (267). In the views of the critic, the poet is “deeply influenced by a kind of spiritual and religious fervor and it is expressed quite conveniently … with a determined impact” (273). Rajiv Ranjan, R. K. Singh and M. Mojibur Rahman explore Ameeruddin’s poetry for his poetic style. They observe that “Ammeruddin writes with a social and moral purpose with a view to changing the fabric of the society . . . [and his] poetry reveals with rebounded thought rather than spontaneous thoughts” (275). They comment that the poet’s style is “simple and effective. He has an understanding about the form and structure but sometimes length of certain poems makes them thematically weak and loose. . . . But his style is notable as far as Indianisation of English is concerned” (281).
The book has only three articles on the poetry of Aju mukhopadhyay by S. Kumaran, PCK Prem, and M. S. Raj Sree. Kumaran finds in Mukhopadhyay’s poetry a strong voice of the voiceless; Prem explores his books, Poems on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and The Paper Boat, in his article, ‘Purifying the Contemporary Inherent Irritants: A Critical Appreciation . . . ’, and M. S. Raj Sree, in the essay ‘An Ecoaesthetic Rendering of Aju Mukhopadhyay’s Poems’ appreciates “nature and its beauty” in Mukhopadhyay’s poetry, on the basis of “critical tool of ecoaesthetics.” Kumaran affirms that “Through his portrayal of the intrinsic value and inherent worth of nature, Mukhopadhyay declares the independence of nature and by elucidating the resemblance between humans and non-human others . . . and urges humans to cherish ecological principles” (291). Prem finds, in Mukhopadhyay’s poetry, “an experience at once fulfilling and ennobling” (293). All in all, “the poet is comfortable with the moral and social values of poetry. . . . draws inspiration from religion to a great extent and uses poetic art to uplift human mind and soul,” and observes that his poetry “is an aid to elevate and ameliorate the moribund prevalent in the society” (302). Raj Sree finds in Mukhopadhyay’s poetry, “‘deep ecology’ as a solution for protecting nature from destruction” (307). And that the poet, in his poems, gives “the message of symbiosis. . . . In the post modern world corrupted by excessive humanism, his poetry remains as a testimony to deep ecology” (310).
To sum up, the book opens new dimensions in exploring the poetry of Daruwalla, Kumar, Mjumder Ameeruddin, and Mukhopadhyay viewed from a stance quite different from the one held by the critics of the second half of the twentieth century. There is no doubt that the book will lead the scholars and students of Indian English poetry, in general, and the poetry of the poets under study, through unexplored streets of literature to reveal a luminous halo there. The critics and the editor deserve applause for their efforts.
Dr. D. C. Chambial, Reputed English Poet, Critic, Short Story Writer, Reviewer, Interviewer and Editor. Editor of International biannual journal, Poetcrit, Maranda, Himachal Pradesh, India.