Saturday, August 1, 2009

Journey Book Launch

Pietermaritzburg based poet and publisher, Graham Lancaster launched Journeys, An Anthology of Poetry from different parts of the globe. The book has an eclectic collection of poems that makes a great reading. I usually pack it in my coffee bag during calls to the hospital. The book has been edited by Graham Lancaster and Shaleen Kumar Singh.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Shaleen Kumar Singh's unusual poetry book, Proprietary Pains published by our publishing house, Poets Printery was launched at Durban on the 25 March 2009. This book is now available for saleBook launches would take place at Allahabad and Badaun
Please contact with Shaleen
Shaleen's work in his book is a trail blazer for Indian poets, poems that are experimental, feelings that have emerged as words at the spur of a moment.

We at Glorioustimes believe in his immense creativity, this book of short poems would continue to inspire poets who believe that poems can be mere words bereft of structure and laws, if understood to its fullest capacity.

The Hungry Generation Movement that started at Kolkata in the late sixties advocated the same principles which Shaleen's work gives a whiff.
Shaleen Singh from Uttar Pradesh has contributed to a movement that is iconoclastic, reminding me of such people as Sasthi Brata and Erica Jong.

Attached is a photo of the bookRegards

Amitabh Mitra
Congrats! The young Indian poet goes to South Africa and conquers hearts in the land of Mandela and Nadine Gordimer! Really remarkable! Keep on adding to your your conquests.Regards,
Dr Sunil Sharma (Eminent Fiction Writer) Bombay
CONGRATS, dear Shaleen. You have been doing very well on both critical and creative fronts.
R K SINGH A veteran Poet and Critic
Dr. Shaleen- let the release be auspicious-
Aju Mukhopadhyay (Pondicherry)
Dear Shaleen,
Heartiest congratulations! May you reap rich rewards from the Proprietary Pains.
Dr Nibir K Ghosh editor Remarkings
Hello Shaleen,
Dr Uma Parmeshwaran, renowned Critic Canada
ohh thats great congratulation for achieving this milestone
Ram Pratap Singh Chauhan, a young Scholar
Hello! I read your poetry i am so impressed that i can't tell you indeed you are the youngest author in UP
Saifi Adnan a devout scholar
Hi Shaleen,

I got a copy of your book from Amitabh. It is very powerful and the words cut deep into the soul giving the reader a view into your life through your eyes not theirs.

Very deep and thought provoking!
Shameela Abrahm
Proprietary Pains
Dr. Shaleen Kumar Singh
published by Poets Printery, East London, South Africa.

It was my great pleasure to be invited to review Dr. Shaleen Kumar Singh’s anthology of poetry, Proprietary Pains. Written in the thirteen days after his father, Dr Vinai Kumar Singh’s death and in honour of a man the author held in great esteem:
A shadow
Soon departed –
Left the sun, the heat,
clearly demonstrates the author’s view “-- a true poem needs no introduction, nor any foregrounding nor backgrounding rather it speaks itself what it is- “ which of course is the way of the true craftsman, which the poet undoubtably is “-- therefore I leave my poems to you to listen and feel what I say…” Which is exactly what comes to the reader’s mind in thought and clear word pictures:

A lamp
In deep Abyss.

The slim anthology of one hundred and four, three line, untitled nor catalogued poems is unusual in itself and also in its setting out of openness in this coffee table sized book with an attractive hand painted cover by Dr. Amitabh Mitra. Yet it is easy on the eyes and refreshingly unselfish and un-bounded in the sharing of such deep and personal feelings so soon after the loss of a parent:

A marsh
Feeling helpless

The collection spanning some thirty years of memories - and the sudden hollow lost feelings of tragedy and anger are deep and without restriction:

A tornado
In thoughts
In words

And yet we find great sadness in the father’s life:

Smouldered whole life
In last
Turned to ashes.

One can only believe the writing has been cathartic, which will ultimately bring about some form of peaceful acceptance of the inevitability of life and the realization that Dr. Vinai’s life also held pride and happiness in his family’s love:

Deprting You
Bidding adieu I
Mute Pantomime.

I wish Shaleen great success with Proprietary Pains, and also have the belief it will bring comfort to many.

Graham Vivian Lancaster
Alexander House
Review of the Proprietary Pains

Proprietary Pains (PP) is haunting!
The way the old Spanish or the soaring Gothic castles are still haunting for the modern tourists!
Or, the vast Russian steppes in Turgnev, running down to the very rims of the infinity, are for the readers. Or, the majestic Brahamputra of Assam, flowing down across the heart of an ancient land, is for the travellers. Or, the fleeting ruins of a Rajasthani haveli are, as seen in the afternoon sun. Things that refuse to fade from your mind already exposed to info overload. After reading the PP, you get the same feeling. It is like hearing the rustling wind in an empty room of an abandoned colonial-era bungalow set on a hill: It is the sad but redeeming MUSIC of the inner space vacated recently by somebody very dear. As we all remember songs from our childhood and can not erase them from our remembering adult heart, in the same manner, some precious persons/ special moments can never be forgotten. They get enshrined in memory. The PP by Shaleen does that for him and his readers. The young bearded poet mourns his father---an unsung college teacher, in the hinterland of India---in this bouquet of 104 short poems, published from South Africa. The poems come straight from a grieving son and the poet within transforms that personal loss--- a family tragedy but a routine thing for others outside the immediate circle---into haunting music and marvelous verbal cadence. It is about remembering an ordinary father, in a celeb-driven age, where the very act of remembrance is Herculean resistance against trivializing mass culture that reduces everything, including art, to trivia and nothingness; where family and values are all dying fast, and, where the human beings and early robust humanism have been all made redundant by the emerging consumerist society. Amnesia is promoted here. Man is superfluous. Only ads, objects, sensations, ephemeral things are made sacred and desirable, crowded out by others competing for your eyeballs. In this universal age of instant gratification and instant replacement, memories of the dead, of the past, personal histories--- of a person and nation, are all heroic attempts to retrieve a slice of the slipping past and capturing it in verbal structures of pure harmony and beauty and thereby, resisting the general forgetfulness endemic to nations and groups. Shaleen pays glowing tributes to a father in a minimal, sparse poetic style and transmutes the felt pains into flowing, arching Niagra fall of loss and recovery, in the face of extreme pain, hardships and emotional black-outs. In the process, a son feels orphaned by the parental death but a promising poet is born…cleansed by mourning and finding strength in that personal tragedy, emerging as a true person, down but not out by the slings of misfortune…the stuff of serious art anywhere and occasion for deep meditations on Life. It is also an elegy on patriarchy, now in the throes of crisis everywhere. Broadly, it is about the loss of father figure, an angst felt by us, while growing up. It is about finite that is man and an infinity that is art!

---Dr. Sunil Sharma

Review cum Personal Essay on Shaleen Kumar Singh's Proprietary Pains by Shreekumar Varma

"i read the book through once again just now. your words are loaded with grief and an effort to be brave so that they reflect--- however or wherever they are placed--- the heaviness of your heart. your father's profile comes alive almost as surely as your bereavement. if all these poems were written during the 13 days following the loss of your father, it's no wonder the words weep. they justify the book's title. but at the end, i wondered whether you shouldn't have included the memory of a few moments of happiness and laughter in his life as well, so that the personality as well as the poetic balance is complete. but then, of course, fresh grief can't be channelised, and this is a moment all men face, and only poets know how to express. i see your tears on amitabh's cover as well."

Shreekumar Varma

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Handbook of Language and Literature by Sudhir K. Arora, Bareilly: Prakash Book Depot, 2009. Reviewed by Shaleen K Singh

A Handbook of Language and Literature (For Competitive Examinations) by Dr. S. K. Arora is a book ‘designed with a view to keeping the requirement of the candidates preparing for the PGT/TGT Recruitment Test.’ The book is the outcome of an ‘inner-urge’ that ‘forced’ the author ‘to pen a handbook for the ‘strugglers’ (for job) that will remain with them as a faithful and reliable companion in their struggle’. The author without claiming ‘any originality’ has tried to present both a standard introduction to the close reading of literature and an invaluable resource for English Postgraduate students and aspirants of Lecturer’s Examinations like TGT/PGT or NET. Though, the book is designed specially for PGT and TGT Examinations, yet it can be a better companion to students of English literature who have a weak background and also to those who have a sound background but have an urge to sharpen their knowledge as well as a desire to attain excellence in the subject.
The book is divided into two parts of Language and Literature. In the first part, fourteen chapters are included dealing with grammar vocabulary, unseen passages, spelling, punctuation and narration. Part two carries Literary Forms and Terms, Figures of Speech and general introduction of the Authors and their works.
In the first part of Language, the author at first provides basic rules of grammar (in a precise and concise manner) and then includes objective questions to test the knowledge. These methods develop a succinct, thoughtful and incisive approach in the reader and enhance the level of understanding.
One notable feature of the book is that the definitions of various Literary Terms, Figures of Speech and the author’s introduction and other information are short, simple and easy to understand which clears the fact that the book is designed with a view to keeping the level of understanding of the students of U.P. in particular. For example, we may look at the definition of oxymoron that runs as follows: “In oxymoron, two opposite words or ideas are put together.” I think there can no shorter definition be given by anyone. Besides, the example to clear the above definition is also the easiest to note which goes as follows: ‘This is an open secret.”
Similarly, in the second part of Literature, the author’s introduction and some important points to remember are also written in point wise manner in an equally simple, short and clear way with a few objective questions on each author and his/her works.
The book is arduously prepared because author has vicariously experienced the pain and humiliation of the strugglers. There can be no greater reward for the author if some aspirants qualify their examinations with the help this book or benefit themselves by developing an insightful understanding of literature. Kudos to Dr. S.K. Arora for preparing such a nice book!

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Noontide: Poems, Ghazals and Hymns, Kanwar Dinesh Singh, New Delhi: Sarup & Sons, 2008, ISBN-9788176258821, price 240/- reviewed by Shaleen Singh

Kanwar Dinesh Singh is one of the pioneer poets of contemporary Indian poetry in English who seems to be the true follower of Frost’s dictum that ‘a poem should begin in delight and end in wisdom.’ He is now a well-known poet of Kangra valley whose previous collections won critical acclaim from the poets and critics like Patricia Prime, Gulzar, Amrita Pitam, Pritish Nandy, Jayant Mahapatra and Bernard M. Jackson. He has ten published poetry collections to his credit and a number of critical essays and papers published in the leading news papers and journals of India and abroad.
The present collection under review titled The Noontide is divided into three parts poems, ghazals and hymns in which one can discern a wide range of ideas clothed in the attractive form of poetry. The poems of the collection are a refreshing whiff of fresh air in the melancholic and complex climate of present time. The poet has tried to sketch varying aspects of life with broad precision and imagination. The poet has covered all the major themes like themes of philosophy, love, nature and social consciousness in his poems that are predominantly subjective in tone but objective in effects. The poet scribbles his pen dipping it in the ink of philosophy when he sings:
I am a leaf
Of the grand family tree
I wither and fall and fade away
But the tree lives on… (7)
And exhibits his concern to the hungers of man:
Man is not man
As he is seen
From outside
His hungers are just
Not his own. (8)
The consummate skill of the poet is seen his short poems. Specially, when he says like this:
On the other side of
My portrait:
I have no eyes,
No ears,
No nose,
No mouth,
No face,
No glow. (21)
But his longer poems create a world of its own. The poems ‘Wither to Man?’, ‘On the Death of Sun’, ‘A dream of death’, ‘Naught to Naught’, ‘Who to Blame’, ‘Spread Vast Eye’, ‘Asides’, ‘The Chain of Being’, ‘Anxiety ‘and ‘To A Watch’ are highly philosophical and suffused with social consciousness while the poems ‘How can I Forget You My Love’, ‘proximate to You’, ‘When You’re Before me…’, ‘The Colour of Colours’, ‘Up in Arms’ and ‘Together A Poem’ are tinged with romanticism.
The second section carries twenty five Ghazals, a popular genre of Urdu poetry. Traditionally Ghazal is known as the appreciation of the beloved with their peculiar rhyme and metre (which in Urdu is known as paimana and Bahar) but the poet has adopted the path of Jadeed poetry and has developed both the content and form of Ghazal in English in particular for which the poet should be analyzed comprehensively by critics and academics. The poet’s ghazals are both romantic and reflective. A few pieces of his romantic ghazals are as follows:
How can I tell you love so much, o dear!
On my tongue I’ve a seal of hesitancy and fear;
How can I bare my heart to you, o dear!
Of ignoring I have apprehension so sheer; (77)
The poet has imbibed the grammar of Urdu Ghazals so he follows the discipline of Makta and Matla while composing the Ghazal even in English. Mark, how beautifully the poet weaves the Urdu proverb in English Ghazal:
Who’s bathed with milk, O Dinesh?
Everyone in this Hamam is bare enough! (70)
The poet deserves his praise in composing Shair (Couplets) of Urdu in English which is probably the finest example of poet’s remarkable creativity and innovative approach.
The third section carries five hymns dedicated ‘to the creator of this world’ before whom the poet’s ‘soul bows in obeisance’. All the five hymns are the loveable litany to the Lord. In the hymn three, the poet sings like Tulsidas (Kulyug Keval Nam Adhare, Sumir Sumir nar Utarahi Para):
Chant the name of God, man!
You will be liberated from
This- world’s illusive trepan. (97)
Thus, a close perusal of the collection makes one feel as if the one has journeyed from human to the divine. Though there are a number of beautiful poems in the collection but the poem I liked is ‘Poets’ which reminds me the Indian poetician Anandvardhana who ‘proclaims in a famous verse that the poet is the sole creator in the universe of poesy since he fashions the world of the poem according as he pleases’: Apare kavyasansare kavirev prajapatieh/ Yathasme rochate vishvam tathettratipadhate. Look at the poem how the poet expresses it:
Out of sheer chaos they invent
A world too exuberant yet delicate
It is the messy composition of life
That they so fondly celebrate. (56)

To sum up, it is needless to say that the poems of Kanwar Dinesh Singh are unique and universal. The poet is not different to sublime poets and indifferent to sublimity. His imagery, symbols and other linguistic techniques successfully create delight at first perusal and wisdom in the second. His experimentation with language and genre has made him appealing and a poet of high caliber so the present volume is worth reading as well as worth buying.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Discovery, Tapati Baruah Kashyap, 12, D Juripur, Panjabari Road Guwahati, 2008, pages-49, Price-50/- Reviewed by Shaleen Kumar Singh

Tapati Baruah Kashyap’s A Discovery is a beautiful arrangement of poems in a single book-form that have previously appeared in different esteemed journals like The Sentinel, Replica, Poet and The Journal of Poetry Society of India. The book contains thirty six poems that took birth when the poet was journeying through the path of life with the only ‘companion’ of ‘Silence’. It is better to quote her own words when she says: Honestly speaking, all these poems are discovery of my sense perceived at different situations and experiences of life when silence was my only companion. (Words of Gratitude)
The poems composed in silence need silence again to enter into the being of the readers and agitate their conscience. Therefore, the poems that were composed in the back drop of series of violent incidents perpetrated by armed groups in Assam during which several innocent people had to sacrifice their lives for no fault of theirs need special notice of poets and critics so that a wider audience may equally experience the invisible claws of death over the lives of the innocent persons and their inexplicable agony. The poems of this collection are both subjective and objective equitably; subjective when she seems discovering her own self and objective when her own self is tormented by external inhuman and cruel forces and when she exhibits her genuine concern for the humanity at large. The realistic images drawn by her make the reader discover the root cause of the tragedy of human life which is in jeopardy on account of ethnic violence in Assam as well as discover the true identity of man in ‘nobody’s world’. But it is only the silence where she discovers ‘sense’. It is the silence which is a passage to her soul and an opportunity for realization and can make her heart’s door open and suggests her to keep it open. Most of the poems of the collection are suffused with realism so they contain skepticism, nihilism, dejection, hopelessness and deep pain in themselves and at times she becomes too inquisitive to ask death:
Why death
Why are you so harsh?
No sympathy for the humanity
Why death?
Where do you exist?
Is it your pride?
To destroy the earth
At your own wish . (32)
The poems like ‘Death Disrupts’, ‘Death Prevails’, Death is Disorder’, ‘Death Pollutes the Air’ and ‘Song of Death’ deal with the theme of death with a mode of research and skepticism. Her questions like ‘When there is no end/ How is life possible’ (41) or ‘Why death? / what were their sins?’ and the answer, ‘nothing –nothing-nothing’ (39) or her suppositions to death as ‘the healer of pain’ or ‘a shower of serenity on / the helpless soul of earth!’ create skepticism and reflection in the mind and heart of the readers.
Tapati appears to be successful in making her readers more reflective and thoughtful on the varied shades and emotion of life. But all the skepticism and pessimism (of poets) that arises out of the material world may shed if we remember Tagore who sings (in Bangla): ‘ Jibone yata puja holona sara,/Jani he jani tao hainin hara,/ Ye phul na futite jhareche dharanite,/Ye nadi marupahte haralo dhara,/Jani he jani, tao haini hara./ Jibone ajo yaha rayeche piche jani he jani, tao haini miche.
Which means ‘The prayers which I have left incomplete/In my life time,/Are not lost, I know/The unblossomed flower which falls/On the earth,/The river which lose its course/On entering a desert,/Are not lost, I know/Even to day the things/Which are left behinds/Are not in vain, I know.’

Therefore, if she remembers that the man dies but his soul lives on, her poetry will be more reflective, inquisitive and remarkable because her incessant urge to search, to know self is more powerful than other contemporary poets writing in English. The book is aesthetically designed and moderately priced. I avidly urge other scholars and academics to cast their critical glance to such a fresh and qualitative poetry.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Namdeo Dhasal: A Radical Voice of Dalit Protest by Shaleen Kumar Singh

Namdeo Dhasal’s voice of Dalit protest emerged onto the Maharashtrian Literary scene in early 70s and it succeeded in fracturing ‘Marathi Literature’s tranquility’ and giving birth to a political movement for Dalit voice. Born in 1949, in Mahar caste, Dhasal is the only Dalit poet to have received a Lifetime achievement award from country’s apex literary institution Sahitya Akademi. He is, though Mumbai poet and his poetic sensibility ‘emerges from the underbelly of the city- its menacing unplumbed Netherlands,’ yet that his vitality and vivacity of expression is so sublime and exquisite that he deserves to be ranked among the radical voices of protest in India
If we delve deep into the history of protest movements of regional literatures in poetry in India, we will enumerate find few names viz. Malay Roy Chaudhary (who led Bhorki Peedi Aandolan that is also know as Hungrialist movement), Sunil Gangopadhyay and Pritish Nandy in Bangla, Muktibodh, Kedarnath Singh, Dhumil and Rajkamal Chaudhary in Hindi, Siddhilingaliah in Kanada and Namdeo Dhasal in Marathi who created an ‘alternative poetics’ and with a deliberate use of subversive language and diction and ‘challenged the middle notions of decency’. Namdeo Dhasal needs peculiar focus as his Dalit Panther (an organization founded in 1972) in its ‘long-standing struggle’ with higher castes both ideological and physical, has a major movement of protest in India.
The journey of Dhasal’s life commences from his humble hamlet Purkanersar of Maharashtra to his maturing of talent in ‘Dhor Chawl on the fringes of Mumbai’s red light area where he formed his ‘Vigilante Organization, Dalit Panther’ and had in 1972 and named after the U.S. Black Panthers to indicate independence and militancy, the Dalit Panther grew in a number of educated young men. Loury Hovell observes this Dalit organization as:
Dhasal is both poet and Panther, and his poetry and that of the larger Dalit movement cannot be separated from its historical, political and social context. The poetry of this movement has a purpose; the poets speak about and for a community. Some of these poets say that if their political and social goals were met tomorrow, they could stop shouting and writing. (Hovell 7)
Another renowned dramatist Vijay Tendulkar looks at the world of Golpitha (Dhasal’s first poetry collection in Marathi) which is about Mumbai’s underbelly Kamatipura as:
This is a world where the night is reserved into the day, where stomachs are empty or half-empty, of desperation against death of the next day’s anxieties, of bodies left over after being consumed by shame and sensibility, of insufferably flowing sewages, of diseased young bodies lying by the gutters braving the cold by folding up their knees to their bellies, of the jobless, of beggars, of pickpockets, of holy mendicants, of neighbourhood tough guys and pimps… (Deshpande 72)
Dhasal is a potent voice of Dalit protest who feels a close relation between literature and politics. His collection Golpitha (named of a red-light district in Mumbai) depicts the tough life of a Dalit and is marked with ‘raw energy exuded by each of its words entirely unfamiliar to the established literary circle of its time.’ Rakshi Sonawane says:
The book scandalized the Marathi literary world, which had always been dominated by upper-caste writers. Golpitha was initially attacked for not being a literary work worth the name. Taking artistic liberty with free verse, Dhasal lashed out against the system, using words that had never been printed. (Sonawane)
After Golitha (1972), several poetry collections have been published in Marathi entitled Moorkha Mhatarayane Donyar Halavile (1975), Tuhi Lyatta Kanchi? Ambedkarara Prabodhini, Mumbai (1981)Ambedkari Chalwal, Ambedkara Prabodhini, Mumbai(1981), Khel (1983), Gandu Bagicha (1986), Ya Sattet Jeev Ramat Nahi (1995), Andhale Snatak, Ambedkara Prabodhini, Mumbai (1997), Mee Marale Sooryachya Rathache ghode Saat (2005), Tujhe Bot Dharoon Chalalo Ahe Mee (2006) and recently Dilip Chitre, another renowned awarded poet critic and translator has selected, introduced and translated Dhasal’s poems from Marathi (between the period of 1972 to 2006) in the book entitled Namdeo Dhasal: Poet of the Underground. The book carries (black and white photographs by Henning Stegmuller)) Dhasal’s poems from his eight collections and three introductory chapters of Dilip Chitre and a self-note of Namdeo Dhasal. Chitre is the only person who has introduced Dhasal to English speaking literary world (though a few others like Vijay Dharwadekar have also few poems of Dhasal for his anthology Modern Indian Poetry in English with A K Ramanujan) and he has been translating Dhasal from a pretty long time. One astonishes at the fact when he says:
I have been translating Dhasal’s work for the past 40 years. When I read a piece of poetry or prose in Marathi, and if it’s something that bugs or haunts me, I share it with others, to take it beyond the Marathi speaking identity. Over the years, I’ve taken this task on myself. Translating the works of Namdeo Dhasal became part of my general agenda. (Lobo)
Chitre and Dhasal have looked at the life of Dalits, the prostitutes and pimps, hijras, loan sharks, corrupt cops, drug addicts, petty criminals, street urchins, sexually transmitted diseases, physicians and general practitioners, gangsters, supari killers, singers and mujra dancers, folk balladeers, tamasha artists, cooles, immigrant labourours, food vendors, paun shopwallahs and all other type of people of Kamathipura, the hell of Mumbai. Unlike Mumbai’s multicultural, multiethnic, plurilingual, multireligious and multicommunal population as well as high towering buildings, malls and glamorous world of Bollywood, Kamathipura, the slum is a tiny but glaring example of the lives of Dalits who reside throughout the nation. Besides being a poet, Dhasal is also a political activist and he is equally known for his poetry and his protest movement that he raised under the banner of Dalit Panther. He remained ‘under the influence’ of Achary Narendra Dev, Ram Manohar Lohiya and India Socialist Ideology but he later on realized that the Samajwadi Party worked within a certain class limits. He also felt that he will have to target untouchability at first. He says:
I had to prepare ideological ground for my political commitment to Dalit Panther. We would have nothing to do with the so-called progressive and left parties as long as the problem of untouchability was not their topmost political priority. Around 1968-69, I gradually came to believe that untouchability would we our prime target. (167-168)
For him there is no difference, between poetry and activism and his poetry is only the literary form of his activism. Chitre is right when he says:
…Namdeo’s universe is untouchable too. It is loathsome and nauseating universe, a journey into it is a journey from the sacred into the profane. Or, if we were to see it in purely secular and material terms, it is a journey from the clean to the dirty, from the sanitized to the unsanitary, from the healthy to the diseased. (11-12)
The poems of the Namdeo Dhasal collected in the volume Namdeo Dhasal: Poet of The Underworld are the result of Dilip Chitre’s forty years arduous labour of translation. In the first poem of the collection, Dhasal in higher crescendo of protest says:
Man, you should explode
Yourself to bits to start with
Jive to a savage drum beat
Smoke hash, smoke ganja
Chew opium, bite lalpari
Guzzle country booze- if to broke,
Down a pint of the cheapest dalda. (38)
Launch a Champaign for not growing food kill people all
And sundry by starving them to death
Kill oneself too, lest disease thrive, make all tree leafless. (36)
But this high voltage current concludes in a mild and positive vision:
After this all those who survive should stop rubbing anyone
Or making others their slaves
After this they should stop calling one another names-
White or black, Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya or Shudra;
Stop creating political parties, stop building property, stop committing
The crime of not recognizing one’s, kin, not recognizing one’s mother or sister
One should regard the sky as one’s grandpa, the earth as one’s grandma
And coddled by them everybody should bask in mutual love. (36)
And in a didactic tone, he says:
Man, one should act so bright as to make the sun and the moon seem pale
One should share earch morsel of food with everyone else’
One should compose a hymn
To humanity itself, man, man should sing only the song of man.(36)
Similarly in the poem ‘Kamatipura’ where nocturnal porcupine reclines/… like an alluring gray bouquet wearing the syphilitic sores of centuries/ pushing the calendar away/ forever lost in its own dreams. (74) According to him, Kamatipura is ‘hell, is swirling vortex, an ugly agency’ and a ‘pain wearing a dancer’s anklet’. But his all bitterness turns into a tenderness when he says:
O Kamatipura,
Tucking all seasons under your armpit
You squat in the mud here
I go beyond all the pleasures and pains of whoring and wait
For your lotus to bloom.
- A lotus in the mud. (75)
Pain, anguish, abject poverty, deprivation, starvation, loneliness, hellish life of man, woman, children and almost all the marginalized sections of the society have been captured in the poetry of Dhasal. The predicament of a Dalit woman and her exploitation is mirrored in a sarcastic way:
Women are merely printed whores of men.
Men are just pimps of women.
The relationship of men and women is just like-
Take a few whores; take a few pimps; take a few chewing stick to clean the teeth;
And throw them away after use; and then gargle with the holy water the river. (58)
In a long poem ‘Hunger’, the poet personifies hunger and puts several questions to her:
A fruitless thing.
However hard you work, for wages you get paid in stones;
If one can’t build a house of stones
One can’t live in it.
Hunger, at times, you assume the form of a mouse, at times you become a cat, and a lion sometimes;
How can we weak ones, face
This game started by you and dare to play it? (76)
In another long poem ‘The Tree of violence’ mirror exhibits Dhasal’s concern for Dalits predicament and mature understanding of the social system in which ‘like a Tulsi Vrandavan’ the tree of violence is planted, ‘watered’ with blood and ‘with great devotion’. ‘The tree of violence continued to flourish’ and sucked human blood and even it ‘hammer like blows’ on ‘a holy man’, schooled in the sophistry of Parliamentary etiquette resulting which ‘he remained in a coma’. Somehow the messiah recovers and warns the people ‘about the alarming/ terror-trees or some propensities and ‘ministers and cronies’ attempted ‘to chop the tree’ but the tree could not be broken nor sawed off and people regarded it as a tree of steel. After constant futile attempts of ‘lifeless and frozen government to search for the ‘ever growing roots of the tree’, there comes a roaring of fusillades from all directions they came to find the roots of the tree when Dhasal says:
Finally they found the roots of the tree
In the Havelis of the Zamindars and in their mehfils
Finally the roots of the tree were found
In the safety-vaults of capitalists and monopolists
Finally the roots of the tree were found
Under the throne of the Empress
Hellhounds and hit-men on red alert were summoned in the end
The tree was cut down. (70)
And later on the same tree of violence turned the tree of love and became the Kalp-taru. The poet weaves chapters of hope and says:
Really, the cannot die
But multiply it will-by the hundreds, by the thousands, by the millions and by the billions
It will overflow into rice-fields, and foul up the Parliament, it will run
Over the ghettos of the untouchables, the mangs and the mehetars,
The mahars and the chambhars, into the fields and into the factories,
They will all weave and wave streamers and pennants for the Gate of a new nation
And the tree of violence will perform the role of the tree of wish-fulfillment
Yet, it will be a cornucopia for the newborn nation. (71)
Dhasal like other protest poets is an ardent votary of Baba Sahib Bhimrao Ambedkar. His poems ‘Dedication’, (Tuhi Bot Dharoon Chalalo- Ahe Mee 2006) Ode to Dr. Ambedkar (Tuhi Yatta Kanchi, 1981): 1978 and Ode to Dr. Ambedkar (Golpitha 1972) are his poetic offering to Dr. Ambedkar. He remembers him and says:
You are that sun, our only charioteer,
Who descends into us from a vision of sovereign victory,
And accompanies us in fields, in crowds, in processions, and in struggles,
And saves us from being exploited
You are that sun
You are that one-who belongs to us. (42)
In the poem ‘dedication’ he apologizes ‘Baba Sahib’ because he ‘could not do without writing/ ‘the poetry of his achievement’ and he is ready to suffer for a life-time because he says to him;
In archaic poetry, one has come across many
Who turned cured humans back into their original form.
By suffering the punishment given by you
My life shall become pristine again. (134)
Dhasal’s raw imagery describes the lives of the Dalit who have been a victim of exploitation and savagery of the higher casts. Dhasal lashes out against the system with the armoury of altogether new words and symbols and with an ‘artistic liberty ‘of ‘free verse.’ He attacks even the intellectuals:
These great intellectuals are roaming with blazing torches in their hands
Through lanes and bylanes, chawls and chawls
Claiming that they understand the darkness in our huts, where even rats die of hunger
They are great like horny whores
Those who don’t know that their darkness under their arses
Can exhibit coquettish excellence with ease. (Sonawane)
In the poem ‘Orthodox Pity’, he complains that the ‘feudal lords’ have ‘locked all light in their vault and ‘their orthodox pity is no taller than folk land road pimp’ and in their (Dalits) and their lowered life which is imposed upon them, is without a pavement belonging to them. He continues:
They’ve made us so helpless; being human’s became nauseating to us
We can’t find even dust to fill up our scorched bowls
The rising day of justice, like a bribed person, favours only them
While we are being slaughtered, not even a sigh for us escapes their generous hands. (47)
Brought up in an extreme poverty in Mumbai’s red-light Kamatipura area Dhasal lived among prostitutes, goons, beggars and in a place where distinctive stench, leaky drainages, the smell of human urine and faces, stale food and garbage, sweat, smoke and many subtler aromas abound where ‘it’s poor inhabitants tries to keep it as hygienic and orderly as possible’ (150) but fail at last. Dhasal feels alienated, dejected and torn when he says:
This soil treated me as an outsider;
This air turned its back on me;
What took pity on me in the end was the sky that has no limits. (113)
In the poem ‘Worry’ the poet Dhasal is worried about future and remains indifferent to immortality and spirituality even;
I do not wish to get chained to this God-created hell
For me every day brings a smile to the lips of fortune
Whether the ambrosial cloud rains immortality or not
I don’t wish to entomb myself here in a trance
As for me I still have to worry
About tomorrow’s bread. (107)
And he is bold enough to face death because he wishes to fight for his people and as he knows that ‘poets can save the earth from extinction’, he wants to sacrifice his life for them. One can observe his boldness when he says:
Death is a better alternative to fear
Rather than get buggered; butcher them back
Then bring them back to life, and then kill them again
I too would like to be martyred
For my people’s sake. (111)
Dhasal has indomitable will power with which he attempts to uproot the tree of castism, communalism and regionalism. He opposed not only the oppressors of higher casts but he raised his voice against the oppressors of women, children, religion, fascism and fundamentalism also. His Dalit Panther a crucial role in the politics and literature of maharastra. Dhasal has remained objective from the very beginning. Robert Bohm critic says aright:
Dhasal of course makes no apologies for his writing. Instead, he’s
Relentless in his insistence the reader know why he writes the way He does. And so he regales us with the real, detailing a claustro-phobic world filled with extraordinary deprivation and garbage that is both literal and spiritual. (Bohm)
The poetry of the poet Dhasal is criticized severely by critics but he takes delight in shaking the staid and stirring up the controversies. Sudhanva Deshpande says aright: “The more his (Dhasal’s) critics are exasperated, the more he enjoys being outrageous.” (Deshpande 72)
Dhasal supports it and says: “I have been criticized by many. Whenever I find the time, I read what my critics write. However it does-not affect me.” And alike a genuine protest poet know what he has to do so adds- “our times are such that we have to more on, leaving the establishment in its own fix.’ (170)
Although the Dalit movement and Dalit politics ‘are now in shambles, the translator Chitre has concerned himself to ‘his human vision without sharing his political view, his strategies and his tactics as a political activist’, because at a ‘deeper level’ of poetic vision of humankind and human equality they meet each other. The readers of Dhasal should also adopt this positive vision of looking at an art or poverty by sharing human tenderness that originates in a heart to and reaches to another. According to Dr. S. K. Paul:
Dalit literature is ultimately, a declaration of independence. It is impossible to understand the revolutionary quality of Dalit literature without understanding the people to whom it is addressed. (Paul 398)
Dhasal’s poetry speaks for Dalits and is addressed to Dalits, so it is more down to earth and realistic than other protest poets. One can not search sweetness in his poetry and at the same time one cannot find it missing anywhere. His love for the down-trodden and the people living beside dung heap and hell remain running undercurrent. As an ideal protest poet, he loves everyone and spares no one. He lashes, but simulates with a hope to see under it a shinning vision and so his poems, that are addressed to a peculiar audience and community carry universality in them and make him a master crafts-man and maverick and his poetry ‘worthy of noble prize’.

Works Cited

Bohm, Robert. “Note to D on Namdeo Dhasal” <> 26 Jan 2009.
Deshpande, Sudhanva. ‘Superstar Dhasal’. Frontline. July 27. 2007.
Hovell, Laurie. Dhasal,Namdeo: Poet and Panther Journal Bulletin of concerned Asian Scholars. Vol 23. 1991. 7.
Lobo, Kenneth. Interview with Dilip Chitre ‘Bard of The Banished’ Mumbai Mirror. Sunday. 3 June.2007.
Namdeo Dhasal: The Poet From the Underworld. tran. By Dilip Chitre, Chennai: Navayana. 1st ed. 2007. (All the poetry and a few prose references are from this book)
Paul, S.K. ‘Dalit literature: Its Growth and Evaluation’ Indian literature in English. ed. Satish, Barbuddhe. New Delhi: Sarup & sons. 1st ed. 2007.
Sonawane, Rakshi. “Dhasal’s times of irony and Anger”
http://www.indianexpress,com/story/215603.html> 22 Jan. 2009.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Shaleen Singhs unusual poetry Proprietary Pains

Shaleen Singh belongs to a small town of Budaun in the province of Uttar Pradesh in India. Post Colonial Poetry in India came in varied extent from the metropolis. Yes, there is definitely an invisible bond in ones creativity to the town or village of residence. The rustic surroundings of Budayun have influenced Shaleen’s poetry to a certain level.
The Indo-English Poetry Movement that dominated with a few names from the sixties to eighties has lost the anarchy that it professed. Instead poets like Shaleen Singh have brought their own vivid and iconoclastic imagery that defies any norm of poetry, grammar and even English. It is a poetry that is truly Indian. His poems are ultimate, radical and spoken in two or three words. They are like the hot wind that blows so often in summer at Budayun. Its searing effect is reflected on words that are immediate, poetry that seems to grow unhindered in unusual circumstances like the old Banyan tree in his house at Budayun.
Cover Watercolor by Amitabh Mitra, Poets Printery Publishing, South Africa
Dr Sunil Sharma's Comment
Happy New Year! And Congrats! Our Badaun Chhora (guy) goes global! Proprietray Pains' smooth journey to the firang S. Africa is real remarkable. Small town India--- a vital part of India Inc success story so far---debutes on international literary stage, and, with a bang. Visuals are also impressive. My best wishes for the young poet who clebrates pains and joys of living off centre, yet making it the centre of his vibrant intellectuo-emotional universe.
Aju Mukhopadhyay's Comment:
Dear Dr. Shaleen Kumar, Hearty congratulations on the occasion of the publication of your first collection of poems- Proprietary Pains- the title is unusual and interesting- I look forward to seeing the book in due course.Truely,
Aju Mukhopadhyay
Professor Bhaskaran Gavarappan's Comment:
Dear Professor,Wishes from my Heart to you and your wonderful book Proprietary Pains.It is really an achievement and reward for ur hardwork.Good Luck,
Comment of Dr J S Rathore (Former Vice Chancellor)
Our dear Shaleen K. Singh, Loving Jai Baba. Delighted to have a glimpse of your book's cover and comments by Amitabh Mitra. He says: "His poems are ultimate, radical and spoken in two three words." Great. Congratulations. Thanks for sending. This reminds me of famous Australian poet Francis Brabazon, who came in very close association of Meher Baba and is respected all over the world as one of His mandali. He became Meher Baba's poet. His poetry collections: Stay With God and The East-West Gathering are loved by all. He said that contact with Baba created a creartive surge in him and changed the course of his poetry. One of his poems addressed to Meher Baba - `O Glorious Eternal Ancient One' - is sung daily here as morning prayer.Beloved Meher Baba must now be very happy that now another poet joins His lovers. We do not use the words `disciples' or `followers' but say we are lovers of God, lovers of Meher Baba.- Prof.Rathore
Dr Stephen Gill comments
Stephen Gill
Graham Lancaster- A renowned Poet From S Africa Comments
Congratulations, Shaleen, This looks wonderful. A striking cover and I would like to read it.Do you still want me to review? Regards, Graham
Dr ram sharma comments:
dear shaleen,I became very happy to know more feather in your cap,i pray you will progress leaps and bounds
Dr Sunita Sinha comments:
That is wonderful
Dr Nilanshu Kumar Agarwal Comments:
Congratulations!!!Dr. Shaleen!!
Dr.Nilanshu Kumar Agarwal
Dr K V Dominic comments

Friday, February 13, 2009

Beyond Borders: A Collection of New Poems by A. N. Dwivedi, New Delhi: Adhyayan Publishers and Distributers, 2008, Pages-53, ISBN 978-81-8435-054-8, P

Beyond Borders, a collection of New Poems by an eminent poet, critic and veteran scholar, A.N. Dwivedi who is Presently Professor and Chairman, Dept of English, Taiz University at Al-Turbah, Republic of Yaman. The book should be considered as an important registry in Indian English Poetry as it has ‘a fairly large number of poems on the poet and his functions the intricate poetic process and the role of words, sound, sense and rhythm in the creation of poetry’. In an age of ever proliferating growth of both qualitative and pseudo poets, the poems dealing with such themes, will provide a more meaningful and insightful glance to those who have a craving to write an ideal poem. I remember another poetry collection of Vihang A. Naik titled Making A Poem that ‘shed a fascinating light upon the process and poet’s personal aesthetics.’ But Dwivedi’s Beyond Borders carries poems that articulate ‘the soul and of art’ in the effective communication/without getting bogged down/with doubts ‘n’ confusion’ reckons the ‘poets of today/who delve deep into allusion/take too difficult technique/to depict life’s profusion’ and make their ‘utterances’ ‘mostly chaotic ‘n’ hollow,/creating tense, arid situations/which we cannot follow.’ (6)
And yet he finds words as important as feelings that ‘enable us to converse/debate and discuss and deliberate issues of our concern and addresses them as the wealth rhetoricians/ the bane of mystics,/the pride of statesman,/ the prize of poets’. Dwivedi is chiefly a poet of social consciousness but the collection carries poems of various themes. ‘Remembering T. S. Eliot’, ‘In Memory of W.H. Auden’ and ‘Salutations to Kargil Martyrs’, are poems cum tributes. ‘Life’s Journey’, ‘Nature’s crop’, ‘A Blind Man’s Life’, ‘Life’s Support’, ‘What are We’, ‘Knowledge-hunting’ and ‘Life is Winding Stare’ are full of vitality and philosophy and ‘Rewa Roads’, ‘Panchayat Raj’ , ‘The City of lamps’ and last two poems ‘Scientist Vs. Poets’ and ‘Young Man ‘N’ Young Woman’ (Both in dialogue form) are realistic as well as humorous. The collection, as a whole, must be welcomed by critics and poets so that the senior poet may continue to ‘fulfill’ the ‘aesthetic purpose’ of ‘Rasa Nishpatti’ and remain a radiant life force shining alike a Northern Star.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Local Colours in Shankarsan Parida’s Poetry By Shaleen Kumar Singh

Amongst the rich repertoire of Indian English poetry, only few poets have succeeded in painting local colours in their poetry. Although many diasporic poets have tried to recollect those forgotten ‘Rivers’, ‘Valleys’, ‘Flowers’, ‘Hills’, ‘People’, and ‘places’ in their poems, their predominance has been on ‘Nostalgia’, ‘Memories’, ‘Alienation’, ‘Pains’, ‘Pleasures’, ‘Dissatisfaction’, ‘images’, ‘Symbols’ and many other things but have not adequately sketched the ‘places’, and ‘people’, or ‘Local Settings’. And yet A.K. Ramanujan’s poetry is marked with the characteristics of ‘Autochthonousness’ and ‘Indian Myth and History, her people and customs, her rich cultural heritage: these form the dominant theme of his poetry’ or we can overview his poetry as a gallery of paintings of local colours also. As a poet is a child of an age and he envisions not only the social, cultural and political scenario of his time but also local settings around which he is born and fostered. Like Ramanujan, Sankarsan Parida frequently resorts to native themes, and traditions colours of life. Parida (b. 1953) entered the realm of Indian English literature with his first book of poems ‘The Golden Bird in 1991. Later on his two more collections were published titled ‘The Segregation and The Next Valley Beyond that established his serious presence among post-independence Indian English poets. Born in a tiny village of Sandhapalli of district Cuttak, Orissa, Parida is teacher in a post-graduate college of Mahakalpara of Cuttak. He, being a poet born in village, has been in close communion with nature and his poetry evinces that Nature and local settings have been prominent themes of his poetry. His simplicity of expression is similar to the innocence of a villager who has not been aware of world and its people’s craftiness. M. Q. Khan rightly states:
“---it is the simplicity of expression that compensate for all that may be lacking in his poetry.” (Forward)
And simultaneously if we read between the lines, we will find his simplicity of expression is closely connected with his exhibition of local colours. His both characteristics are intermingled in such a way that we can see local colours are expressed in a simple manner and the same simple manner brightens the local colours in his poetry. This poetic creativity with microscopic and scuritinying eyes and simple words has created several poetic murals of Shankarsan Parida. Being essentially a poet of nature and the lover of beauty, Parida observes the kaleidoscopic sceneries of nature around him and mingles personal notes, memories in an inseparable way. He does not imagine of some far off land or will- o’ the -wisp but watches around him and finds the truth of beauty smiling and luring him and the vivid geographic-historico-cultural presentation of his milieu becomes his forte. There are a number of poems in which he conjoins nature with such a delicate human touch that his poetry appears to be a unique piece of creation. Mr. M.Q. Khan says:
… Parida’s use of image drawn from nature associated with the human existence makes some of his poems quite charming. (Forward, Seg.)
In his first collection Segregation, Parida’s first poem ‘And These Days’ one can observe his deep love for his local surroundings where he lives:
Whether I see them
At Sealdah railway station
Or at Mahanadi Bridge
Or at the school gate of Sandhapalli
I dance in joy
And the world looks all beautiful
And everything is proper (Seg. 13)
Similarly another poem ‘The River in Spate’ written on the Brahmani River provides mantle piece and joy to the poet which was also sought by Wordsworth in his communion of nature. On one hand, he acknowledges the glory of the river and says:
This is the river
This is the Brahmani
Flowing with a sweet murmur
Since time immemorial (Seg. 15)
While on the other, his love to this river can also be discerned as:
Very often
I run to its bank
When agony a serene meaning
In the waves
The floating of strange boats,
Village woman bathing
Forest creatures, making their way
With some significance to their name (Seg. 15)
Similarly in another poem ‘at Behrampur Railway Station’, the picture o the city Behrampur is both graphic and realistic. Here the description of nature still remains predominant:
The sun glides gracefully
Across the whole of glistening Berhampur,
An occasional purchase of guide books begins
And at the main gate
Autowallahs burn perfumed sticks
With very high expectations
And the station dreams of a happy future. (Seg. 22)
The local places confer the poet a feeling of security, homeliness and happiness and the poet feels peaceful and quenched in its vicinity:
The places between Birdi and Gobindpur
Bemuse me with a kind of sentiments
Unusual and sad
And I sit beside the statues
Of the great national heroes
To appease my thirst
For finding the way (Seg. 23)
The poet watches not only the natural elements like rivers, mountains, flower and fauna but he also covers common places like bus stands temples, airlines, urban and rural life and even local festivals of Puri. In his description of nature we may see his poem like Lalitgiri. In which he addressing Lalitgiri in a conversational tone depicts the beauty of the mountain and its overpowering effect on the poet. He writes:
You madden me
The more I see you, the more interested I become
And I think
Your glory and beauty
Can never be exhausted (Seg. 25)
And in another poem ‘The Neea Madhala’, his depiction of the river Mahanadi is equally remarkable:
The blue murmur of the Mahanadi
Kisses the feet of the Lord
And the blue sky scintillates over
The whole scene.
Amidst the blue
His glistening looks
Sanctify the living beings
Of all the stigma and ties (Seg.28)
Similarly, in another poem ‘The Banyan Tree’ his description of the river Brahmani is equally refine and graphic when he writes:
The banyan tree stands on the bank of the Brahmani
With all dignity and glory to itself
Time smiles upon its boughs
The sun shines, the wind blows
And the riverbank provides
A special spectacle
To one who can see into the life of things (Seg. 37)
But his description of common place and common men is equally pictorial simple and narrative. In the poem ‘Rain in Bhubneshwar,’ he starts spreading the hues of local settings as:
It was a fine evening
Children were playing in parks
Retired officers paying cards
Young men and women engaged in shopping
Gossiping and merrymaking (Seg. 35)
And continues his narration:
Thunder and lightning followed
Three rickshaw pullers
Hastily left the pavilion
Towards Rajmahal square
Not an inch was vacant
They staggered on
With heavy sighs.
After a while
The rain subsided a little (Seg. 35)
In his collection The Golden Bird, Parida has included several poems on nature in which the poets love to his local surrounding persons is visible dearly. The poems like ‘The Golden Word’, ‘The Moment Dies’, ‘A Waiting’, ‘Events and events’, ‘And It Embraces’, ‘The Konark temple,’ ‘The Journey,’ ‘And it Descends,’ ‘On The Beaten Track of Life,’ ‘Pandora’s Box,’ and ‘My Dear,’ Dear Father’ are the poems in which the description of nature is mingled finely in the local colours and the mingling is so perfect that none can separate each from the other. The local surrounding of Konarka is well sketched by the poet in the poem ‘The Konarka Temple’:
The Konarka Temple, the Sun Temple
The citadel of ecstasy
With all elegance, glow and glamour
In the brightest and sweetest sense of the term (T.G.B. 21)
While in the poem ‘My Dear, Dear Father’ the poet makes an exquisite medley of memories, nature and local colours. Remembering his father who on a ‘stormy day/when the earth conspired with sky/and rain poured all through/followed by lightening, thunder and wind-‘carried his son 9the poet) on his ‘shoulders/ with a lot of pain/ and proceeded homeward/ on the bank of the river Brahmani’, the poet adds:
On reaching home we saw the house broken
And cooped up under the broken roof
Against heavy adds
And survived the night
Sandwiched between hope and hopelessness.
The next day, the weather changed a little
But no way was clear to the market place
For another day (T.G.B. 50)
In his third collection The Next Velley Beyond The Stars, there are the poems like ‘An Awe Inspiring Hour,’ ‘To Run The Race,’ ‘Super cyclone in Orissa,’ ‘Eternal Bliss,’ ‘Siddhartha,’ ‘Towards The Centre,’ ‘The Refreshing Air’ and ‘A Subtracted Destruction’ in which we witness several instances of local colours when we see the poet narrating Lalitgiri, Brahmani, Puri, Mahanadi, Casuarina Tree, Patrapur Bridge and other local places and people. P. G. Ramarao writes aright in the Introduction of the book The Next Velley Beyond The Stars :
The Brahmani, the Bilua Khai, the Casuarina trees and Patrapur Bridge lend local colour and have a universal appeal in their meaning. This is an instance of how particular gains a universal significance in good poetry. (9)

In the first poem of the aforesaid collection, the poet writes beautifully how he ‘lost company’ and here he spreads beautifully how he ‘last her company’ and here he spreads the local colour with a touch of pathos:
She loved me once
While I was still a child
Wandering amidst casuarinas plants
On the sea beach of Puri
Or enjoying the beauty of the thought provoking
Are of the Boudhavihar at Lalitgiri
But suddenly
I turned to books and enchanting looks
Oblivious of the stagger and stain
And the blissful pain
And lost her company for ever (N. V. S. 13)
Similarly in the poem ‘Eternal Bliss’, the reminiscences of the river Brahmani still star of a ripple of joy in the poet’s heart when he remembers the river Brahmani and writes:
I feel thew same thrill, the same touch
Even after so many years,
Nothing is changed in your face
O silver Brahmani!
The landscape still enamours,
The bank still awaken the desire
Of floating paper boats
During high floods
That appears almost yearly (N. V. S. 21)
Like many other poems ‘Siddhartha’ a social conscious poem the local back ground is put in a very beautiful manner:
While crossing Patrapur bridge
Across the Brahmani
Raju is bemused with remorse and dismay,
His heart beats heavy
With a lingering agony
Of that bygone day (N.V.S. 37)
The poem ‘Towards the Centre’ is also a beautiful example of depiction of local colours. This poem is set on the background of local natural colours:
The golden oriole
Chirps happily
Amidst casuarinas trees
On the sea beach of Puri
In the sun-basked morning
Of late summer (55)
In this way, we can say that the poetry of Sankarsan Parida is marked with rainbow colours of his local atmosphere, people and places and his spectrum is as wide as the sky. He has covered all the major incidents occurring in the local setting: from birds, trees, flowers, rivers, mountains, canals, rains and sun to people and their actions from beauties of nature to the beauties of the places and from pictorial delineation of natural atmosphere to his personal indulgence to such natural local atmosphere. The simplicity of expression is the hallmark of Parida’s poetry, yet he is nowhere seen involved in redundancy, jargon, verbosity or clichés. Like river he flows and like trees, he confers us shade in the scorching sun of materialism. His poetry reminds us of our roots of indianness which should be strengthened at first. C. D. Narasimhaiah once advised the critics but this advice should also be born in mind by the poets too. He wrote:
I wish to indicate very briefly how in Indian critic can function today by going back to his own tradition and make literature yield its benefits like Kamadhenu or Kalpavriksha- the more you know how to seek, the more they give. My critical function would use this opportunity to familiarize… with the rich concepts of rasa, dhavani and purushartha, the Indian value system. (Chapter IV 45)
Here it is to be noted that our Indian Rasa, Dhvani and Purushartha or the Indian value system is so rich and potential that our all knowledge acquired from the western books and classics will acquire new gates of research, thought and wisdom and this strengthening of our roots will gain new fruition on the huge true of Indian English literature. We must be aware that the promotion of indigenous themes in literature will not only enrich the literary treasure with fresh symbols and imagery but also make the local themes international as well as eternal which will also be a sort of sacred service to literature.


Narasimhaiah, C.D. An Inquiry into the Indianness of Indian English Literature. New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi, 2003.
Parida, Shankarsan. The Golden Bird. Kolkata: Writers Workshop. (1991) abbreviated as G.B.
----. Segregation. Kolkata: Writers Workshop. (1996) abbreviated as Seg.
----, Shankarsan. The Next Valley Beyond the Stars. Kolkata: Writers Workshop. (2002) abbreviated as N.V.S.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

See the launch of Tonight an anthology of World Poetry and Amitabh Mitra with Shaleen's Book.