Saturday, January 7, 2017

Panjab Moods- A Literary Adagio by Satish Kumar Shukla, New Delhi: Sanbun Publishers. ISBN: 978-93-80213-24-8, 2010, Price- 100/-, Pages-111. Reviewed by Shaleen Kumar Singh

Panjab Moods is a collection of poems that deal with various moods and modes of Punjab, one the most culturally, materially and even spirituality rich state of India. The fantastically written blurb clears the poetic motive of the book:

Panjab is one wholesome movement, extended adagio in the eternal music of Indian nationhood. Those who know the land know to know it in its Himalaya fresh airs, pastoral surreal scenes, the fertile fields and that one off hearty JAT JIGRA. Those who don’t may get a first introduction in the pages of this book per bons mots- the literary adagio. (Blurb)

The Author’s note is also worth reading for the Indian English Scholars chiefly those who have developed a peculiar kind of distaste for the Indian English poets and their visions as well. Once again, Satish K. Shukla has raised the question of expected seriousness of Indian Writers in English who “are blandly poor, both in themes as in syntax”. He has justifiable criticized such “Indians” who “have at best learned Pidgin English, remarkably poor in colloquialism and Idiom, both together building the backbone of any literary language and without which no ‘learning’ can flower and fruit”. And this context “the language of most of the Indian English poets suffer “solecism”, malapropism, bad punctuation is remarked by him.

He has considered his poetry volume as an “extraordinary initiative” (which is advocated by him) as an immediate redressal of persisting imbalance in matters English Language and progress is at stake…”

He also considers that his book “will lighten the students’ burden “somewhat”, at least make sure they learned English language via material which is nearer to their sights, hearts and minds than all the Othellos and Hamlets which anyway teach but human insufficiency…”

The self-laudatory proclamations in which the author on one hand terms his poetic attempts as “extraordinary” and on the other trivializes this  “extraordinary” initiative, as an initiative as that will merely lighten the student burden”. The author is not fully confident about the responses or impact of his sincere initiatives? Or has he too not come out of the conch shells of phobia which made panicked most of Indian English professors and authors for decades who have criticized Tagore, Ezekiel, and other translated poets and writers for their English language skills, however the criticism ended with the passage of time but not surely the  popularly of afore mentioned writers.

At first, the poet Shukla has to know that his self proclaimed extraordinary initiative is not a new one in Indian English writing. Innumerable poets have brought out countless anthologies of such kinds. Poets from Orissa, North East and Bengal have remarkable anthologies of poetry and criticism all in standard Indian English. Even in Panjab, Prof. Hazara Singh has done commended service to the Muse and prose and Mother Earth by penning qualitative poetry and anthologies.

However, the sentiments of the poet shared in the poems are well-composed and equally well expressed. All 43 poems of the book are soaked in the fame of Panjab. The most beautifully penned poems are the poems on the five rivers of Panjab- titled “Satluj, Beas, Chenab, Ravi and Jhelum”. One can enjoy all the seasons of the State by going through the poems as well as can have a very graphic glimpse of the state by the perusal of the collection. In fact, these poems are encyclopedic in range and will surely not just “lighten” him but will enlighten him with knowledge about literature, society, History, Geography and tradition of the great State.

The language of the poet is remarkable and the style is impressive. The poems Guru Arjun Dev, Guru Tej Bahadur, Guru Gobind, Panjab Holocast, Khalistani and Neo Panjab are some of the finest pieces of the book. I must congratulate the poet for such a nice poetic volume.

21st Century Love Poems: Love is Lot of Work by Rajiv Khandelwal, Pub. by Global fraternity of poets, Gurgaon (Haryana). Reviewed by Dr. Shaleen Kumar Singh

Rajiv Khandelwal’s latest collection 21st Century Love Poems- Love is Lot of Work as the title suggests is the book of love poems that carries myriad hues and fragrance of multiple types. To quote Reginald Massay’s words, “The  verses of Rajiv Khandelwal speak to today’s technocrats in a language that they will comprehend and to which they will relate mostly readily”. The collection contains poems of fresh imagery, symbols and figures that appeal directly to the “new generation of the new world.” Besides, editor of the book Bhupindar Parihar has tried to define and justify the title and work  of the poet by terming it as “an attempt to reconcile with spaciousness of the post-modernist world” and as an attempt to “Break the word and free the thought /Break the thought and free the thing.’ (Editor’s Preface, iii)

Rajiv Khandelwal is not just a poet with ample promise but he is a multi dimensional personality. He is a self-employed manufacturer and a bachelor of Electric Engineering whose interest transcends scientific and commercial boundaries of material world and lead him to the world of art, literature and cinema even. He also co-produced a documentary film Visit India, Discover Agra that testifies his personal love that requires a lot of work too.

These hundred poems of love have an appeal to the lovers of new generations as the simplicity of diction and the usage of familiar terms mirror the tackling of love in an upto date manner. In the first love poem of the collection one can mark out poet’s post-moderns thoughts:

You sitting
Like Beatrice Portinari
And I,
Like Dante in church. (1-2)

Another title poem ‘Love is A lot of Work’ is a fine example of common modern modes exhibited in opening verses when we read:

It is irrelevant
That devouring
Medically prohibited
Chocolate pastry
Gave me intense pleasure. (3)

He continues that it is “Immaterial that HBO / Beamed Romantic comedies Like ‘Runaway Brides’ or ‘the daily news channels/ spoke about politicians’ insensitivity…’ but for a lover the thing that torments most is another:
What is of dying importance
Is why
She did not communicate
Today. (4)

Most of the poems carry romantic grandiosity of lovers, fragrance and grandeur of flowers- like hearts of romantics, lyrical elegiac and even silent appeal of longing hearts. These hundred poems are monument of poetic heart of modern poet. The poems are touching to mind and heart of a lover so the present collection will not dishearten the lover of poetry readers and for a serious lover of poetry, Rajiv’s collection will surely appear as a kaleidoscope of modern modes and images that will consequently establish that love is for all ages, time and place.