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Jun 30, 2015

Contemporary Indian English Poetry: Latest Entries

Contemporary Indian English Poetry: Latest Entries
                                                                             ---Dr.Bijay Kant Dubey


We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
 Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;
 
Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
Remember us-if at all-not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.
        ----T.S.Eliot in The Hollow Men

To discuss and deliberate upon contemporary Indian English poetry is not to leave the historical past and legacy, the shaky beginnings of it when the genre made a way for itself in the first quarter of the nineteenth century with the unknown writers and authors trying to understand India or Indian culture and society or the Indians deriving  from cross-cultural syndromes in the spurt of the moments, the wisps and whiffs of British education. To talk to about Indian English poetry is not to come to it directly, as it had not been so, as we are calling it.  Perhaps Indian English poetry is a misnomer to denote it as it connotates not properly. Where’s English, whose English, is the question in askance to be replied. Be sure of it that Indian English poetry had not been Indian, but Indology, Oriental Studies, Asiatic researches, India studies and translations studies. To talk about it is to discuss the presidencies of Calcutta, Bombay, Delhi and Madras and to delve into British administration in India, the opening  of  schools and colleges and hospitals, the courts and other office complexes.

India had not been so, but regressed into darkness, medievalism, as for the years of misrule , loot and plunder of it but the foreigners who kept marauding the spirit of it  did not spare it with their barbaric, blood-thirsty caravans and hordes. The purdah system finished it all what good it was in society and the pushed womankind wept at a corner, hiding the face. Taxshila, Nalalnda, Vikramshila, Odantapuri lay in ruins and we could not write the history of our art and culture and historiography. There was none to save her; feel the emotions  and the Sati system, child marriage, patriarchal preference, all those wreaked havoc which but the British took notice of and tried to bail out of the rampant crisis. A society segregated by caste, class and sect got united  under the British education and the feeling of nationalism dawned upon to add to the fervour. New discoveries and inventions bedazzled them. The railways, the tram, the post-office, the telegraph, the motor car, the watch and all these added to to the melody of life in re-fashioning them. The craze for English education grew it together with the development of the vernaculars and modern Indian languages. The connectivity in terms of dams, bridges, roadways, footbridges, connect ways, cross-overs and fly-overs gave a new dimension to impregnable India of varied and vast landscapes, wooded and hilly.

People describe the history, origin, growth and development of Indian English poetry in a different way, but the things are not so, as because Oriental studies, Indology and Asiatic researches did it more; the translation and rendering of the Sanskrit texts gave a wider scope to the understanding of the East. The West took to notice and started attaching to Indian scriptures and ancient lore rather than missionary zeal shown for expansion. The schools were opened which a few could avail of. Rammohun, Vidyasagar, Ranande, Dayanand and others added to the dimension with their new thinking and idea; the spectrum of vision.

In the midst of all that, against such a background, the bell tolled in India, Derozio learnt and strove to write in English, one of a mixed descent, from the Indo-Portuguese father and the English mother. The things seen by the riverside on the banks of the Ganges at Bhagalpore would have cast an impact on the young and reasonable mind of the poet  and he envisaged all through The Fakir of Jungheera. Michael Madhusudan Dutt went after them, but drew back after taking the native stock in confidence, coming to terms to realization that he must continue in the mother tongue, but his attempts no less than bearing fruits in the writing of The Captive Ladie and other sonnets. His love of Europe and Europeanization took him to foreign and he entered into marriage alliances with foreigners, ate, drank and dressed like the sahibs, but could not feel satisfied. Money-laundering, divorces and other setbacks jolted him for a return. Toru and Kashiprasad and thereafter Manmohan trekked along the unchartered course of it. Sarojini sang like a cuckoo, but the voice stopped it after switching to the politician’s chair. We do not know it if poetry was a mode just to come into power. A Christian convert Toru could find solace finally in the mythical characters of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Bengali culture adapted to irony, doublespeak, artificiality and imitation; theatrical and histrionic attitude can be felt through apart from the Vaishanvite and coastal influences. Something of the opera, of the theatre, of the Krishnalila remained as a residue to be seen all through linguistically.

Even today we speak of Aurobindo’s Savitri and other poems, analyse and interpret them in our courses of studies where it is classified as Indian English poetry portion or special paper containing it, but forget to prescribe and include in K.D.Sethna. There must be something on the Aurobindonian School of Poetry Writing which may be designated as The Pondicherry School too. Even on the moderns the shadows of the pre-1947 and the Pondicherry school poets hang over them whether we accept it or not. Tagore’s influence too can be felt. The visits of the foreigners, airports, exchange of fellowships and company jobs too have given a boost up to it. Had Gandhi, Vivekananda and others not popularized Indian culture, could they have been? Jones, Goethe, Winternitz, Keith, Grierson, Maxmuller, Deussen, Sopenhauer, Thoreau, Emerson and others have themselves given to it and we cannot think of Indian poetry in absence of them. Still now Jayanta Mahapatra’s Relationship is full of echoes from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.

Contemporary Indian poetry in English does not mean it that Jayanta , Daruwalla, are not, as because they too are still writing and contributing to. The word, contemporary  is  a vague term, never ending, ever new. Actually there are three types of poets and poetesses into the realm of Indian English poetry. One is the group propped by P.Lal and his Writers Workshop, Calcutta, another is that of the media-limelight and the Sahitya Akademi winners and the Padma Shris or something like that, another of the self-published . But this needs to be noted in that P.Lal too was a self-published poet. So was Aurobindo as his books arrived from Pondicherry Ashrama. P.Lal too flourished in the negation of the Maharshi, but was not so much successful, as he seemed to be closer to metaphysics.

The post-1947 period writers are actually not the things of concern here as what they had to get have got.  The established writers of today used to send their poems to the editor, C.R.Mandy as for publication in the Illustrated Weekly of India, but the editor had not been totally satisfied with the quality of the verses written by the Indians. Even K.R.S.Iyengar had been disillusioned with as for chartering the course of it and the goals to achieve. Today we call them great. Most of the poets and poetesses whom we see them today are the Writers Workshop, Calcutta products; really a factory of creative writers. Just after seeing the manuscripts of Gieve Patel and Kolatkar, naik said a lot about them in his critical studies. The Bombayans hung they heavy on the critical studies of Naik and the Calcuttans on P.Lal. Nissim too supported it while the rest of India remained cut off from their circle of study so elaborately.

To  think of poetry in the aftermath of Nissim, Lal, Kamala, Daruwalla, Jayanta, Gieve, Arun and so on is definitely a tedious task to be dispensed with as because sidelining them we cannot think of Indian poetry in English and this has become indispensable. But has Indian poetry in English stopped after them; the publication of the slick volume of the ten poets by R.Partharsarthy? Will there be no poets after Nissim and Kamala? One thing  also disturbs us is this that many like to call themselves as Kamalas. What others should have, but instead of they themselves are calling.

Nissim prides over for being a convent-educated boy and this is for he laughs at the patriot’s English, the freedom fighter speaking in, yea, Bapu’s khadi-wearing blunt or dedicated student some of which have just drawn the pension falsely. Some of those jailed were just small boys then without any idea of the freedom movement. The geography department professor too speaks in errantly using broken English. But there is nothing as that can be said of Indian thought, culture and tradition in Nissim. Kamala too is obsessed with sexuality and is mad after sex. She is not a Radha, but a false Radha.

What it pains us most is this, while writing critical papers, I.K.Sharma, D.C.Chambial, T.V.Reddy, P.C.Katoch, R.K.Singh, they even like to say about themselves which is but a trend of ours and of which none is an exception though we know it man is born selfish by nature cannot be contradicted. Even M.K.Naik has talked about his poetry in his latest critical study as R.Parhthasarathy has in the anothology.

A.C. Sahay, Narenderpal Singh, Krishna Srinivas, V.S.Skand Prasad, Kulwant Singh Gill, Hazara Singh, Simanchal Patnaik, Har Prasad Sharma, Maha Nand Sharma, Pronab Kumar Majumder, Manas Bakshi,Ravi Nandan Sinha, O.N.Gupta, R.R.Menon, I.K.Sharma, Niranjan Mishra, D.H.Kabadi, Baldev Mirza, I.H.Rizvi, Madan Lal Kaul, R.V.Smith, Shiela Gujral, S.C.Dwivedi, Amar Nath Dwivedi, T.V.reddy, R.K.Singh, I.K.Sharma, H.S.Bhatia, Romen Basu, P.C.Katoch, Vijay Vishal, Kedar Nath Sharma, D.C.Chambial, Anil K.Sharma, I.H.Rizvi, Charu Sheel Singh, Syed Ameeruddin,  Stephen Gill, etc. are the poets of the new age and the new times which one may confront and contradict too, but the thing is not that the major poets have been left behind and the journal poets have been highlighted. This is just to focus upon the current scene which may be helpful from the developmental point of view.

What is more important to be noted is this that Indian English poetry is a study in slender volumes and minor poets. The authority is unavailable and we judge it on the basis of Sahitya Akademi and Padma Shri and Padma Vibhushan awards given to the writers, how can it be? It is such a realm where the poet too is a no-man and the critic too a no-man and the literature an exchange between the two no-men. Even the Sahitya Akademi awards given to Indian English poets from 1981, be that . Generally, the small poets and poetesses turned to the editing of literary journals like to indulge in muttual admiration and self-praise which is but harmful to any creative literature and this can be marked today. For the Career Advancement Scheme, the journals can be upgraded by asking  them to be indexed, referred and refereed and peer-reviewed. The research scholars and the teachers are equally after the Academic Performance Index score, calculating in terms of points, a business world map to be struck, a promotion to be enjoyed. Numbers have to be in the quantitative, not the qualitative to make a way for. The sly will run so as usual, just  beyond the catch of law as for the lapses of it.

R.R.Menon, K.V.Murti, O.P.Bhatnagar, I.K.Sharma, are the poets who appear on the sidelines of critical papers, but have evolved in due course of time. I.K.Sharma has promoted himself too in the exchange journals while the others have not been attended so much.

R.R.Menon is quantitatively as well as qualitatively strong enough. Ode to Parted Love and Other Poems (1958), Dasavatara and Other Poems (1967), Seventy Seven (1973), Straws in the Wind (1973), Shadows in the Sun (1976), Grass in the Garden (1978), Heart on a Shoe-String (1978), Pebbles on the Shore (1980), Poems (1985), Sounds of Silence (1993), etc. are the books of his poems. Most of the poetry-volumes of R.R.Menon have arrived from Writers Workshop, Calcutta, but fame did not go in his favour well.

Just a poem named Radha And Krishna will suffice to do it:
The proclamation of your intense love
keeps me prisoner. Like Penelope I weave
my dark tensions in the eye of light, and wait.
You, an unfettered swinger ever on your toes,
live on sixteen hundred and eight hopes your toes,
among many more uncounted, all led astray
by lilting tunes you turn your flute to play.

Anger makes you crimson and the rose
is shame-struck. What do you really propose?
Mind it is that matters, no matter what the mind
can’t see. Every moment sees us both combined.
I am that universal feeling set afloat
in hearts so pure like yours as they row the boat
alone. Music moves them, and the wave image
of seas that envelope endures. Only in its umbrage
they conjure up some passing selfish thought.

The pin-holes make from a monochromatic source
on wave-lengths of love images of immense force.
(Straws in the Wind, R.R.Menon, Writers Workshop, Calcutta, 1973, p.12)  

Om Prakash Bhatnagar has Thought Poems, 1976, Feeling Fossils, 1977, Angels of Retreat, 1979, Oneiric Visions, 1980, Shadows In Floodlights, 1984, The Audible Landscape, 1993 and Cooling Flames of Darkness, 2001 to embolden his stance as a poet.

I.K.Sharma had not been so, but has come of age and has evolved. His progress had been very slow, moving at  a snail’s pace he has reached the height. To talk about him is to describe irony, humour and satire. The Shifting Sand-dunes, 1976, The Native Embers, 1986, Dharamsala And Other Poems, 1993, Camel, Cockroach, and Captains, 1998, etc. are his thinner collections of poems.

H.S.Bhatia has more than three collections of poems, The Necklace Wild, The Burning Petals and The Music Comes. He is rooted into the soil; society and its problems are the things of his poetry. He is earthly and direct to the grassroots level. Social consciousness, reality and concern are the things of his poetry.

K.V.S.Murti who had been from Vishakhapatnam was concerned with wit, metaphysics, logic and fact . Something as syllogism destroys the beauty of his poetry. Allegory of Eternity (1975), Triple-Light (1975), Sparks of the Absolute (1976), Spectrum (1976), Symphony of Discords (1977), Araku (1982) and others of his can be mentioned in this context.

Dwarakanath H.Kabadi is without any doubt a major poet whose flickers flick it all with its dazzle and glow, patterned like the haiku, but without the punctuation marks inserted in, which is but his major contribution to Indian poetry. A Kannada-speaking auditor by profession, he has done marvels which the words fail to put in. He is a compendium of thought, idea, image and reflection; a store-house of information.  

Let us see a few from Kabadi’s book of flickers:

a wandering gypsy girl
gathering butterflies
for her memory garden 
(Rye On The Ravines, Poets International Organisation, Bangalore, 1985, p.107)

her dimples
so cute and  deep
ripples in a lotus pond (Ibid, p. 115)

that typist clattering
on thought board
mistakes mistakes and mistakes (Ibid, p.137)

Maha Nand Sharma who used to teach at Meerut University has given to us The Pageant of Seasons (1956), Flowers and Buds (1984), A Rudraksha Rosary & Other Poems (1987), Scattered Leaves (1991), A Spiritual Warrior (1991), Divine Glimpses (1996), Gushing Streams (1996) and Flowering of a Lotus (1998), Autumn Strains (2004). The poet fails to strike through his smaller poems, but delves deep in the poems of the epical format dealing with Indian thought, mythology and our ancient lore.

Pronab Kumar Majumder, a bureaucrat writing poems in English and Bengali,has tried his hands  at all sorts of writing, ranging from poems, short stories, short novels to one act plays. This he has accomplished through editing his journal, Bridge-in-Making, published from Calcutta and the publications brought out. Pronab’s poetry is a time bomb dropped, heat and dust ruffling it all, storms gathering and crows crying, everything but full of hullabaloo and pandemonium. Kalpurusha is his protagonist, the Age Persona, the Time Keeper. Time Mechanical and Time Cosmic come under the purview of his delineation very often and he derives from to dwell far. The wrist watch, the tower clock and the alarm, the daybreak, the midnight and the twilight too supplies the poetic notes and hints to him symbolically.

Dialogue With Time, Replies of Time, Life And Eternity, In The Ruins of Time, Creating Killing Cosmic Time, Where Time Is Dead, OnTime UnTime, Time Never Returns to Console and Other Poems, Sparkles of Time, My India: Through The Corridor of Time, Where I Is A Noun, Faces of Love, Passage to Peace, Random Poetry, Sundown Poetry & Other Poems, Haiku Fair, Dialogue with Rimi, Poetry House, Adieu: Dear Rimi, etc. are the collections of poems. Pronab has a great love for Rimi working as a home keeper, a saleswoman or a beautician; an air hostess, a media anchor or a manager, but speaks she very sweetly. Rimi is his heartbeat and pulsation of busy, fast and active life. Wearing the goggles, smiles she sweetly at the plaza while taking pizzas. At the bus terminus and the airport, she can seen waiting for to catch the bus or to take the fight. Boarding the train goes she to attend her office duty and work, returns back to in the evening to attend to her family work and this is none but the guts of Rimi to adorn life in such a way. Poetry House too tells of the poetry stock and store of Pronab, we mean the book depot of his. Even at the haiku fair, not in Japan, but in India, he makes his presence felt and registered. Rimi: An Endless Poetry, Poetry: Contemporary And Classical are the latest entries. The pace of life; the rhythm of speech at least can be felt in modern life and its expression. The poet searches for the sun dial of William Hazlitt.

I.H.Rizvi appears on the scene with Falling Petals (1975), Unfading Blooms (1984), Thirsty Pebbles (1986), Wandering Fragrance (1989), Wounded Roses Sing (1993), Snowflakes of Dreams (1996), Gathering Broken Glasses (1997), Clouds In Cages (1999), Fettered Birds (2002), Dripping Wounds (2004), Love Never Dies (2005), Haiku & Other Poems (2005), The Valley Still Blossoms (2007), Bleeding Flowers (2009) and others added to from time to time. Rizvi’s romanticism can be viewed in his use and application of scenic and thematic penetration. He is a poet of love and its lyricism, fancy and imagination.

Though a poet of the romantic trend and tenor, T.V.Reddy is closer to the latter-day romantic poetry and the Victorian mode of reflection and brooding. Something of Cowper and Goldsmith is in him and these can be marked in the dictum, man made the town, God made the country and the portrayal of the village master. A poet of pensive memories, broken rhythms, melting melodies, fleeting bubbles and raining grief, he is sad, gloomy, forlorn and dejected describing the things under the fall of the twilight. Heart-broken and love-lorn, he takes to the course of his own as per his melody’s sake.

Kulwant Singh Gill is definitely a master poet of symbolism and the symbolical use which one can feel it while perusing his poetry volumes. A poet of the Punjab, and that too Ludhiana, he tells of his native land, the problems of the country, love and terrorism in a free-flowing language. The verve and worth of his excellence can be felt only after reading his narrative poems, often telling  some muted in stories with flow and ease. Kulwant Singh Gill’s  Scattered Beads, 1989, Beyond the Spectrum, 1990, Passionate Pilgrim, 1994, Thus Spake Punjab, 1999, Saint Soldier Supreme:  Guru Gobind Singh, 1999  and others are enough to tell of his trials with poetry.

Simanchal Patnaik, a Senior Subordinate Judge, who had been from Berhampur, Orissa excelled in writing the verses for the occasions. Mainly events, happenings and news items formed the crux and base for his poetry. A few of his solid texts are voluminous and bulky enough. Delightful World of Poems (1982), Bedroom Poems (1986),  Sonnets & Other Poems (1989), Poetry in Tranquillity (1991), Poetry of Himalayan Wisdom (1995), Queen of English Poetry (1999), Gems of English Poetry (2003), etc. can be counted. To him, poetry is but a book of general knowledge and the poet a reader of it. A newspaper reader, he is a converter of news items.

Sarbeswar Samal who used to teach at Ravenshaw College, Cuttack is also a poet of note and distinction. My India And Universe, Blossoms of Heart, Where Shall We Turn? and others as his volumes of poesy tell of love, beauty, patriotism, pilgrimage and temple towns.

Narenderpal Singh who got the Sahitya Akademi award for his Punjabi novel Ba Mulahaza Hoshiar in 1976 has also brought out a few collections of poems in English from Writers Workshop, Calcutta. Narenderpal is very funny and loveful. He can lure and tempt and can crack jokes upon. Charitable blood-donors are one such example while the other of the pundit sprinkling the Ganga water for the cure of a boy in high fever.

Romen Basu, a writer of novels and short stories, is a UNO official so it is  quite natural that the things of elsewhere, the round the globe will make inroads into the thematics of his poetry, tending to us beautifully. Romen’s poems remain dotted with the description of different cultures, climes and etiquettes, variegated and varied in tone and tenor. Gliding on Silent Waters, The Unquiet Waves, The Surrendered Self, Wings at a Distance, Committed Footprints, are the books of his poems to consolidate his position as a verse writer, but the critics had not been kind enough to him .

Kedar Nath Sharma with Song of Life, 1989, The Whiff, 1991, Our Ancient Orchard, 2001, Raceme, 2003, Paradise Returned & Other Poems, 2014 and others has come a long way to carve a niche for himself in the domain of Indian poetry in English. Sometimes his language turns turtle.  A poet from green and mountainous Himachal, he sings of the hills, dales, vales and the wilds, mystical and shadowy, lurking in beautifully.

Onkar Nath Gupta’s Lilacs in Lab appeared in 2001, Mosaic of Love And Legends in 2005, Prism of Poetry in 2011, Spilled Feelings in 2014 and others tell of his fine mixing of satire with mythology. He is down to realities and can regale well. Onkar Nath Gupta has several collections of poems to recreate out of irony, humour and satire. Society is the field of his attraction and delineation.

Vijay Vishal’s Speechless Messages appeared in 1992 and Parting Wish too from Writers Workshop, Calcutta in 2001. The poet means to say that the poems may be speechless messages, transmuted, but expressive enough to hint to. Why does modern man love cacti so much, why does he like to exchange it now-a-days? What it ails our society comes under his purview of description. The death of wife comes to him as a shock and he strikes down with Parting Wish in the Elizabethan style of writing, a tribute to the dead and departed soul.

Stephen Gill as an Indo-Canadian has The Dove of Peace, The Flowers of Thirst, Songs For Harmony, Divergent Shades and others to talk of peace, humanism, love and friendship. Sometimes it appears that he sheds crocodile’s tears and the peace he talks of is impossible which the warring nations and races will not take to understanding.

P.K.Joy too has The Final Goal, For A More Beautiful World, Forced Smiles and others as his volumes of verse to make us burst into a laughter. Bubbling humour draws our attention. There is something of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s  Art of Living in him, not sure of whether he has or not, but the elements seem to be soothing the tensions of life, its unnecessary and unwanted cares and anxieties.

P.C.Katoch as a poet goes after Matthew  Arnold, T.S.Eliot and the other moderns. Mainly narratives form the base of his poetry. The loss of value and tradition can be felt in his poetry. Arnold’s poetry as the criticism of life  and Eliot’s emphasis on tradition and individual talent form the crux of Katoch and his poetry. He searches for meaning in life and it is really inspirational to go through his literary ventures, endeavours put down for analysis.

Amarendra Kumar who hails from Hajipur, Bihar is a poet who often likes to draw from the modern masters of British poetry. Phonetics is his love, but it does not show any sign elsewhere in his poetry. The Real Episode (1981), Sound and Shell (1986), Stage Dilemma (1988), Song/Anti-Song (1996) and others are the books of poems.

Baldev Mirza who used to edit Skylark from Aligarh was very artistic and full of imagination. Buddha had been the love of his which he turned into his poetic theme too. Shall I speak out, Words on Fire, Buddha My Love, Across the falling snow, When the stars ache, Theatre of Silence and others are the slim volumes of his  poesy.

Vatsyayana’s Kamsuttras are the source of inspiration for R.K.Singh and he derives from Khajuraho, Konark and others. The sculptures in love and erotica are the things of the poet which he loves so much as did love Kamala and D.H.Lawrence. R.K.Singh is  spiritually sick and his is a story in paradise lost, a study in temptation, the fall of man resulting in the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the garden of Eden. Rajneesh, Freud and Lawrence seem to be his mentors. Sambhoga to samadhi is the substance of his poetry. But Singh should know it that sexual bliss cannot give permanent joys.   

Syed Ameeruddin’s Visions of Deliverance and Visioned Summits tell of the poetry of love and its vision. The aesthetic and metaphysical sides of love are there in his poetry.

Hazara Singh as a poet is very, very inspirational and hale and hearty enough to tell about life techniques, healthy living and how to keep fit. Generally, freedom fighters, patriots, martyrs and nationalists form the company of his to partake his experiences of life. The struggle for freedom, India’s liberation from the shackles of slavery and the ruthless Tommy is the thing of his reminiscence and recreation. But the historical point is not in him, just the Baconian and Russellean epigram and wisdom take the space of his poetry.

Madan Lal Kaul as a poet is of the godmen and religious verses as those by Rossetti and Herbert, Newman and Hopkins are. A disciple of the Sai Baba of Puttaparthi, he is a poet of spiritual progression of soul and the divine journey of life.

D.C.Chambial who has Broken Images, The Cargoes of Bleeding Hearts & Other Poems, Perceptions, A Cobweb of Words, Gyrating Hawks & Sinking Roads is societal, romantic, caustic, romantic and artistic. Words convey, trap and glisten as gossamers; cobwebs in the sun with the dews hanging onto. The forays into the realms and domains of consciousness are penetrating no doubt and he here he is very adept in handling them.

Manas Bakshi imprints and impresses with his shorter, but long-lasting poems, just as the blocks of thinking. He says little and it says more is the thing to be felt with regard to Manas and his poetry. Perhaps some artist’s vision is in him; that of a dreamer who keeps dreaming. How the poetic brush and paints of his! Really, the golden boy of contemporary poetry! Long Awaited, In The Age of Living Death, The Welkin is Blue Yet in agony, Of Dreams And Death, From Adam To Myself, Not Because I Live Today, Man of The Seventh Hour, The Midnight Star, Between Flower And Flame, etc. as his representative works can show them the best.  

V.S.Skand Prasad used to edit Samvedana from Mangalore. R.V.Smith who had on the Indian Express too is a poet apart from writing a book on Delhi. The list of the practitioners will not exhaust which is but our history and tradition. Indian English poetry in reality is a study in minor voices and slender anthologies. To read the history and tradition of it is to be lost in the crowds of nameless faces. Quantitatively it is bulky no doubt, but qualitatively it is so weak to be called firm and stable. The poet too is a no-man and the critic too a no-man. Whose priority is it none can say it. The authority is silent.

What it pains us most is this that the researchers visit the house of Jayanta Mahapatra just for a courtesy call, but after visiting him ask for joint photographs and interviews to be kept personal not, but to post on the internet. Many small editors wanting to be poets use their journals as exchange copies for promoting and popularizing each other. Many of the aspirant teachers have just started them as for to vent their dormant wish of becoming reputed poets within a shorter span of time without suffering, struggling and sacrificing for literature.

There was a time when the old-timed, classic-read professors used to frown upon working on the Indian English poetry collections. Sahitya Akademi itself has started giving the award from 1981 and this can show it all. There were no takers or buyers of the theory then and it used to sell not then. Side by side it was also difficult to work for one’s Ph.D. on British stuffs. But when the UGC pressurized upon, the peer teams advised to include in as per the advice of the sympathetic scholars among them, the universities started prescribing them. Even the poems by Tagore or Aurobindo were not in English courses of Hons. and P.G.levels.  The Ph.Ds. done on Indian stuffs used to appear as third-rate dissertations. But when the Ph.D. was made compulsory for career advancement, the dormant teachers too started searching for new and greener pastures. Sometimes a small Indian English prof-poet helps the research student in writing the thesis and that too on his poetry himself and the incumbent too after the award of the degree prides over in being a student of his and starts calling himself or herself a small poet or poetess not, but a great master.

Indian English poetry lacks in classical scholarship and cultural stuffs as most of the contemporary poets and poetesses too hail from city spaces and centres so the urban things hang heavy on them. India whose soul dwells in villages remains cut off from. There is none can enlighten upon Indian thought, culture and philosophy; religion, faith, belief and spirituality; metaphysics, theology and cosmology.

Many like to turn to Indian poetry in English as for cashing cheap popularity and as it is easier to be a poet here rather than in a modern Indian language as there is a tough competition. But it has been seen that a writer of first poems too has changed over into big name. Just a collection is enough to pedal one’s own name and fame.

Sometimes it disheartens us to hear it that the M.Phils. are done on the lesser known poets and poetesses rather than the solid ones. We do not mean to forbid them from getting registered on the new topics as for their dissertation paper, but there should be impartiality in the selection and judgement.

A few poet-profs who have the opportunities of heading the institutions of higher learning have manipulated and manouevred the things in their favour by encouraging to get candidates registered on the friends’ poetry and also by introducing the mediocre colleagues as critics which is but harmful for Indian English poetry. A few journal editor-poets like to edit literary journals just to highlight themselves and it will be quite natural that the varsity professors and research students will like to oblige them by writing articles on their poetry just to please them.  Sometimes the editors write the articles on their own poetry and ascribe and attribute them to distant teachers or subscribers to be published in their names which is very bad for it. The politics of poetry and of the practising poets is strange to be stated. Sometimes, when the mood turns to worse, we want to designate it as a study in poetasters and versifiers. The catalogue of Writers Workshop, Calcutta is not the only catalogue of Indian poetry in English as for bibliography’s sake.

Globalisation, liberalisation and privatisation too have added to the rise and growth of Indian English  poetry. Spoken English, fashion and apparel designing, film and cinema studies, photography, theatrical performances, catwalks, city centres, love marriages and so on have added to life-style and thinking. Had there been not the  television set, the mobile handset and the internet, the things could have been otherwise. Now the world has shrunken to be put on the palm of the hand and information technology can connect even the farthest through its towers. Had it been not, the people from the north after having domiciled in the northeast would not have their best to present themselves as the critics of English poetry from the northeast. Had there been, we would have heard from M.K. Naik and K.R.S.Iyengar. One can definitely translate the oral dialects and its treasure of folk literature. Had there been not the English newspapers, we would have failed in our sentence construction, syntax and vocabulary as for to avoid grammatical lapses and errors. It is also a fact that the Indians may not write well if they mark not the contemporary tendencies doing the rounds in English poetry. Without reading Wyatt, Drayton, Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, Herrick, Marvell, Herbert, Donne, Pope, Dryden, Scott, Blake, Gray, Wordsworth, Keats, Shelley, Byron, Coleridge, Tennyson, Arnold, Hardy, Lawrence, Eliot, Pound, Yeats,  Auden, Bridges, Spender, Mare, Masefield, Hughes, the Indians  cannot begin with their verses.  Inspiration comes from them and it cannot be negated; new thoughts and ideas.  

Today there is a trend that one will not be a poet if one domiciles not abroad, settles not there in foreign countries. To be a poet is to be a diasporan and it is essential for acceptance as a poet otherwise there will be no takers of his or her in India. The other thing is this that one has to beat one’s drum in this world of today if one wants to be in the limelight. Arrange for book releases and launches, parties and live flashes in five-star hotels and there must be some media managers or big authors to cut the silken  ribbon.

Let us see the first stanza from Baldev Mirza’s Theatre of Silence:

I have raised a theatre
                of silence            
with scraps of rags and newspapers
for silence to grow
like a creeper and curl
                around me

All night I sit crying
                for words
frozen on my tongue
                suddenly
headlines begin to rattle
                --murders
-              --rapes
                --bride burning
                --rapid pace of industries
                --people dying of hunger
(Theatre of Silence, Baldev Mirza, Skylark Publications, Aligarh, 2004, p.5)            

The gods of small things they go ploughing the fields of poesy in their own way unsure of what they are going to reap and harvest. The practitioners are many more, but who to catalogue and bibliograph them? What good is it in Vikram Seth God knows only and the media persons? What deal has he struck with them? Why is Tabish Khair famous? Who can but say it? But there was a time when Tabish used to edit a small journal named Rachna from Gaya. Poetry of prizes and competitions or the lottery draws of Kaun Banega Crorepati, believe we not in.

In this world of today, poetry too is turning towards eco-centric notions and theories as it is the need of the hour. How to save Green Earth from climatic change, acid rain, atomic summer and its radiation, environmental pollution and ecological disaster concern us most. Are we really on the brink of extinction depresses us to think about it. Many a flora and fauna is about to be lost; many a species to lose the way, all these the things of our cares and anxieties. So, to be environment-friendly is the talk of the day, be it the domain of economics, commerce, chemistry, history, politics or society.

Another poet Anil Kumar Sharma is like a conglomerate; a gourmet of all, history, politics, culture, materialism, law, jurisprudence, metaphysics and spirituality. A cocktail of all is his poetry pieces, jumbling, dovetailing automatically and breaking, attaching and detaching. What a sadhu or a dhongi, telling of maya and bairagya as well! Sharma’s is a confused poetic diction, perhaps interdisciplinary in essence. But the lapses of law as pointed out by Galsworthy and Housman have not come to us from his pen. Instead of, he does marvels and poetry distils out of his pen.

To sum up, we may take two small poems from H.S.Bhatia’s The Burning Petals, named ‘Ages’ and ‘Justice’ one by one for our perusal:

Ages

I’ve seen
the ages pass---
long processions,
colourful and bloody,
headed by gay musicians,
the tails, long tails,
trailed by sombrous sighs
and doleful depressions.
(The Burning Petals, H.S.Bhatia, Sita Publications International, Khanna, 1983-84, p.36)

Justice

The Burning Petals
will not wait
for the day of doom,
the day of judgement
to get a fair and honest
nod.
They’ll fly right
into your face
to get the things out.
(Ibid, p. 40)

These poets appearing in journals and books too have a diction and pattern of their own seconded by a poetic definition which we can feel after going though their poems.

Manas Bakshi writes very beautiful lines, lyrical and sonorous indeed which can be marked in the poem Substitute :

This is not
Perhaps, the time
I could give you
A red rose of total change—

Instead, I give
The imprint of an age
Poems of love, pain and mortality
Have retained.
( The Welkin Is Blue Yet Again, Manas  Bakshi, Firma KLM Private Limited, Calcutta, 1995,p.7)

There is beauty of art; beauty of style in him and these distil as pure lyrics of love and reflection from his pen. We may take another poem named Bitter-Sweet for our study from the same collection:

Sunrays on a sunflower
Never betray it
With a kiss

But human being does---

Not content with
Whatsoever
Earned or promised!
(Ibid, p.21)

The white horses run past Konark and the Sun-God comes on the chariot  of His drawn by them at dawn break as Jayanta Mahapatra comes to envisage in his relationship with Orissa and its historical past, legacy, myth and mysticism of the land. But Pronab Kumar Majumder as a man keeps marking the score-card and recording the fall of the wicket and the hat. He is a man of time; a poet of time, a registrar of it initialing the deed and the document to say that lands are settled, not measured exactly. The earth is the same, human life and existence so and the sky is the limit, as he has come to grapple with after holding parleys and long, long interesting and boring dialogues with time, sometimes easily passed, sometimes passing they not. Time seems to be his good friend, philosopher and guide,  and counsellor and he a recluse of time. To read him is to be reminded of the bells told historically in Gray’s Elegy, Traherne’s resounding church-bells and so on. Time’s watch he keeps it with him to read and denote. But on the pathway Rimi intercepts and interrupts him while going somewhere in a hurry and he stops to listen to her, how the things going with her, how she maintains it all single-handedly. Together with Pronab we too like to see the modern girl Rimi, smiling and in the goggles, doing ta-ta, bye-bye and going to work as a beautician, a saleswoman, a business manager in the office, but on the return journey a home-keeper hurrying down to see her son and daughter at home. Only in Rimi there is a departure from his as usual theme and it can be seen as a herald of change in his writing style.
  
Just to change the style and the talk, we may take Chambial’s  in Freud’s Horizon how he uses in the unconscious, the subconscious and the conscious reservoirs and layers of consciousness, improvising to be used in for a poetic dip:

Night walks,
snakes writhe, horses run
wild like whales in sea.

Infinite stars
are born and die
in the womb of sky.

Horses
long to gallop through fair
daisies, pansies and lilies.

Dare not
throw pebbles into serene
lake on Freud’s horizon.
 (Gyrating Hawks and Sinking Roads, D.C.Chambial, Kanta Sahitya Prakashan, Maranda, 1996, p. 26)

  To conclude, what else can be better than quoting from and putting  in Torso of A Woman by Nissim Ezekiel as for an artistic vision:

Here it is again,
in colour or in stone,
not the whole woman
but her, ‘torso’:
arms cut off
just below the shoulders,
legs cut off
just below the knees,
unperturbed, for art’s sake.

 I hate it,
however great the image,
Praise the form,
praise the modelling,
praise the dynamic movement
and the complex synthesis
of muscular tensions:
the woman plainly needs
her common arms and legs.



Jun 25, 2015

Adil Jussawalla by Bijay Kant Duibey

Adil Jussawalla (1940-),
Isn’t He Himself The Missing Person That We Are Searching,
Trying To Locate?
BY:
Bijay Kant Dubey

               Ph.D.(D.H.Lawrence), M.A. (English, History & Political Science) 
email: poetbkdubey@gmail.com

Partition's people stitched
Shrouds from a flag, gentlemen scissored Sind.

An opened people, fraying across the cut

country reknotted themselves on this island.

Surrogate city of banks,
Brokering and bays, refugees' harbour and port,
Gatherer of ends whose brick beginnings work
Loose like a skin, spotting the coast,

Restore us to fire. New refugees,
Wearing blood-red wool in the worst heat,
come from Tibet, scanning the sea from the north,
Dazed, holes in their cracked feet.

Restore us to fire. Still,
Communities tear and re-form; and still, a breeze,
Cooling our garrulous evenings, investigates nothing,
Ruffles no tempers, uncovers no root,

And settles no one adrift of the mainland's histories.
           ---- Sea Breeze, Bombay by Adil Jussawalla

Adil Jussawalla who wrote verse intermittently swapping in between journalism and creative writing, career and profession, passionately and being disenchanted with too is perhaps, if we are not wrong, the missing man of Indian English poetry, the no-man, the absentee poet appearing before after a thirty-five year break and it does not mean at all that he did not, but forgot to enter into those scribbles, slips, chits and bits of paper jotted down in a haste, making a fair copy of those, arranging them and sending to press, it was journalism and the engagement to it which perhaps disrupted the progress of his poesy, intercepted him during the poetic ebb and tide and interrupted the flow, as he indulged in the column-writing as was Khushwant Singh of syndicated columns, the master of trivia, serving salt, chutney, sauce and pickle; spicing the things so took he to. While in England as a young man, he wrote down, lay his hands on poetry as did Nissim Ezekiel, taking it to be his future home, but Bombay and its memories like the Dover Beach drew him back and he returned back to India as did Matthew Arnold felt for, as had Wordsworth been attached to Tintern Abbey and Westminster Bridge viewing London. Jussawalla wrote verses, surfaced and went missing; again re-surfaced to register his presence in the literary arena to show that he wrote poetry, did appreciate it and still does he admire it; he has not left contributing too, picking from the past, the forgotten diaries and note-books. A poet Eliotesque and Audenesque, he is a poet of the hollow man , modern man depicted as hollow man, shallow and hollow from his within; a poet of broken statements and jazz lyrics of life. The dull monotony of drab life is the rhythm of his verse; the music of his poetry, all that is in the modern world of urban spaces and his poetic pilgrim went on searching unto like the Chaucerian protagonist of Kolatkar’s Jejuri. The sea fever of Masefield and the stranger looking upon the island of Auden lured  him and he turned to the seaside like Nissim locating the history of the island, the river having changed the course. A missing person, Adil is like the missing fellow of Jayanta Mahapatra.

One from the Parsi quartet, Katrak, Patel and Daruwalla, he is a poet of the urban space writing about the urban people and the landscapes inclusive of the city squares, centres, parks, restaurants, gyms, shopping malls, multi-complexes; airports, sea beaches, resorts, picnic spots; tours, travels, visits; skyscrapers, stories, lifts and life pulsating in flats; theatres, night parties, art galleries and flower exhibitions, we mean modern life and culture, the music of it oblivious of Indian thought, culture and tradition, religion, spirituality and philosophy, metaphysics, theology and cosmology, life-style, mannerisms and ethics though something of it is readily available in him. Land’s End is the first book which appeared in 1962 from Writers Workshop, Calcutta and the matters of it were mostly written in England and Europe. Missing Person is the second work which saw the light of the day in 1976 from Clearing House, Bombay. The Right Kind of Dog is the third work which appeared in 2013. Trying to Say Goodbye published in 2012 is the book for which Jussawalla wins the Sahitya Akademi Award for 2014.

It is really difficult to pick up the poems of Adil Jussawalla, less published, less brought out and even if were they, remaining out of stock. Once even P.Lal too declined to send though he agreed to mail the xerox copies if paid. Similar is the case with most of the one or two-book writers of Indian English verse which but sheds a very poor light, as the critics, readers, editors and referees had been quite disinterested and it did not find favour with, as the matter was substandard, below the mark and qualitatively poor. Most of the poets and poetesses whom P.Lal introduced and we are reading today were not so as they are now. The British-text read older scholars frowned upon working on Indian English verse, a study in slender volumes and minor voices, unavailable and inaccessible, finally traceless, nowhere to be found again. If we go through the first collected anthology and volume of P.Lal, we shall come to notice it how puerile and childish had it been the experimentation with modern Indian English verse! The publishing houses liked it not to publish the poems by the practicing immature poets and poetesses working as derivative copycats, presenting as the parodies of the famous poems in Indian English. Even in the books, we do not find more than the introduction of the missing man. Frankly speaking, Indian English poetry is a study of poems rather than the books of poesy. A Ph.D. on an Indian English poet is a patch-work of matter collected sporadically and the researcher reads not the books, but the stray poems of the author. Who has tried to come up with what Adil Jussawalla actually means or tries to say in his poetry? What is that he seems to be sharing with or wants to communicate to? There should not be any deviation from the main crux of constructive criticism.

Land’s End is the first book of poems which he published at the age of 22. All the poems of Land’s End have been written in England and Europe the collection ends with white peacocks which he saw in Oxford at Merton Street. Geneva is a poem of the place; A Bomb-site Seen from a Railway Bridge is all about an incident. A Letter for Bombay is another poem to relate to Bombay and his connections with it and from it the kernel of Missing Person starts with. As Jussawalla had sailed for England at seventeen so the things started materializing with that in its trail to the culmination reached in Land’s End. Alienation after alienation deepened it inside, the first that of being a Parsi, the second that of the alienated Indian writers’ nuances and rhythms of life. Things generally change they not if nurtured along habitually or inherited so is the case with him, as goes the adage, The child is father of man, another as, Style is man. The same is with Adil Jussawalla what he started in Land’s End remained with him unto the last. The style remains the same, the way of expression. Only the contents have been added in.

Approaching Santa Cruz Airport, Bombay, Nine Poems On Arrival, etc. are from the second collection Missing Person of the poet. Approaching Santa Cruz Airport, Bombay is an oft-quoted poem from the same as are Dover Beach and Home Thoughts From Abroad of Matthew Arnold and Robert Browning. Nostalgic and homesick not, but quite discerning Adil is here returning home as did they, Nissim and Parthasarathy from London and Leeds. Part I scene from the Missing Person is a soliloquy or a monologue of the modern man at a loss and bewildered, with the selves torn apart and discussing. The crisis in soul takes over and he keeps babbling to himself. There is disintegration in Missing Person which has been written intermittently. Missing Person is full of political statements and politics of poetry lies therein.

Sea Breeze as a poem reminiscent of the Partition people; the whirlwind that took over the sub-continent, uprooting and blowing into pieces that came its way. A tornado was it; an upheaval full of convulsions and repercussions. The loss of lives, in terms of casualties was unimaginable as the people were doomed to die just for the lust for power; the chair to sit, the nation was ignored, selfishness was fed with power-grabbing. Sind was partitioned, Punjab was, Bengal was, Kashmir was as were Germany and Korea, one brother from another and the agonies of the Partitioned people the judges and the peace-brokers could never know them resulting in the flux of the huge refugees. People came to Bombay seeking shelter and refuge and Bombay gave to so did Delhi with the camp areas. This is the history of the island that is Bombay where the Longfellowian brothers go about telling of their distant shipwrecks. Similar was the coming of the Tibetan refugees coming in droves in the attire of their own.

The buzz and bristle continues to keep clamouring for; hectic activity continuing as the things do not come to a close in Bombay. The harbours with the ports and posts and dockyards keep receiving the ships sailed for destinations, going or returning and as thus the city keeps busy with. The sea breeze comes and goes, refreshening it all, but unmindful of what it is happening within. Instead of drawing lessons from, still the communities draw the sword in enmity, vengeance or hatred, but settle not the old scores regressing to the background finally. Mankind, torn and battered, seems to be wailing in hiding. It does not need anything, just a few words of sympathy and affection.

The vast expanse of the sea and the breeze blowing over is Nature cool and calm and refreshening while the troubles brewing in adjustment, relationship, amity and settlement the other side of the picture. The poem though Wordsworhtian reminds us of The Peshawar Express of Krishan Chunder, The Refugee of Khawaza Ahmad Abbas and Train To Pakistan by Khushwant Singh. Sea Breeze as a poem is a fine piece of Partition literature rarely to be found elsewhere.

Trying To Say Goodbye is the work for which Adil Jussawalla gets the Sahitya Akademi award for the year 2014 and it is really a rewarding experience to go through the vision and reflection of his poetry. Written as the third poetic venture in 2012, it is a book to be reckoned with, but the same sort is carried forward in the fourth to follow into its footsteps. Adil Jussawalla is trying to say goodbye to poetry, but poetry has not to him. The title poem Trying To Say Goodbye  is about the divorce in the air, but the woman is unable to part ways as for different reasons binding upon is the thing of discussion herein, as the poet reveals it through an interview published in a paper. Her Safe House from Trying to Say Goodbye is a depiction of an aged lady walking down the corridors all alone with the kitchen lying sonless. Eliotesque and Audensesque, he keeps plodding, prodding and ploughing as did Eliot in The Hollow Men and Auden in Look, Stranger. Arnold’s Dover Beach and Masefield’s Sea Fever he cannot forget. The pictures hang over and the images are drawn. A Parsi poet of Bombay his mind can go nowhere except alienation, rootlessness, homelessness, settlement, rehabilitation, diaspora and displacement. A modern poet he has but shallow modernity and sham living to pride over and express. London visits leave him not and he recalls them; the house he has not forgotten though may be corroded with the feeling of alienation and rootlessness which he suffers from. Urdu Lesson and Wahab Sahab are Urdu allegiances which he seems to express it here. Materials as a poem is divided in five and is on objects as they help an artist with clay, cloth, wood, iron and marble. Trying To say Goodbye is not the swan-song of Adil Jussawalla, but the book to widen the horizon and range of his poetry. House, Artist, Clay, View, etc. are very good poems. Somewhere the poet is easily comprehensible, somewhere very terse and complex. People may admire Land’s End, but the music of modernity which he hears them in England is jarring and jazzy enough. 

We do not know it why Adil has given the name, The Right Kind of Dog? Is it that the dogged life he admires it not and recommends for a life with pressure and freedom? The book intended for the young readers or the adults has made a name for the writer. To say it rightly it is more about him than them. The book is a work of childhood and adolescence which the poet is recalling and remembering. William Blake and Thomas Hood keep filling his emotions and making for the loss. The Thoughts of an Eight-Year-Old Girl is actually the internal muttering of a girl when she is asked to eat this or that which she does not like to take at all. Blake’s The Little Black Boy and Shakespeare’s description of the schoolboy in Seven Ages of Man can enlighten on the topic in hand. Adil seeks to draw from the innocence and ignorance as discussed by Blake in Songs of innocence and Songs of experience. It is innocence which but purifies and it is experience which but spoils and spills. A Song of Ekalvya is a very beautiful poem indeed where the poet talks about Ekalavya gifting his thumb to the guru Dronacharya as his guru-dakshina. How was the guru and how the disciple? Compare him with the pupil of today; not a direct student, but an indirect one like Kabir of Ramanand lying on the ghats of Benares to be touched by the feet of the teacher and the words which spelt he after stumbling over, Ram-Ram became the guru-mantra for him to attain perfection, reach the greater heights. On My Feet, The Way I Walked Abroad, A Boy in the Forties: Remembering Andrew Thompson, Two from  British India, Another Dog, Our Poets And Their Inspirations, Imagination, Materials, Fire Temple, Christmas Card, Song for a Seller of Flutes, One-Armed Man, Shoes, Jugalbandi, History Lesson, Greed, Famine And War, Waiting Room, The Good-for-Nothing, After Zebunissa, My Fold-up Poem, etc. are the poems.  On reading his Ekalvya, Chakravyuha and others, we doubt whether Adil himself is not Abhimanyu, Ekalavya or Karna of modern Indian English poetry? The poet sings the dsongs of liberty and freedom in The Right Kind of Dog rather than living a dogged life under the strict obedience and supervision. Greed, Famine and War are like the seven deadly sins or sisters alike. Aurangzeb’s daughter Zebunissa was a poetess which but he himself could not take to in his bigotry and he did imprison her which King Midas too could not have done. The thing included in The Right Kind of Dog is similar to that discussed in Mulk Raj Anand’s Untouchable and Dalit literature. As he is a Parsi so the Partition literature, Dalit literature and the Diaspora dais soothe the poetic self and the psyche of the poet. His ethos and historicity, he has none around him to share with. The language too he has forgotten. So, what is culturally left with him? Imagination is like a glass of rum to him and he journeying seating on the Ship of Liberty. His Irani heart, Zoroastrian soul, he has to lay them bare, but the situations and scenes are different. There is something he opens, something that he hides, suppresses and seals. Poetry and boulders seem to be doing a jugalbandi as both of these have been kept neglected, but are of use no doubt. The pathos of living can be felt in the poem, One-Armed Man, which we keep marking, averting the gaze. Such a sort of depiction it is there in Daruwalla’s Bombay Prayers. The situations and scenes of life are difficult to be said. If Anand is a novelist of the have-nots, the downtrodden and the underdogs, so is Jussawalla here in this collection of poems. But he has perhaps left Daruwalla’s Draupadi and Karna and Nirala’s Indian widow.

In one poem entitled Turning Seventy, he talks of his body a pile of papers left on a bench to be burnt; his body a metal tube of paste, wires and clips. But the breeze in the garden is refreshing indeed to be forgetful of anything that hangs over. Chakravyuha and Eklavya are excellent poems from the pen of Adil which can outdo many an exponent. Such is the verve and relevance of the pieces. Chakravyuha is long and engaging. Colour Problems in the Family is all about the gossips and talks happening within the periphery and circle of a Parsi family, taking migration and domicile into consideration and its reflection over the skin.

As a poet, he is not so prolific, but is still a great modernist, a modern not, going beyond it and its frontiers, as he knows the politics of the language and does it so often, construing and coming across the parallel lines. The feeling of alienation, rootlessness, homelessness ails him as well as adds to his frustration combined with the angst and bewilderment of the age. The identity crisis, whether we accept or not, he feels it, as his Parsi self often twitches for a disclosure, but the riddles of the Partition cannot be loosened so easily as the lust for power had been predominant over and the leaders quarrelled for the chair, not for the country, tried to find favour with rather than giving solace and consolation to the dislocated and dismantled people. The refuge and shelter in India, loss of the mother tongue, the Partition and displacement, are the things of his brooding. A search for identity and tradition combined with a sense of alienation from his own ethos, history ad tradition marauds the poetic self of the poet and he craves for, yearns for all these but in a different format, a modernistic voice appreciating the jazz and blues of modern life and culture seeking through poetic fragmentation and broken rhythm of modern living. Adil’s story of life is one of the shipwrecks marked in Longellow’s A Psalm of Life as he can relate and allude to with regard to the Indian Jews and the Parsis. Marathi or Gujarati is not his mother tongue, but has been adopted and adapted to. He still craves for the Iranian connections and locations unknown and unrelated to, the passage of history through which they slipped and came to seeking shelter and an escape from.

Adil Jussawalla’s English is conversational and journalistic, the modern man’s speech, the nuances and rhythm of the modern speech and language. A poet of Bombay, he is a Bombayan; Bombay the metropolitan capital, the mega city is the poetic canvas of Adil Jussawalla, who himself is a Parsi. Adil thinks that Bombay is a divided city and he himself a divided man.

Adil Jussawalla as a poet vexes us and baffles rather than regaling us with his poetry as his is a poetry of fragmentation and disintegration, the distraction of the self and the dislocation of the psyche rather than a combination in harmony and that he has written to scatter and see rather than enjoining in a whole and that he turned to poetry to disintegrate than to integrate. A Parsi, he could not find his place, the root of nativity and the place of location so turned to the disporan persona as for an analysis and delving. His roots not the roots of nativity, but of dislocation and rootlessness. His myths not the myths of India, but of Persia, missed and recaptured. Historically and mythically cut off, he tells of an alienated saga in a different version of statement and poetic truths.

The other thing too is this that he is a city-dweller, a man from Bombay so the urban spaces of the cosmopolitan town are bound to influence his track of writing, as the poet as a man is a part of that society which he inhabits it, lives in.

Most of the modern English poets and poetesses whom we read them today are but the modern diseased fellows as they continue to suffer from the feeling of alienation, homelessness and rootlessness and Adil Jussawalla is no exception to that. We mean the displaced people continue to hold the microphone set and voice through. In this age of job and employment, leaving ones’ own places and homes, nativity and tradition, the people continue to move on from place to place also contains in statements. But as far as Adil is concerned, he is but a Parsi, would have come to India after a shipwreck as he says about the Jews.

A missing person is one who has disappeared and whose status as alive or dead cannot be confirmed as his location and fate is not known, this is what the encyclopedia says it, but in the case of Adil Jussawalla he went missing after Land’s End and Missing Person, but resurfaced and returned back to with Trying To say Goodbye and The Right Kind of Dog. Contemporary art and things, objects and situations are the properties of his poetry. The old watch, the old radio, the record player, the gramophone, he has not forgotten them. England hangs heavy over him; the days spent in reading architecture, but side by side the English language twitching him for an expression and he catching the nuances and idiosyncrasies of the language in his poetry. Had poetry been otherwise, he would have converted it into the pieces of art and architecture; had it been, he would have taken us to Persia with his understanding of Zoroaster and Zoroastrianism. His wounded psyche and self, none has come to comprehend it, only the passage of time can feel it on the corridors of history, what it is in his mind, what it is in his heart. The word appears as some sort of aberration in him, is an obsession with him and he seems to be searching it, as the search for the lost mother tongue too continues with it at the same time. The father’s Lahore and the mother’s Gujarat too cast an impact of their own seconded by the tales told by the older members of the family. The earlier works show him as a globe-trotter, a no-man on the travels and tours, but the latter trace him landing and stationing at the airport of Bombay and taking a stroll by the sea beaches of it; thinking about Indian karma and dharma. Westernization and Europeanization not, apart from it, the pull of Indianism and the process of Indianization too can be marked in him and it draws him closer to. Language had been his primary love, now the earth behind him seems to be turning with his tuning to literature.

What it is in Adil Jussawalla, it is very difficult to say it as because he is a complex writer of the modern times, not so easily comprehensible and to be laid bare for meaning. Land's End takes him to England and Europe and he imagines of life and times in a private and personal way as a Westerner thinks and imagines, but Missing Person gives some stronghold to him. Again, just like the title he goes missing. Some forget him as a poet; some remember him as for a historical reference. But he resurfaces again for a landmark and comes upon with his Trying to Say Goodbye to be followed by The Right Kind of Dog. A poet of Bombay, he is a Bombay man and his vision dismal and bleak. The house is a motif, a recurrent image of his poetry and he searches for earnestly. A Parsi poet, he suffers from the search for identity no doubt. But his talks of Karna, Abhimanyu, Eklavya give him a sound foothold of own and he returns back to an optimism of own. This is just to embolden his presence and personality with the things like modernity, minority presence, Dalit literature, diaspora dais and Partition literature as all these things continue to nurture his poetic self. In addition to these, alienation, exile, rootlessness, homelessness and the quest for identity take to his canvas. Nostalgia and homesickness corrode the self. The house is a mirage and the historicity of tradition a myth. There as nothing as that to look to in legacy and heritage.

Approaching Santa Cruz Airport, Bombay is a poem of return journey back home, reverberating with home, home, sweet home, there is no place like home. The plane dashing down, approaching and flying closer make him lashed with the memories and images of the churches, popes and their benedictions. The papal configure and conjure up first as it engaged his images all through the way, what he saw in Europe, passing and flying over, drifting to Bombay. A saga of the tryst with the churches, crosses, domes and lashing over, taking the centre space continues to hang on to. But the earth is not that what we opine in our way even though we have made it populous.

The Indian diplomat sitting with him engages him otherwise. This is all what happens midair while reaching Bombay.

But the things take a sensitive turn when the plane seems to be touching down the earth. The homeland imagery and feeling and sensitivity start palpitating, beating and he getting nostalgic ad homesick, ever remembered of his home and the signs and signals around. The heart strikes like the tolling bell. The experiences of air travel from foreign to back home form the base of the poem.


Loud benedictions of the silver popes,

A cross to themselves, above

A union of homes as live as a disease.

Still, though the earth be stunk and populous,
We’re told it’s not: our Papa’ll put his nose
Down on cleaner ground. Soon to receive
Its due, the circling heart, encircled, sees
The various ways of dying that are home.
‘Dying is all the country’s living for,’
A doctor says. ‘We’ve lost all hope, all pride.’
I peer below. The poor, invisible,
Show me my place; that, in the air,
With the scavenger birds, I ride.

Economists enclosed in History’s
Chinese boxes, citing Chairman Mao,
Know how a people nourished on decay
Disintegrate or crash in civil war.
Contrarily, the Indian diplomat,
Flying with me, is confident the poor
Will stay just as they are. 
Birth
Pyramids the future with more birth.
Our only desert, space; to leave the green
Burgeoning to black, the human pall.
The free
Couples in their chains around the earth.

I take a second look. We turn,
Grazing the hills and catch a glimpse of sea.
We are now approaching Santa Cruz: all
Arguments are endless now and I
Feel the guts tighten and all my senses shake.
The heart, stirring to trouble in its clenched
Claw, shrivelled inside the casing of a cage
Forever steel and foreign, swoops to take
Freedom for what it is. The slums sweep
Up to our wheels and wings and nothing’s free
But singing while the benedictions pour
Out of a closing sky. And this is home,
Watched by a boy as still as a shut door,
Holding a mass of breadcrumbs like a stone.
              ---- Approaching Santa Cruz Airport, Bombay

Adil Jussawalla’s is elite poetry, for the intelligentsia, beyond the comprehension of the common readers as he writes about dislocation and displacement, exile and alienation, diaspora and Dalit literature, homelessness and rootlessness, quest for identity and shelter. A search for home ever continues in him which but the fanatical people cannot. How were they driven out of Persia, how were they out of Iran? How had it been the heyday of Zoroastrianism? Has one come to feel it? Now just the Gujarati or Bombayan connections making up for and he is convalescing in that company, holding parleys with. A Parsi poet of some Parsi historicity and reflection, which but cannot be relegated to the background, he is a modern poet of the contemporary times, one of the urban space and of broken rhythms of life; a modernist or a post-modernist from Bombay. His music is the music of modernity, urbanity and city centres, the jazz turning blues and vice versa, the music of the modern hollow men hollow and shallow from within, the people of the urban space gasping for breath and outing. The modern hollow man is the protagonist of his creating and recreating out of this predicament. Just the tidbits dotted by travels and tours intersperse his verses. Sometimes it means it not what he means to communicate as broken rhymes, broken rhythms continue to carry on the music of his verse. Instead of our unwillingness to take up modern Indian English verse, we get accustomed to such a reading as we cannot discern modernity and its music of living.
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