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Nitin Soni's The Broken Boat
|by Bhaskaranand Jha Bhaskar|
The Broken Boat (A Collection of Poems)
Nitin Soni’s The Broken Boat is a collection of 35 new poems. Known as ‘The Curly Poet’ and honored with the title of ‘Most Popular’ (at Delhi University), Nitin is a poet, storyteller, script writer and social worker who feels the pulse of the people in streets and countryside. Dr. Sukrita Paul Kumar, Poet, Critic & Academician has rightly called him 'a budding poet who is bound to blossom and flower'. The Broken Boat ferries away to the shore the fragmented sensibility of the weaker sections of society grappled with a variety of issues - social, moral, personal, familial- ranging from poverty, racism, hunger, identity, frustration in love, failure of the system to gender inequality, and woman’s plight. He has tackled all this issue with a touch of social and political realism. Some poems are lamentation over the loss of ethical and moral, human values. The poet also cries out (at) the dehumanized and devitalized nature of man in modern times. Agonized sensibility of woman has found a hyped-up demonstration in Nitin’s poetry which is concerned more with modern man and pressing problems around him. True, ‘this is a sentimental ride which reflects our society.’
His love for humanity and sympathy for the beggarly people gets reflected in the followings lines taken from the poem “ Do you Know”:
Nitin is a poet of love and romance. Wonderful image of romance and love is well depicted in his poetry. He, in the poem " Do You Know", avers :
Most of his poems in this collection are woman-centric. His sympathy with woman is recurring themes of his poetry. He is saddened to see the plight of woman in society. The treatment meted out to her is appalling and demoralizing. Killing of a girl child is a social stigma on the face of humanity. “Womb-to-Tomb” a poignant poem that presents a pathetic condition of a womb that meets its tomb even before it sees lights of the day-
The poet conveys the sad saga of an unborn girl child through his sensitive poem “Say No to ‘Abortion’” Which unmasks our misogynistic attitude:
His poetry is in fact a universal appeal for uplifting her uplift and overall betterment. He vehemently criticizes the killing of girl child. At the same time in the poem dedicated to “To A Girl”, he also highlights the killer instinct of woman to rise up like a phoenix:
Woman may be an ‘innocent creature’ who can dance ‘gleefully on melodious songs’, with no words but ‘the pain and agony’. However, she is a woman of substance who can fight all odds of life with great aplomb. That’s why the poets reproduces her proclamations and firm determination in his poem “She Speaks Tears”:
The poet in him is vocal about while seeking honor and basic rights to be bestowed on her. Some of such poems are – Blind Girl, Womb-to- Tomb, To a Girl, Oh, Ugly Woman, Poor Mother, Black Woman, Even She, I saw her in my eyes, She Speaks Tears, Laali, etc.
In another poem “Even She”, he presents a loveless side of man’s heart and mind where lustful obsessions have taken a permanent root for the satisfaction of his carnal desires. He takes the side of a ‘whore’ and brings to light the lustful attitude of man:
Woman is mother. Her motherly ethos is what makes her complete that supplements the cycle of humanity- a continuum of creation. Her children are her world. She can sacrifice her life for their sake, not to talk of selling her body. She has to adjust herself between marital and sexual responsibilities. The poet has thrown sufficient light on the darker side and the plight of a prostitute who has to take of her customers and children alike. He makes us peep into her life which is like ‘an old dying and defeated boat’:
The poet criticizes all those men who regard woman as an object of desire. His resentment and antagonistic attitude to such men can be witnessed in lines of ‘Oh, Ugly Woman!” which contains the elements of womanhood that makes her greater than any other creations of God. The poet’s weapon of circumlocution for making fun of man is superb:
He holds religion responsible for the sad plight of woman and takes religious community to task. With a very witty and gritty of expression, he tries to make fun of ‘religious scholars’ who make a great hue and cry over a trivial pertaining to woman. The triviality of this issue is expressed in the following lines of the poem “Of Religious Scarf”:
In his poetry, he depicts a very sad picture of woman in distress. His poem “Poverty’ is such a serious documentation of sad end of a woman’s life. She is sexually, physically and emotionally exploited and subjected to prolonged tortures and then brutally killed. He cries out-
The questions of so-called scholars as to ‘who took off your scarf?’ and whoever will be killed’, meets an eye opener when the girl replies that it was the window who had taken off her scarf.
In the same poem he makes fun of the concept of “Incredible India”. He is critical and satirical of the moribund system prevailing in India. He leaves us baffled with the question put to-
In his poetry, there is mixture of sense of loss and sudden realization. He makes a wonderful juxtaposition between romantic fantasies and reality. Apprehension in love is well reflected. He as a lover seems to be under constant fear, fear of losing his beloved to some other person.
However, realization dawns to him in the long last and he comes to terms with the reality and this is what leads to the positive and sanguine conclusion of the poem “Dusk and Dust”. He gives a noble dimension and orientation to his love. He shifts his focus from the physical beauty and love to the metaphysics of love. He feels the companion of his soul along the insightful journey of his life. With inspiring succor so mustered, he feels ecstatic as he is ‘going to meet my creator!’
His poetry also contains melancholic and poignant strains. Patches of pessimism are palpable in some of his poems. He is saddened to see that ‘Scholars of medicines’ have ‘ruptured frailty’. ‘Feelings of bereavement’ surge in the atmosphere of festivity as “lovers celebrate the death of love’. In the poem “Strange Lover”, he laments death of love –
However, he adds a very unique dimension to his bereavement. Since in the celebration of his love’s death, his tears are not welcomed, he gets philosophical and brings about idiosyncrasies of reconciliation when he accepts-
In short, Nitin’s The Broken Boat is a poetic endeavor to sail through quagmire of social and familial evils, with observation and realization, irony and satire, furrowing the world with feministic perspectives either side, leaving behind the foams and tides for the readers of poetry to get a feel of his feelings and intensity of emotions. Human predicament, utter negligence of the individuals, isolation and alienation of the self, perversion, nerve- shattering experience, minute observation of life etc find a realistic treatment in his poetry, mostly compressed in a feminine voice and that is very unique of his writings.
“The Broken Boat” is sure to lead the readers to explore the layers of consciousness after sailing through the quagmire of myriads of social and moral evils, and personal and impersonal depravities and abnormalities.
(An abridged version of this review was published in Asian Signature, Third Volume,No 2, (August) 2016)
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