Book Reviews

C.L. Khatri: For You to Decide

Khatri, C. L. For You To Decide, Authorspress: New Delhi, 2016

C. L. Khatri is a senior Professor in the field of English Literature, Hailing from Bihar. Currently he is teaching in Department of English, T. P. S. College, Patna. For You To Decide (2016) is his fifth poetry anthology of the bilingual poet after Kargil (2000), Ripples in the Lake (2006), Two-Minutes Silence (2014), Goolar Ka Phool (Hindi: 2011). He is a prolific writer and has published 20 books of literary criticism. He has won Michael Madhusudan Academy Award for his poetry anthology Kargil due to its sensitive issue of Kargil war and its impact on people and the families of soldiers.

For You To Decide is a collection of 51 which he has dedicated to his father. The poems in the anthology are on myriad themes of vital importance in the contemporary scenario. The very first poem, ‘Mask’ is symbolic in nature, as the lines from the poem indicate:

I was tired of wearing you
changing you as I had changed clothes
for different days and ways

It seems that poet is talking about failed relationship. In his next poem, ‘Flames Within’ he is comparing himself with a candle giving it a metaphysical touch. He has dedicated his poem, ‘Mission Mars’ on India’s achievement in Science by the successful launch of MOM comparing it with Mother due to its typical name of ‘mom’. As he says in the following lines:

Every mom and mom’s son are
rejoicing at MOM’s success
I am not blasphemous
I congratulate all ISRO, VSRO, NASA, VASA

By writing this poem, he has celebrated the success of Indian science & technology giving a message to the world that we are lagging behind in Science.
The poem, ‘Unresolved Sensations’ is mystical in tone and ‘Love’, ‘Genesis’, ‘Muse’, ‘Waiting For a Vishnu’ are mythical poems. Some poems are in a form of dreams; Sometimes I Dream, Suck My Sap, I Kissed a Fish, Hundaroo Waterfall

Being a sensitive person, he is conscious of various issue relating India and world and has expressed his concern in poems like, ‘Deluge of Development’, ‘Statistics of Suicide’, ‘Writing a New Ramayana’, ‘Drama of Death’. While he has taken up the issue of farmer’s suicides in some states of India like Chhatisgarh, Odisha and Bihar. As he says:

“Had it been so” one countered,
“Chhatisgarh, Odisha, Bihar
would have outnumbered the South
in statistics of suicide.

In ‘Deluge of Development’ he talks about various developments taking place in the world and their impact on this world. ‘Writing a New Ramayana’ and ‘Drama of Death’ is on Akhlaq issue.

He has dedicated poem, ‘Statue of Liberty’ to America and ‘We Cherish What We Inherit’ is about one’s love for his history.

Poet has firm belief in God which can be seen in poem, ‘I Have God’ and in ‘Religion’ he has shown respect for all religions. In the end adding more colours to the anthology he has written some Haiku poems which are very popular in the contemporary scenario.

The Poet has used many metaphors like, “clothes”, “wardrobe”, “masks”, “candles”, “horse”, “springboard”, “white beard”, “static magistrate”, “polling booth”, “mechanical tool”, “Swati bird”, “Brandie”, “shadow”, “river”, “smog”, “sandwich”, “squeezed mango”, “shawl”, “balm”, “boat”, “flag” and some others defining various feelings and themes and exhibiting his poetic skills.

Khatri is considered as a careful craftsman by critics who sometimes depict philosophical musings on life and another time he sketches satirically contemporary India. In his verses he has exhibited his love for his land, people and culture. His poems reflect his attitude towards humanity as he considers entire universe as his home. He has touched various issues of everyday concern beginning from personal to national, from physical to metaphysical meanderings.


More by :  Dr. Shamenaz Sheikh

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