Book Reviews

Musing on Man and Millennium

Musing on Man and Millennium
Poet - Sankari Prasad Sarkar,
Publisher: Authorspress India
ISBN: 9789387651784
Pub. 2018, Rs. 250/-

Musing on Man and Millennium is the third collection of English poems by Sankari Prasad Sarkar, a septuagenarian poet, “a path breaking poet of the present millennium writing poems of the present genre”, whose first anthology of poems “For You" (2013) and "Songs of Man and Millennium" (2014) have ‘earned acclaim from poetry lovers and readers’ across the world. Sankari Prasad Sarkar is a millennium poet of modernism genre writing lyrical poems with panache for man and the third millennium. As a matter of fact, his poems are remarkable for imbibing ‘scientific sense with poetic presence compatible with the present time’. There is a fine blend of scientific temperament and poetic sensibility in his poetry marked with apt use of immaculate diction creating soothing cadence.

The thirty five poems as showcased in Musing on Man and Millennium, are well-coated with his churned-out ruminations and contemplative musings on various contemporary issues, metaphysical aspects of human life and sprawling meadow of his lived moments and experiences hued with the rainbow of emotions, warmth of thoughts- paradigmatic and applied- with perfect unification of his scientific temperament and spiritual yearning. The anthology under review deals with themes of God, prayer, religion and science, history and civilization, time, nature, life, dream, racism and humanism, millennium ills and problems and endangered human existence. The poet aptly covers contemporary subjects and themes, especially millennium ills and conscientiously offers solutions to personal, universal and humane failings and failures.

The book opens with his “Candid Confession”. He poses questions to God describing Him a bestower of favor on some and ‘a dispenser of death’ for others. However, the poet takes no interest in this cosmic game of His and feels happy with what he is. He is ‘happy with the world and people’ and serving humanity. Praises apart, he expresses:

Confess I must
as I hold you in trust.
As I admit always,
In my heart
as a precious part
of a united human family.
That’s my only homely.

“A Silent Whisper I didn’t Hear” reveals both his mental state and eternal longing of merging with Him by getting connected with ‘people and the crowd’ and being ‘a part of the multitude’. He doesn’t believe in escaping from the society but facing all social realities and serving the people living in. Indeed, he exemplifies through his uplifting thoughts the maxim: service to humanity is service to God. He feels a divine whisper:

You tell me to merge
and the need to emerge 
from the shell of success
and strive to access
or aim higher for self-actualization
but without obsessive addiction.

The poet’s sympathy for the poor and the helpless is well articulated in some of the poems. He feels aggrieved to see the people in distress. In “A Wishful Prayer”, he prays to God:

Let no child be orphaned
Let no woman be widowed
Let no mother lose her children
Let no father bear the pain.

His heart is filled with so much generosity and compassion that he pleads to God to spare these people and subject him to these sufferings:

If at all anyone should be,
then let that one be me-
one who shares all your prayers
and stands steadfast in silent tears.

His poetry champions the cause of humanity in all respects, advocating the oriental philosophy "Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam:. He is totally opposed to the divisive and dangerous practice of racism, religion and communalism. With universal outlook, he is a staunch supporter of humanity and strongly relives in unification of the people across the world for global harmony and peace. In the poem" Racism, Religion and Humanism", he proclaims:

If somebody asks me of my religion
I would politely say, "I am a human
bound by no bias, frontier or plan."
Let me breathe free of racism, ritual
or raucous rationale.
Let me silently work for a human family
united and global.

Sarkar's poetry is remarkable for reflecting his deep love for nature and a keen sense of beauty. He is of the opinion that the beauty of life and nature lies in 'sensing things, places and people and this ushers in our happiness."Beauty of Life" is a suggestive poem exploring this beautiful aesthetic philosophy of life. He suggests:

Be lively.
Look for the lovely
places, things and persons
and try to sense
the live's essence, 
as happiness is the key 
to life and their lies the beauty.

As a poet of ecological consciousness he ponders over glaring issues of contemporary times: global warming and depletion of water. Needless to say, pollution has defiled the beautiful landscape of the world. Global warming poses an alarming situation in the world. Many of his poems are reflective of his ecological concerns. In the poem "Go Greener" he hints at apprehension of 'troubled future existence' and hence advocates and calls upon for ecological balance for green ambiance for better living. He makes a sardonic and caustic remark on contemporary living or life styles:

Unmindful of the ecosystems devastated day by day 
we want to have our way
to cluttered concrete cluster called cities 
inhabited by lifeless man with amenities 
heavily dependent on systems, skills and intelligence 
with depleting solace of rejuvenating greener ambiance.

His poetry is a perfect blend of his scientific outlook and profound ideas of philosophy and spirituality. Physics and metaphysics find a brilliant articulation in some of his poems. The following lines from the "Hold I am God" reveal his scientific- spiritual-philosophical viewpoints on the 'cosmic game' of life:

In the beginning I was a singularity 
a dense point mass and non-entity.
In my singular journey 
mired in monotonous agony 
I decided for a break 
with a big bang and proactive proliferation 
you called creation.

In another poem "On God", he presents his scientific perception and ethereal understanding of God, ' in true spirit, well supported by Vedantic philosophy. To him God, with cosmic remote control, rotates the 'wheel of universe'. "It's a spatial splendour and a verse./He is not averse to a multiverse." The poet recounts:

Inscrutable is His ways
in whatever He forays.
In a terasecondth He triggers 
comes out the universe 
arrayed in galaxy 
as if by proxy.

To support his ideas of God who ' sitting on His cosmic console' plays "His universal role' in the creation and annihilation, he quotes Upanishada:

"What lies beyond or around is only Him 
as an integral whole.
On merging the manifest with the rest,
He stays as Whole and sole..."

Yet another poem "O God, I have a Complaint" is both a complaint and prayer to God. All disgruntlement aside, he prays to Him for restoration of permanent peace in the restless world:

O God, would you promise,
that you will rise 
to see not to bring tears to Mothers' eyes, 
to reward lovers with prize,
see that children are cared,
see that infirm and old are spared,
see that no calamities, great holocaust 
or apocalypse ever visit mankind
and wipe them out unkind.

Global harmony and peace is also a distinctive feature of Sarkar's poetry. He is emphatic and candid on the cosmopolitan idea 'human existence through the universal identity' of the people. Though he is 'a man of dream disturbed/ with heart perturbed', yet his mind is ' molten in God's golden/ lava of love/ who wants to serve'. In the poem "I am What I am" he candidly declares:

Look here lies a man
who believes we can
emerge with a glorious global identity
if we drop our land-locked and religion-rocked entity.

Armed with the historical knowledge of the world, he presents an overview of some historical happenings with universal sensibilities. The poem "Lessons of History" is one of the most powerful poems in this respect. Paying tributes to the forgotten heroes of the world, he remembers historical places and monuments such as Pyramids, Great Wall of China, Colosseum, Moai, Machu Pichu and the Taj Mahal and recalls French Revolution and its consequences afterwards and finally the World War II. He feels that 'We have a debt/ to our past and a date with our future.' He further says: Just as a pausing punctuation/ of comma, dash or semi-colon/ precede one stop full stop,/ so does precede antiquated past/ and progress to future too fast,/ present becoming a bridge to move on/ our way pushing the hazy horizon'. It is towards the end of this poem that he unearths nefarious repercussions of revolutions of the world. He remarks:

Whosoever rides the rowdy horse of revolution gets thrown 
once the horse is halted all on a sudden. 
There are names aplenty 
and instances galore 
which will make us sore.
What is most painful and fierce
or decidedly worse,
is when the person pushes humanity 
to wanton genocide with impunity.

Time is very important to the poet. He rather gives more importance to the present time. The is worried that 'With your feet poised between past and future/ you forget your present where you are'. Hence he asks us not to waste our precious present and exhorts us to live by the present moment and contribute to the progress of humanity and society and also do the needful for our inner and spiritual betterment. So highlighting the importance of the present, unreality of the past and uncertainty of virtual future, he writes in "Times- Past present and Future" :

Past stands on progressed history.
Future is a virtual mystery.
To past you have never been,
Future for you remains unseen.

His poetry also represents, among other things, an extended reflection upon the dehumanising effects of modernity and industrialisation causing depletion of values and sensibility. We live in an age 'which flourishes on the rage/ of lightning conflicts', surrounded by 'raving robot, imbecile fool, and cyborg, under the constant fear of nuclear bombs. Aesthetic and ethical values have receded giving way to multitudes of contemporary malaise. The sole reason of all this negative escalation, according to him, is well discussed in the poem "Of Humans Heading beyond Millennium":

...... .... human race 
has fallen from God's grace
with commercialization on increasing display
and intolerance of racism and religion on play.

In "World is Yours for Takeover", the last poem of the collection under review, he gives a vivid vignette of optimistic approaches to life. He appears to his readers a torch-bearer of hope in the time of despair. He gives encouraging and motivating words, solace and comforts to the people caught in the whirlpool of worldly realities. The poem ends with a happy note:

No matter how many times you fall or rise,
you are destined to see the sunrise. 
Watch the solemn sunset
without getting upset.

From the foregoing analysis it is evident that Sankari Prasad Sarkar is truly a millennium poet singing the universal songs of global love, peace, harmony and cordial living. Marked with philosophical, humanistic, romantic , mystical, devotional, spiritual strains , glorifying love and humanity, Man, and God, nature and the world, his poetry offers as well a humane solution for all the millennium ills and problems, enhancing the seriousness and intensity of his universal appeal with long-lasting effect. He seems to revive the poetic tradition with rhyming lyricism. His mastery over the language heightens linguistic excellence. His command over imagery, his diction and his melodious weaving display his special poetic power and charm. His vision, outlook, perception all render his poetry with universal acceptability and by virtue of these poetic qualities, his poems deserve special praises and to be enjoyed all around the world. In short, "Musings on Man and Millennium", is a perfect compendium of contemplation and rumination of a septuagenarian poet who has successfully weaved wonderful cosmopolitan lyrics on contemporary man and millennium. It is a must-read book for all the lovers of poetry across the world.


More by :  Bhaskaranand Jha Bhaskar

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