Do M.Phils., Ph.Ds. On Indian English Poetry?
(Selecting Major or Minor Voices)
How to do Ph.Ds. or M.Phils. on Indian English poetry or call it Indian poetry in English? It is really very difficult to say what one approves and what one disapproves of as for the proposed synopsis. Suggestions and notes vary from person to person as per one’s studies and comprehension of the topics available to the best of one’s own mind and knowledge. One cannot be a master of all. Someone may talk of taking standard topics while someone may talk of taking writable topics. While choosing the topic of the dissertation, one keeps in view the writable substance. Will one be able to complete the project? If the materials are not available, one will not be able to write or complete the thesis. Most of the people like to choose workable topics. Nobody likes to work on a hard topic. A thesis may be done on, What To Call It, Anglo-Indian, Indo-English, Indo-Anglican, Indian Poetry In English or Indian English Poetry? Even the thesis may be inclusive of it all or may be divided into sub-theses of three different titles. The parts may look like sub-theses or different titles, but if separated. The thesis will bring to light how the idea has taken wings; how the matter has evolved over the passage of time, as for example one may take up, What Is Anglo-Indian Poetry? If the research scholar wants to take it in a different way, he may, A Study of Indo-English Poetry. What is Indian In Indian English Poetry?, may be another topic of study. Has Indian English Poetry Come of Age?, may be another title of our critical study. A History of Modern Indian English Poetry may be a general survey researchable. Were they really modern or not? Or, we have termed them so. Were they really post-colonial or we have just made them so after reading the treatises and texts of post-colonial studies? Indian English Poetry As A Study In Self-published Poets can be our topic of discussion.
One may submit a research work on Derozio now-a-days, taking the help of archival and historical facts, visiting his cemetery, going after his blood connections in a fresh light, showing the institution where he worked, what it interested him as a poet, how he borrowed from other poets. Similar is the case with Michael Madhusudan Dutt who wanted to be an English poet rather than a Bengali poet. One may study the translations of William Radice while dispensing with the topic in hand stating how he returned to his mother tongue, a perusal of his retreat. But when we turn to the corpus of translation studies made by the European scholars it baffles us. Now Derozio interests it not if we go on saying the same things and there is nothing new in it. There must be something about the institution he studied, the house where he lived, the family he belonged to, their ancestral and descendent
In Gitanjali, the Soul prays to the Over Soul, the Mind to the Over Mind, the Self to the Greater Self which is but Supreme Consciousness and its realization, but how to approach the Divine? Songs Offering are but tributes to the Divine. As the petals lie embedded in a garland so are the lyrics here. The bond between the Soul and the Supreme Soul is the point of discussion.
Critics on Gitanjali: A Substantiation of Views & Opinions can be a good topic if one wants to peruse it as Gitanjali has won the hearts of the readers from time to time and it merits enough goodness to move anyone so full of prayer and devotion, fervour and piety, holistic thought and movement, myth and mysticism, universal love for mankind and humanity, so full of knowledge, light and wisdom. Now it is a part of Tagore Studies as the things are of Bose Studies, Gandhi Studies and so on.
What a fakiri in translating the songs of Kabir, what a shadhukadi language just like the present-day Bauls clad in saffrons singing the songs of Rama-Rahima! Rabindranath Tagore has indeed done a great job in translating him which but Kabir hut is a witness of all that hectic activity! A rare work of mysticism and devotion translated by any writer which he realized it and tried to assimilate in his poetry too, of which Gitanjali too is a glaring example of that.
Who is the Fakir of fakirs? God. Is it not? Where do you search Me?, I am by you, God says it.
Tagore as A Translator of Kabir: A Study can be a good thesis if one wants to work, one may have to consult the reviews and opinions of different readers put forward, gone through and noted in from time to time. One may consult what other translators say about and put forth.
When did Tagore translate the book? Who helped him in understanding, translating? I cannot all that what it went in the making of Tagore. But I can see the influence of Kabir on Gitanjali.
Had he Surdas, Mira Bai, Rashkhan, Jayasi or any one of these it would have been great.
Songs of Kabir by Tagore is really a path-breaking work widening the horizon of translation studies and while going through the saintly text of comprehensive vision and synthetic understanding of religions in a mystic assimilation, we feel it as if we were going through Kabir's own words.
Stray Birds as a collection of one, two, three and four liners is inclusive of poetic tidbits passing through as a trail of imagery, a train of rudimentary thoughts and ideas and reflections. Stray thoughts and ideas take the canvas of the work written as a collection of short, very short, brief, very brief poems bordering on the fringe of prose and poetry, poetry and prose. Can the straight lines be called poetry? Is poetry musical thoughts?
Tagore and His Short Poems: A Study of His Poetic Bits and Pieces may be done keeping in view Stray Birds and likewise pieces.
On Translating Tagore: Translators’ Versions can be a topic if it is selected going through the works done on Tagore; the corpus of translated works.
The Gardener is actually a book of love and lyrics, of the songs sung by a heart in love. A maiden's braid bedecked with flowers and cosmetics applied on the face so lovely and perfumed going by the way resounds with the anklets jingling. The scene is one of the dancers telling Buddha of the middle path, but he is under the charm of pastoral, idyllic and amorous love. Radha's love for Krishna is the focal point as he cannot discern it classical love poetry while writing it. The garden of love is as such full of so many sweetly-scented flowers.
Savitri, the magnum opus of Maharshi Aurobindo, recreates in poetic language the tale of love conquering death, Savitri bringing back to life Satyavan from the hands of Yama, the Messenger of Death-god; the Life Divine in poetry it has borne out of his transcendental meditation and visionary brooding. An epic poem running to several books and cantos, Savitri is but the Paradise Lost of Aurobindo where the rishi is so much Vedic, Upanishadic and Puranic in his studies; where the poet is so much Miltonic and Latinized in diction.
Critics on Savitri: A Study, Critics on Sri Aurobindo: A Study, too can be our dissertations if we want to read.
A Linguistic Study of Indian English Poetry may be taken up from the linguistic point of view. The Linguistic Base of Aurobindo: A Study In Miltonic Diction, Sanskritism And Latinism can be the subject of our study. Has anybody studied Nissim Ezekiel from the language point of view? It will be an exercise in Elizabethan sonneteers, song-writers and lyric-writers. Nissim carries so much from the Elizabethan and the simple moderns. Savitri: A Latinized, Sanskritized Or Miltonitized Work? as a topic can also be ventured for an exploration. The Criticism of Savitri: What Do Critics Say? maybe also the subject of our study. Savitri, the magnum opus of Maharshi Aurobindo, recreates in poetic language the tale of love conquering death, Savitri bringing back to life Satyavan from the hands of Yama, the Messenger of Death-god; the Life Divine in poetry it has borne out of his transcendental meditation and visionary brooding. An epic poem running to several books and cantos, Savitri is but the Paradise Lost of Aurobindo where the rishi is so much Vedic, Upanishadic and Puranic in his studies; where the poet is so much Miltonic and Latinized in diction. The Pondicherry School of Indian English Poetry: A Study In Ashramite Devotional And Mystical Poets too can be studied. There were poets and poetesses even before Nissim Ezekiel. Modernism in Indian English poetry has not started with him as we think it now and the surveyors of Indian literature err in putting it forward.
Even Nissim Ezekiel had not been in light during the 1960’s as a few had been in the know of Indian English poetry and it was not Indian English poetry, but non-existent. Nissim too had just started to publish verses in English and for it the credit went to the Illustrated Weekly of India which started publishing the verses by the native Indians which appeared very bad in the initial stage and those baddies are now the stalwarts of Indian English poetry.
Even the slender poetry-works of Nissim Ezekiel too were unavailable for quite a long time. These were re-printed after a gap.
While talking about the researches, The Parrot’s Death and Other Poems (1960), Love’s the First (1962), Change! They Said (1966), Draupadi and Jayadratha (1967), The Man of Dharma and Rasa of Silence (1974), Calcutta: A Long Poem (1978), etc. are the collections of poems of P.Lal which he authored from time to time. But had Writers Workshop, Calcutta been not, could he have?
Close the Sky, Ten by Ten (1971) is the first work of Jayanta Mahapatra with which the poetic journey of his starts from followed by Svayamvara and Other Poems (1971), A Father’s Hours (1976), etc. are the books of the earlier phase. Jayanta Mahapatra As An Imagist, As A Realist, As A Feminist, A Myth-maker or An Odia Poet In An English Garb: A Study, any one of these may be the research area of perusal. The echoes of his earlier image and word-play laden poetry are heard even in his lucid prose-writings. His poetry is the poetry of the dark daughters and the doors of dreams and visionary glides.
A Rain of Rites by Jayanta Mahapatra is no doubt a fine collection of poems which as book can be inducted into the courses of study. A Rain of Rites is the title poem of the collection named so as well as included in the text, but the way he frolics with private and personal myth and reflection that he confuses us with his image and idea, what he means and what he takes for. A small poem of some sour stanzas, it is not about the rains, but the rites raining. The Oriya scene and sight is certainly the crux of the matter. Whatever happens it, the rites will not cease, come to a stop; the Vedic chants and Upanishadic will keep continuing even during the past midday. Under heat and scorching sun, it will keep going.
Sometimes a rain comes slowly across the sky, turning upon grey clouds and breaking away into light. This is how he starts the poem, A Rain of Rites. Rains and rites keep confusing, but the reality is he has the least to dispense with the rains as these are not his concern, but the rites of Orissa, India, continuing on the sea beach, in the Jagannath temple and the people thronging. Flowers and petals offered to the deity. Some people are shaven-headed. The spectacle of the temple sight is the panorama of the poem which he transmutes so well. The rain he has known and traded all this life is thrown like kelp on the sea beach protecting from salty ingredients and adding to the greenery. Like some shape of conscience he cannot look at, a malignant purpose in the nun’s eye.
Discussing the rites, not rains, he moves to the cloudburst, the bringing of first showers as well as the cold cloud brining this blood to face? Actually, absurdity takes over, the absurdity of life and living, why rains, why rites, why this cycle of rains and rites, rites and rains? Actually, the earth parches in the scorching sun and it vaporises to hanging cloudbursts, downpours, heavy showers, rumbling, colliding to thunders and rains dripping and dropping and the rains wetting and soaking in water for vegetation and life. Numbly he climbs the mountain-tops of his own where his own soul quivers on the edge of answers. Who is it who brought the cold clouds? Who is it who brought blood to human face? Where were rites then? Mark it, where there is a rock-built temple there was a hill thereon.
Which still and stale air sits on an angel’s wings? What it holds his rain so hard to overcome? Who to answer his absurd questions? His rains the showers of logic and reasoning refreshing absurdity with his crosswords of puzzles and riddles.
In Jayanta the crushed flowers of the temple courtyard too have the songs of their own to sing. To see the things in contrast and contradiction is the beauty of his poetry. In one poem his good wife sleeps and snores by his side, taking her summer midday siesta full of sweating and humidity while on the other the rites with the mantric chants are heard from the distant temples and the funeral pyres keep burning at a distance. Play and inter-play keep going in his poetry.
The syllables of the rains and the blood of the rites, who to say about? What do these rains and rites mean really which but Jayanta knows it well and none the else. Something of Original Sin, something of temptation and fall has been inducted in. It will be better if we end the poem, A Rain of Rites with ‘Da, dyadhavam, damayata and datta; om shanthi shantih shantih’ as does he Eliot in The Waste Land.
A Rain of Rites by Mahapatra is a book of Orissa and Orissan landscapes; the Oriya scenarios telling of hunger, scarcity, depravity, heat and dust; rains, rituals and summers; Puri, Cuttack and Bhubaneswar. Orissa cannot be Orissa if we talk not about its temples, gods and goddesses. Word-play, imagery and photography are the primary things in understanding his poetry.
Temple as a volume is not about the temples, but is based on a newspaper item telling of hunger deaths and against the backdrop of it he has written it imagining in his own way about the sun-burnt earth, hot summer days and hunger taking a toll upon the aging couple.
This is the text for which he has got the Sahitya Akademi Award; this is the text which has won acclaim and admiration for him; his connection with Orissa and Orissan landscapes, how can he do away with, as this is the land of his birth and nativity and leaving it, where will he go? Though there is nothing more in it, it a book of a handful of leaves wherein he takes visionary glides thinking about its historicity, myth and mystery. A book of mythical context and dreamy vision, it can charm anyone who likes to go through it.
Jayanta Mahapatra; A Poet of The Dark Daughters, Jayanta Mahapatra; A Study In Man-woman Relationship, Love And Sexuality Themes, Jayanta Mahapatra As A Poet of Relationship, Jayanta Mahapatra: As Study In Oriya Connections; Oriya History, Thought & Culture, Jayanta Mahapatra: A Study In Vedic, Upanishadic Overtones & Undertones, etc. can be perused and pursued as research topics if one wants to take up. Many do not know it that there is a thin undercurrent of Vedism, Upanishadism in the poetry of Jayanta Mahapatra.
But it pains us as well as infringes upon to see the visiting interview-takers and pseudo-litterateurs when they pressurize him for a joint photo as well as his appreciation of the incumbent’s creative pursuits.
Kamala Das As A Confessional Poet: A Study Of Her Poetry, Kamala Das As A Poet: A Study In Borrowings can form the basis of our criticism. Where did Kamala study? What it the basis of her poetry and poetic dogma, who her persona and protagonist, mouthpiece and spokesman. Has she been influenced by any poet or not? Why does she say it not? Is everything her own? Kamala Das: A Study in Sexual Overtones and Undertones, Kamala Das: A Study In Man-woman Relationship, Kamala Das: The Spiritually Sick And Ailing Soul, can we put our critical readings as thus in an experimental way rather than putting normally?
Kamala Das is one of those controversial writers who have not only enchanted with, but have defied the accepted protocol and nomenclature of our society. A female writer she often tries to resist the patriarchal hegemony coming down to us from generation to generation and her rebellion is the rebellion of a Lucifer, what the writer of male domination and possessive love, Lawrence says about in Lady Chatterley’s Lover. But how to answer, why is she a born woman? Why can she be not free? Why can she not play and dress like a boy? This is her problem.
While discussing Kamala Das and her poetry, the books and short stories of D.H. Lawrence flash upon the mind’s eye, with Sons and Lovers, Women in Love, The Rainbow, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, St.Mawr, The Fox, The Virgin and the Gipsy, Sun and so on, but what he writes in his fictional works that find a covert expression in her poems, but what he writes in his poems those are not in her works.
There was a time when the works by Arun Kolatkar were unavailable. How to search the postal address too was a problem. Only Jejuri was the thing to begin with one’s research on his poetry. Even the books by Keki N.Daruwalla, Jayanta Mahapatra, Adil Jussawalla and Kamala Das, Prof. Lal could not send them. What to say about those of K.D.Katrak and Adil Jussawalla? K.R.Srinivasa Iyengar wavered in giving the address and identity of the Indian practitioners of verse while teaching the foreigner students in England. If one goes through the history of literature written by M.K.Naik, one will find it that even Naik talks of the poems of Kolatkar yet to be picked and collected. Aurobindo’s poems were available as these appeared from his Pondicherry ashrama press. Indian English poetry suited best in anthologies of poems and stray picks and selections.
Adil Jussawalla: A Journey From Land’s End, Missing Person To The Right Kind of Dog & Other Poems and beyond may also tempt us for a study of his modern, post-modern poetry, full of pastiche, allusion, reference and broken statements. Adil Jussawalla And His Biography: A Swapping of Poetry And Journalism can also be our topic of dissertation. Adil Jussawalla: The Missing Person of Indian English Poetry can also engage us.
Land’s End is the first book of poems which Adil Jussawalla 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 the seventeen so the things started materializing with that 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.
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.
To choose an Indian English poet is to be in doubt if he is really an English poet or not or a fellow writing in an alien tongue? Similar had been the case with the Indian writers of English verse or the Indians attempting in English. Many got a chance to write and many were relegated to oblivion in the absence of promotion and many good writers shied from putting down for publicity. Since when have they given Sahitya Akademi awards? Since when the Padma awards? Let us take a note of it. Since when have we started prescribing them into the classrooms? Long back we struggled in approving Tagore and Sarojini into English syllabi and courses of studies. Frankly speaking, Indian English poetry derived and drew upon English and translation studies, Indology and Oriental Studies. Had there been any critic of it? Again to put it frankly, Indian English poetry is a study in derivative, copious and borrowings; parodied stuffs. The poets are not the poets, but commoners, poetasters rhymes, non-poets writing doggerels.
Bombay Prayers are the best hymns hummed, the best prayers ever said so hastily with utter submission and utmost confession holding the soul in strict confidence. So are the poems of personal loss and mourning together with the angst and bewilderment and the anxiety of the age he was born, that is the malaise of the times what it ailed it. Winter Poems is without any doubt a commendable work on the part of the evolving poet.
Where the author is taking to, to Naishapur, Babylon? What his connection with? Is he trying to locate and dislocate the persona? Central Asia, Middle East are the topics of his liking as for being a RAW man, a Zoroastrian; his Parsee connections. Daruwalla as a poet is concerned with Hindustani landscape and perspective. So is the case with Rudyard Kipling. Naishapur and Babylon: Poems as a poetry-collection takes us to Mesopotamia, Syria, Assyria as he cannot his connections. Parsi heritage, lineage and connections he cannot discern it but it happened it otherwise in the course of history. Had they understood, it would not have happened.
Daruwalla As A Poet of The Mythologies And Archetypal Narratives: A Study of His Poetry can be a good topic if we choose to work on. The Parsi Psyche of The Poet: A Study In Daruwalla’s Poetry too maybe our topic of dissertation.
Riding the Himalayas is a travelogue of Daruwalla which he has after visiting the places which are dearer to him as he was born in Lahore then shifted to Ludhiana and Gujarat before settling in New Delhi. But his heart lies it in Uttarakhand and its beyond even dwelling far to Persia and beyond, to the land of Zarathustra which but he has not forgotten. But it is a pleasure to hear about Kedarnath, Badrinath and so many things; to see the scenery and landscape of Ladakh, Leh, Kargil and so on. We had been aware of it that he would write a book on when we read about his visit in the newspapers then.
Arvind Krishna Mehrotra As A Modern Indian English Poet: A Study of His Surreal Poetry can now charm us as a research topic, but there was a time when he had not too much to show and put before. Even few which he authored at a time were out of stock, out of print. While doing with his surreal poetry, one needs to peruse the works of the famous surrealists.
The Transfiguring Places by Mehrotra as a collection does not show any change in his style as he has been surreal poems and is a surrealist. In his poetry there is nothing as profound and sombre, but common and most hackneyed things are said and those too in a modern usage of expression devoid of any rasa or dhavani syndrome. Only dull and dry facts abound in with full monotony of their own as if we were in a bazaar buying or bargaining things.
There was a time when one wished to submit a research proposal on the poetry of Kolatkar long back in the nineties, but the head of the department mumbled in approving it.
Kala Ghoda, what is it in Kolatkar's Kala Ghoda? Is it the horse of Kolatkar or of King Edward VII on horse-back? An equestrian emblem, it is; an art-piece. But those who are not of Bombay may not what he is frequenting? Kala Ghoda area, radius is the periphery of his poetry where rambled he as an art student; as a struggling artist talking, reading and passing time.
Sarpa Satra is really a good work improvising an ancient tale in a modernist idiom to teach, instruct a new moral lesson and that too with a new interpretation. The man who does not know the Mahabharatan story will not be able to comprehend the significance of the tale and its poetic relevance. Vengeance and hatred cannot be answered, reciprocated with the same.
Even when contacted Dilip Chitre too failed in sending the Xerox copies of his poetry works. He just asked to go by the anthologies of poems published.
Dilip Chitre translates Tukaram just as a devotee-disciple of his with the saint on his lips and his heart and he doing the japa, recitation of his name. Tuka's poetry is folklorish, bhakti fold devotional poetry of the saints and fakirs of India coming down to us since times immemorial. Thus Says Tuka not, but the bhakta-shisya of Tuka, Dilip Chitre.
Pebbles on the Shore which appeared in 1981 from Writers Workshop, Calcutta is one like the many poetry-volumes of R.R. Menon who was born in 1927 in Kerala, but after graduating in chemistry and metallurgical engineering joined the Indian Administrative Service to work in various capacities. The last of his appointments was at Ranchi in the then Bihar state to be back to Bangalore to settle down. As a poet, he is private and personal as the modern verse-writers take to similar is the is the poetic flair of the poet. With the pebble count and the receding waters, the poet starts the poem in a reflective way, addressing to somebody close to him. The second poem titled On Memories too is a poem of some emotional base where the poet recollects and reminisces. The poem, My Country, My Culture is a physical penetration of India aligned with geographical variations and cultural synthesis. Tell Me is nostalgically very beautiful where the poet also says about his small swinging sister.
R.R. Menon who authored Ode to Parted Love And Other Poems, Dasavatara and Other Poems, Seventy Seven, Straws in the Wind, Shadows in the Sun, Grass in the Garden, Heart on a Shoe-String, Pebbles on the Shore, Poems 1985, Sounds of Silence and others is a poet who serves as a link between the older and the new generation of poets. Basically an engineering department student, his is a language orientation tending to science and technology and the respective terminology instead of being a writer of verses. Menon who hailed from Kerala is a poet of the modern age writing about urban and city spaces.
We should fly out, you and I,
bidding the century good-bye
to reach realms blossomed in a dream
computers construct in record time.
--- R.R. Menon in the poem Flight of the Century
(Sounds of Silence, An ICASEL Publication, Mysore, 1993, p.58)
Sounds of Silence is the first poem with which the collection begins with, a poem of some thud and verve to be noticed. In the sounds of silence, the poet hears the sound of life and living.
I had seen him in tattered clothes,
the only ones he had perhaps. His walking stick
was a crutch on which his half-leg hung.
----Rugged Faith (Ibid, p.35)
How does recognition come from? How to search for probable topics? How to go for a talent search? All these are very difficult to say about. We started working on O.P.Bhatnagar as because there were a few lines in Iyengar and Naik’s books. So was the case with I.K.Sharma who grew up at snail’s pace. We hesitated in including Hazara Singh, but considered him. Kulwant Singh Gill, Charu Sheel Singh, R.K.Singh. P.C.Katoch, D.H.Kabadi and P.K.Majumder’s books appeared from P.Lal’s Writers Workshop, Calcutta. Even M.K.Naik has a few lines about the flickers of D.H.Kabadi. Romen Basu though the critics have not so much, but is a poet of worth and excellence. Krishna Srinivas the chief editor of the international poetry journal named Poet is a Padma Sri recipient, but his poems do not figure in so abundantly or did the critics take a note of, may be it that the is more of a promoter than a creative poet and his trend is basically, spiritual, theological, metaphysical, cosmic and transcendental. Srinivas’ books have appeared from his own houses. It is a specialty of Indian English poetry that it is a study in self-publications. Baldev Mirza’ books have appeared from his own house.
There are many topics on which one can finish one’s Ph.D. if to search the un-searched or to choose from the marginalized poets. T.V.Reddy, Hazara Singh, Kulwant Singh Gill, Maha Nanda Sharma, Simanchal Patnaik, D.H. Kabadi, K.V. Venkataramana, P.K.Joy, O.P. Bhatnagar, I.K. Sharma, K.R. Srinivasa Iyengar As A Poet, The Light Verses of M.K. Naik: A Study, The Surveyors of Indian English Literature: A Study In Criticism, The Critics of Savitri: Indian And Foreigner, Indian English Poetry Criticism A Study In Reviews And Generalizations, Indian English poetry: A Study In Self-published Minor Poets And Poetesses, The Early Poetry of Jayanta Mahapatra: A Critical Study, The Latter-day Verses of Jayanta Mahapatra: A Critical Analysis, Jayanta Mahapatra As A Poet From Orissa: A Study In Oriya Connections, The Prose-writings, Essays, Letters, Views And Reviews of Jayanta Mahapatra: A Critical Study, Nissim Ezekiel As An Alien Insider: How Indian Is Indian English Poetry?, Shiv K.Kumar as A Poet: A Study In Sexual Overtones And Undertones, Purshottam Lal As A Faded Romantic: As An Evolving Poet. As Purshotam Lal was director of Writers Workshop, so it was natural for him to find the press. R.Parthasarathy: A Poet of Tamil Ethnicity And Connections. R.Parthasarathy issues and re-issues his poetry. Arun Kolatkar As A Marathi Poet: A Failed Artist As An Indian English Poet, What Is It In Arvind Krishna Mehrotra? : An Evaluation of His Poetry. If you want to work on marginalized poets, you may on The Three-liner Verses of Dwarakanath H.Kabadi: A Stylistic Interpretation. The Poetic World of D.H.Kabadi: An Interpretation too can be explored. A few M.Phil. dissertations have been done from CIEFL, Hyderabad; monographs on his poetry have appeared. The Poetic World of Simanchal Patnaik: A Study of His Verses opens a wide world of occasional verses. Hazara Singh As A Poet of Human Values: A Study of His Poetry can definitely be taken up with his writings reminiscent of the freedom movement and the history of Sikhism. One may select the writings of Stephen Gill for his research, but of late he has turned into a promoter of his poetry and a propagandist. Poetry As Peace Studies And The Poet A Peacenik: A Study of Stephen Gill can also be the topic of our study.
Sonnets & Other Poems which appeared in 1989 is a venturesome poetic attempt of Simanchal Patnaik who hails from Berhampur, Orissa, India. My Imperfect Birth is the first poem with which the book starts with followed by Waiting List, Welcome Friends To India On The Eve of 9th World Congress of Poets, Stones And Cricketers, Prepare For 21st Century, Mayor of A City, A City Through Eagle's Eyes, Almanac of Love, Arundhati Star, I'm A Fool, Law of Love, Chatterbox, Dream For Me, Lovely Lotus, Kite-Flying, Love Letter, 1000 War-Planes To Recapture Beauty, My Sophisticated Swan, Midnight, A Man of 75 Kgs 5 Kgs of Cremains After Death, Spiritual Strength, Temple of Art, Onlooker, Creator's Creations Are Multitudinous And Mysterious, Crass Materialist, Nualakebara of Lord Jagannath of Puri, Lord Krishna, Death Is The Only Reliable Spaceship, If God Becomes Enemy of Agnostic Man, Your Kin Has Gone To God's Dustbin, Electric Crematoriums, Death Is Immortal, Death's Tolling Bell, etc. are the witty and occasional verses of the poet under our perusal incorporated in this work of poesy.
O Death! I’m Prepared To Go With You is just like a rhyme written by Simanchal, a master rhymer who fails to rise above this, instead of some specimens, which have come down to us from his poetic pen:
O Death! I’m prepared to go with you,
I’ve no liking for this good-for-nothing Earth,
I’ll be saved if I’m taken sans queue,
I’ll be happy to face you, O Dear Death,
This Earth is not meant for living,
This Earth is meant for dying,
This earth is not meant for enjoying,
This Earth is meant for suffering,
This Earth is not meant for eating,
This Earth is meant for fasting,
This Earth is not meant for sane,
This Earth is not meant for insane.
The sooner I quit this Earth as per comeuppance
The better will be for me sans repentance.
(Queen of English Poetry, Sarala Publications, Berhampur, Ganjam, Orissa, 1999, p.95)
I’m A Hopeless Creature too is a poem of the same sort:
I’m a hopeless creature
With hopeless record,
With hopeless wife,
With hopeless children,
With hopeless house,
With hopeless food,
With hopeless environment,
With hopeless neighbours,
With hopeless State,
With hopeless system,
With hopeless earnings,
With hopeless winter,
With hopeless summer,
With hopeless rain,
With hopeless earthquakes,
With hopeless Earth,
With hopeless peace.
Queen of English Poetry by Simanchal Panaik is one such book which ranks with Gems of English Poetry and Poetry of Himalayan Wisdom. There is nothing as that has changed over the years as the man may, but his poetry remains the same. Queen of English Poetry, published in 1999, is an addition to the corpus of Indian poetry in English written by the Indians. Prayer is the first poem to begin with followed by Mini Icon of Lord Jagannath at my House, Philosophy of Fatalism, Ideal Friendship of Lord Krishna, Crown Prince Rama's Marriage With Princess Sita, My Philosophy of Life, Flowers Have no religion, Himalayas And Mount Kailas, Universe Is An Image of Imperfection (Villanelle), O god! I'm A Pilgrim At The Gates of Your Tower, Sons And daughters of The Soil, World Peace For Survival of Man, Princess Diana's Last Journey, etc. Simanchal as a poet is one of wit and its application, knowledge and wisdom. It will be easy to collect, gather materials on Simanchal Patnaik, but to get his books will be a problem as these do not sell in markets.
When we talked of researches long back on Hazara Singh’s poetry, some asked to note it with dissent. But what startles us is this that his poem, The Person I Am Looking For is included in Maharashtra Higher Secondary English syllabus. Kulwant Singh Gill As A Poet of Symbolical Depth And Narrative Skill: A Study can also be a good topic of study. There was a time when we used to talk of researches on his poetry, but there was none to buy the theory. Kedar Nath Sharma’s Poetry: A Medley of All can be inclusive of his metaphysical, witty, ironical, satiric, worldly and unworldly poems. The books of Kedar Nath Sharma have appeared from Minerva Press, Allied Publishers. Charu Sheel Singh’s Poetry: A Study In Transcendental Meditation And Cosmic Consciousness as a topic too can be engaging.
Romen Basu As A Modern Poet: A Study of Poetry can also be selected. Someone may definitely ask why to finish the dissertation on Basu, but one should keep in mind that he is a published novelist and his poetry works have appeared from standard press. A few have done their theses on the fictional stuff and narrative structures.
The Epical Poems of Maha Nanda Sharma: A Critical Study too may be the subject of our perusal. A few scholars have submitted their doctoral dissertations on Maha Nanda Sharma. Actually, he selects the Mahabharatan characters to give an epical design and length to his poems.
Sitayana by K.R. Srinivasa Iyengar presents him as a Ramayana scholar who just not follows Valmiki blindly, but tries to portray the origin, birth and development of Sita who is earth-born and not only that side by side he presents the whole saga of trouble and tribulation, the hardship she bears to outshine others as an ideal character. The topic is no doubt mythical and classical which the poet has dealt in a very creative and novel way of deliberation. C.Rajagopalachari's version too is just like that. Indeed, it is a valuable addition to Indian poetry in English.
The books of Pronab Kumar Majumder have appeared from Writers Workshop, Calcutta. If we want, we may pick up for a research study. The Mystic Poetry of Love: A Study In P.K.Majumder’s Rimis can also be chosen. Though a poet of time and time-related consciousness, here he deviates a bit from his usual themes. Rimi poetry series overflows it with the modern poetry of love in a mystic way.
Modern Indian Poetry In English: The Writers’ Workshop Selection; An Anthology & A Credo compiled by P.Lal published in 1969 is just a poetic venture wherein the novice personae have been introduced, those who have just started to write in or the ones whose debut books are on the anvil. Modern Indian Poetry in English is not a standard anthology of poems, just the loosely--published poets not, practitioners have been dragged along, the nondescript, nowhere writers have been included in by P.Lal, who was actually in search of talent-hunt or self-satisfaction. Lal too is not a big poet himself though he has got awards for his promotion and translation works. Most of the poets were then evolving or were nowhere. Their first poems too were included in as they had the accessibility, not to say of first books. Some of the blogs or blurbs speak of having one or two collections published or are on the anvil. At that time there were no takers of Indian English poetry as it is not even spoken in homes nor has it a feeder dialect of own. So, how could we suppose it to be Indian English! Many of the so-called established poets of today have just substantiated their positions after publishing a few and it was also a fact that they go their critics easily. Indian English poetry got an impetus when the University Grants Commission, New Delhi through its committees recommended it to prescribe in their courses of studies for B.A. and M.A. Even a bit ago there were no takers of Indian English poetry in West Bengal or Calcutta University. Only British, English or American classics used to have its sway over. The other thing is this that it is very poorer, weaker and unstable in theme and versification. Most of the practitioners appear to be copycats doing the catwalks. The volume is puerile, childish and immature. Pritish Nandy had been then almost a young fellow to figure in. Similar had been the case with Meena Alexander who is perhaps in America.
The Oxford Anthology of Twelve Modern Indian Poets by A.K. Mehrotra, we do not think it that they are the best ones, maybe it in one sense. Was Indian English not modern before Nissim Ezekiel and others? Was Writers' Workshop, Calcutta not a publishing house of self-published authors? Was Seth's book not rejected in the West initially? Since when have they become modern? Indian English poetry was not modern, but has become now-a-days after when the UGC made it compulsory in varsity courses of studies. There was none interested in derivative, parodied and copied Indian English poetry full of the echoes from the English masters. Even the college teachers were not interested in doing Ph.Ds. But when the UGC made it compulsory for career advancement and pressed the Indian materials for approval too, they started doing their dissertations. All the modern poets have evolved in course of time and are in light since their first publications.
Ten Twentieth-century Indian Poets edited by R. Parthasarathy is no doubt a good venture, but it does not mean at all there were no poets. Sometimes we doubt it that the Indian poets venturing in English as modern poets would not have been so had we searched the probable talents destroyed. The other thing is this that they are the birds of a feather flock together. The last not the least R. Parthasarathy has himself written his introduction in it. Somebody else should have it out of courtesy.
Ten Twentieth-century Indian Poets by Parthasarathy though one of the best collections has much of camaraderie and friendship rather than what is Indian in Indian English poetry, what is modern in modern Indian English poetry and that too if English exists it in India just as a written grammatical language without no feeder dialect of it, where are the poets from?
If one writes in English, it does not mean at all that one will definitely be a great poet. There are so many great poets in Hindi, Bengali, Oriya, Assamese, Punjabi, Urdu, Persian, Arabic, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and so on whom we know it not. Have we ever tried to introduce them? Who can ever write better criticism than the introduction given by W.B.Yeats to Tagore’s Gitanjali? And if he criticizes the latter works of Tagore, it is but criticism sake, we should not take it into the negative. Tagore can definitely be criticized for loose emotions and sentiments.
What it pains us most is this that many are just trying to make a name and fame in this virgin field of literature. Many of us who start it today start pressuring for calling them the stalwarts of poesy. Many of the research scholars who have just started to read Indian English poetry today think of themselves as the critics of it. Some even try to use their official positions to be poets and poetesses. As Indian English poetry is so is Indian English poetry criticism. The poets too are new and the critics too are so. But take it for granted that the critics of it are but the surveyors of it. The other thing which but disturbs us is this that the editors of literary journals ask the contributors to write articles on the their poetry if they are the poets of some sort which but a British or American editor will not do it perhaps though not sure of one’s own intention and motive. Indian English poetry is a study in ones and twos of the verse-practitioners. Here poems are studied, not the books. Here just anthologies are consulted and picking the poems the critics make a name, but scholarship is not in publicity and awards.