Book Reviews

Vast Akash - An Anthology

Vast Akash by Aju Mukhopadhyay
Publisher: Penprints, 2022 Price : Rs 300/ 30 dollars.

With the whispers of time, the core and content of English Literature, especially the poetry and its allied affairs have witnessed a sea change. Flipping through the pages of history, one would surely discover the pattern of changes that has occurred in a periodic fashion. Ranging from the Anglo Saxon Period to the Victorian era to the Early Romantics to the Later Romantics to the Modern Age to the Post Modern Age, there is no such dimension of similarity except the ethos of inspiration, helping to carry on with this saga without any tinge of constraint!

Times have changed. The seas murmur. The hills fall in silence. And new creators have emerged from the mist of time. There is enough scope to sit idle on a lazy Sunday afternoon as the sun manages to stream in through the casement and read the poems of choice to arrive at a conclusion which is rather flexible, if not stern and rigid! Poetry is the 'criticism of life' (Matthew Arnold). Yet it has its own charm and dignity. No matter what other realms of Literature stand up and speak, poetry has always captivated the millions.

Among the various modern poets who have literally invested their heart and soul to leave their footprints on the sands of time, Aju Mukhopadhyay stands out of the crowd. An Indian Poet from Pondicherry has carved a niche for himself. The tone and texture of his creative odyssey deserve eulogy from the four quarters of the earth. The poems are tinctured with simplicity, seriousness, awe and grandeur apart from the conventional symbolic overtones - the mark of the modern era!

The present anthology is a strong testimony to his literary genius which has been sharpened with care over the passage of time! Let us consider a few to flaunt his tremendous worth as a modern Indian Poet. His first poem " Light" desperately depicts the role played by this positive energy, as it slices the darkness into pieces and blesses the human race with 'knowledge", 'conscience', 'broadness', 'righteousness', 'benevolence' and 'purity'. He says, " Light of knowledge conquers ignorance/ Light of conscience deals with narrow ness ". Coming to his poem ''Vast Akash'', which is in fact the title of his work, the readers blissfully discover the limitlessness of the vanilla expanse. The absolutes states of placidity and unperturbation. However, the poet opines, "It never feels with anybody to compete/ Permitting everything to pass through it". Forsooth the firmament doesn't believe in any kind of mortal competition, as it knows it is beyond any kind of mortal perception! But it allows every tiny object to pass through it. Here lies the contrast! On one hand, the sky teems with aplomb and on the other flaunts its candid nature. An elegant attempt indeed!

The poem "IF". The poet is not only incorrigibly optimistic but possesses an incisive practical bent of mind as he utters, "One has to receive whatever is given". Anew in the poem "Love", we discover surging yet a balanced emotive appeal. The poet doesn't fantasize his love nestle in the Garden of Paradise. This reveals with strength that his feet are very much glued to the terrafirma of reality. "My love is somewhere on earth, not in paradise/ Yet searching for it has ever been a futile exercise". Coming to "Silence", the poet is a bit assertive. He says, "Why try to burden it with words?". The stream of his rich philosophical thought continues, as in the penultimate line it is penned , "The real being emerges out of it". Silence is never empty. The reason is obvious. It is full of words. And the untold words are golden and find a deep expression in our eyes - the windows to the soul.

Besides, "Moon in the Evening Sky" is a romantic expression as the poet narrates his feels when he beholds the beautiful moon coming out from the cloudy canopy in the sky. "As I wondered how it dared to show itself without being shy". What a sublime fantasy! Moreover, the poem "A Cat " is a lovely sweet attempt. There is a subtle touch of pun as the poet manages to tell, "It declines to be identified by Aadhaar or PAN / But accepts the name like a human ". Further, the poet derives an immense pleasure as he talks on the quality of amity of this ' harmless camel". And loves to relax and enjoy the comfort on ' bed', ' sofa' or ' mat '. "

Music in Life" is a relatively short poem, where the poet has showcased the hand-in-glove relation between music and life. Harmony is indispensable, keeping the vibes of discordance far away from contaminating the soul of life. Interestingly, the view undergoes a change as he says, " Music of varied times change / but eternity has its tune lasting". Undoubtedly the musical trend changes, but the perpetual nature never takes a backseat!

The poem " Human existence in Modern World " talks at length on the variety as he moves from one plane to another. He proves to be democratic as the concluding lines speak, "You had some rights, but now others have the right". His. relatively short poem " Births and Deaths Unseen" sums up the essence in the lines "Births and deaths umpteen / Are occurring unseen! " It is often said that we are not even a speck of dirt in the whole cosmos. The poet talks on the recurrence of dust, no matter how many times it is cleaned! Yet the poet is so generous that he acknowledges the role of the inanimate object without leaving any room of doubt! The approach is reflected at its best in the lines, " No dust can be identified/ Yet the dust has a role dignified/ To play in our life".

It is worth admitting that the poems are different from one another. Each has a unique appeal to cater to the mass. Each generates curiosity in the avid readers. In fact readers always love to indulge in various tastes of life and this book is perhaps the best one to appease their appetite! Moreover, the restrained use of words and expressions has added an extra dimension to this magnum opus!

So it is a pointless exercises to rethink the whole matter. Just pay your visit to a nearby store and purchase the work to deck up your shelf! Indeed the true book lovers would embrace the poet and appreciate his gem like attempt without any further question!!


More by :  Prof. Kunal Roy

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