(A Quarterly International Peer-reviewed Refereed e-Journal
Devoted to English Language and Literature)
Sudhir K. Arora. Cultural and Philosophical Reflections in Indian Poetry in English: Footprints (Volume I). New Delhi: Authorspress, 2016. Pp. 324. Price: Rs. 1300/- (Hardcover). ISBN: 978-9352072064
Reviewed by Abnish Singh Chauhan
Critic of ideas and literary ingenuity Dr Sudhir K Arora’s Cultural and Philosophical Reflections in Indian Poetry in English: Footprints I, which (also other volumes) has already generated tremendous amount of curiosity and communication among the lovers of Indian Literature in English, is a prudent and strenuous endeavor to compose this, along with cultural diversities, thematic varieties and colourful patterns of values of more than sixty early Indian English poets, into a single volume. The book does so, for the most part, with an excellent critical analysis of themes, tones and textures of these poets of pre-Independence period with a tender touch of a literary historian confidently revealing socio-cultural, spiritual and philosophical visions of life in the contemporary scenario.
The critical book carefully segregates romantic flight of fancy from realism and social fervor from individualism in the interpretation of myths, traditions, legends, folklores and other images of rich Indian culture as reflected by the poets likes Henry Derozio, Kashiprasad Ghose, Shoshee Chunder Dutt, Michael Madhusudan Dutt, Govin Chunder Dutt, Greece Chunder Dutt, Hur Chunder Dutt, Omesh Chunder Dutt, Nobo Kissen Ghose, B. M. Malabari, Toru Dutt, Cowasji Nowrosji Vesuvala, Joteendro Mohun Tagore, Manmohan Ghose, Romesh Chunder Dutt, Sri Aurobindo Ghose, Joseph Furtaoo, Sarojini Naidu, Rustam B. Paymaster, Hasan Shahid Suhrawardy, G. Annaji Rao, Rabindranath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda, P. Seshadri, Dhan Gopal Mukherji, Peshoton Sorabji Goolbai Dubash, Harindranath Chattopadhyaya, Fredoon Kabraji, Jehangir Rustomji Patell, Swami Ram Tirtha, S. H. Jhabvala, Paramahansa Yogananda, Samuel Solomon, Beram Saklatvala, Raman Vakil, Kapil P. Thakkar among others; and justifies, in its own ways, their idealism, sentimentalism and personal and social relationships for the spiritual growth of an individual in order to know and realize the ultimate truth of life on earth. Therefore, the book not only examines the adverse critiques of R Parthsarathy, K N Daruwalla and some other writers of modern age for early Indian poets, but also exhaustively exhibits the role of cultural ethos and spiritual ardor in the formation and growth of these poets, knowing well that some of them focused on the ‘form’ rather than the ‘content’ in their initial stages, while some others, later on, successfully developed their own cult and craft to delineate desires and dreams of Indian society of their times.
Generally, a true critic doesn't worry about trends of time, place and state; he simply writes what he deems fit and fruitful for the genre and the masses as well and, therefore, everything connects itself and automatically evolves at the same time in his creative world. The same thing happens in this magnificent work, which not only highlights the poetic outpourings of these poets making the base for the creative writers of post-Independence era, but also enlightens the readers to study, explore and enjoy the journey from one poet to the next with enlarged and reliable bibliography of their poetic achievements and historical advancements during the British Raj.
As the readers go through the book, they also find it significant and praiseworthy for its exuberant presentation of known and lesser-known poets and their fragrance of love, peace, joy and harmony together with their propagation of pain, suffering and endless longings. And the more they look in and around, the more they come to know what inspires them, what they really like and what they really want to preserve for and apply in their further communication. Accordingly, the book fosters a technique of bringing the readers into emotions and thoughts, sometimes to help them think and reflect and often to help them grow their worlds of knowledge and get back to the Universal Flow. No doubt, the book holds magical powers for the readers of universal community if they know how to interact with the poets of the past and recount their poetic tales and how to love and appreciate the creative beauty of a critical manuscript through the proper application of heart and brain in the self-centered world.
Dr Abnish Singh Chauhan (1979) is a bilingual poet, critic, translator and editor (Hindi and English). His significant books include Swami Vivekananda: Select Speeches, Speeches of Swami Vivekananda and Subhash Chandra Bose: A Comparative Study, King Lear: A Critical Study, Functional Skills in Language and Literature, Functional English, The Fictional World of Arun Joshi: Paradigm Shift in Values and Tukda Kagaz Ka (Hindi Lyrics). His deep interest in translation prompted him to translate thirty poems of B S Gautam Anurag under the title Burns Within from Hindi into English and some poems of Paddy Martin from English into Hindi. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.