(A Quarterly International Peer-reviewed Refereed e-Journal
Devoted to English Language and Literature)
Abnish Singh Chauhan, Trans. B. S. Gautam Anurag’s Burns Within (Translation of Hindi Poems into English). Delhi: Sanjeev Prakashan, Nov 2015. Pages 73. Price : Rs. 200/- (Hardcover). ISBN 978-81-88-462-77-3. Web Address: http://burnswithin.blogspot.in/
Reviewed by Marie Shine
Burns Within, the translation of Brajbhushan Singh Gautam Anurag’s thirty Hindi poems into English by talented, capable author Dr Abnish Singh Chauhan, begins with the preface in which the translator clearly tells about the poetic journey of B.S.G. Anurag and his contribution to the world of Hindi literature with some specific facts, which go to make up this outstanding writer. Together with the explicit preface and the suitable flap, a very productive, impressive and insightful translation of his poems into English along with the original text in Hindi whets the readers’ literary appetite, making them hungry to taste the literary food of the poet.
The poet Anurag, whose poetry is very potent and has the ability to reduce the readers to tears with a stroke of his skilled pen, uses a wide poetic canvas to paint through his words the real and complex images of modern life, largely growing into various shades of pain, as a result of love and happiness being replaced by hatred and fear, compassion by coldness, non-violence by violence, harmony by discord, truth by untruth, honesty by dishonesty, sharing by winning or grabbing, justice by injustice, spirituality by materialism, etc. Pain, which is so intense, is also felt within the womb of Mother Nature: “Dried are the fountains of love and affection/ Deep pain,/ fluttering like she-cobra/ in the womb of the earth.” Though this pain makes him sad, he is not hopeless. He continues his struggle, knowing it well that life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass; it's about learning to dance in the rain: “O my God!/ My indigence in your love/ wants to dance— sing alone/… Please play on your flute/ and spread aroma of your songs/ and watch the dance of my indigence.” Hence, he, having true love, deep faith and full dedication to the Supreme Being, makes a very modest and gentle request to Him for his favour for the fragrant growth of human and non-human entities of the universe: “Remove /the smoke of explosives and tunnels/ lay between the sun and the man/ Developing the internals in us,/ create some synchronized grand soul/ Transform / every particle of explosive dust/ into odorous flowers to bloom.”
The title for this exquisite book of poetry, which is published in both the forms— print and electronic, is also striking and appealing and is perhaps derived from the quote of the artist supreme, Vincent van Gogh: 'A great fire burns within me, but no one stops to warm themselves at it, and passers-by only see a wisp of smoke.' Unlike these words, the book is a place where readers will warm their minds, their hearts and their spirits, and the words will curl and wrap themselves around them like the wisp of smoke in the quote. Besides, the readers will not only recall the words long after they had stopped reading them, but also, making them their companion, cause them to give more thoughts to what they have read and understood from it.
On the whole, Anurag’s poetry, which springs from his personal experiences, raises significant issues of modern society and confidently gives us the outlines about what needs to be done to transform the world we live in back into a place of love, joy and beauty. Hence, the book has the capacity to grace each and every library, whether at home or in a public building if translation of poetic works, particularly Hindi-to-English, is considered a fruitful pursuit and given significant place in the libraries of English language and literature.
Marie Shine (1950) is a poet of Listowel, the literary capital of Ireland. She started her journey as a poet in 1965 with her first poem ‘Galway -v- Kerry’ published in a national newspaper The Evening Herald. After that she wrote a number of poems appeared in various magazines and newspapers across the globe, but her first collection of poetry My Potpourri of Poetry could come out very late in 2011. She resides at 32, Ballygologue Park, Listowel, County Kerry, Ireland- V31 EC84 and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org