Indian English Poetry is full of wonders. Surprises are there on every step and you can watch it very closely. Right from Sri Aurobindo to modern-day poets like Arun Kolatkar and K N Daruwala… A kind of search for the missing person, identity, idea or an enigma has always been there in the poetry of Indian English poets. Tagore searched for universal in the local. Aurobindo searched for the inner peace among so many. Derozio’s search for spark in the ruins of the ancient loss could not fruit any remarkably sweet fruit. Toru Dutt was not sure about hers.
At the centre, you will notice, there is always a search that leads to creation of wonderful as well as average pieces of literature. And, to be precise, no literary personality could ever escape this search. Indian English poetry developed to its peak in the hands of figures like Tagore, Aurobindo, Sarojini Naidu and in the modern age, poets like Nissim Ezekiel, Jayant Mahapatra and others have contributed their best to the developing idea and the conscious of Indian English poetry. It was and will never be an overnight phenomena.
Readers of poetry in India are not as many as compared to the readers of prose fiction – novels. This is because Indian English poetry could never compete with English novel in its full glory. Novel kept thriving as a genre and also a medium to make a living. By writing poetry, let me tell you frankly, no one could ever make money in India… as much as to survive with all the necessary amenities… minimum. However, there have been novelists who have created massive name, fame and wealth for them only at the cost of their words… that they put on the pages of their novels.
Who will inspire modern poets? Who will take them beyond the glimmer of social media today? Who will tell modern Indian English poets that the world beyond social media will not appreciate the jargon… will not appreciate the absurd and will not bring any accolade to such trash that they call poetry… Instagram poetry or Facebook poetry… and this is not limited to a language. This contagious infection has penetrated various linguistic groups and we can see online poets emerging like mushrooms every day!
It is hampering the development of poetry. IT is hindering the growth of a poetic conscious. It will never let actual poets come to the fore. And, unfortunately, as readers, observers and critics, we cannot do anything because we cannot control the already controlled minds… and, it is therefore evident, the coming years for poetry in English in India are not going to be game-changer. It will continue to linger with the same pace and in the same fashion – clutches in the feet and enigma in the head!
BY Rohan for The Best Books