Global Correspondent Report on Israel




Changing Trends in New Indian Poetry in English:

Challenges and Directions

National Seminar held at St. Aloysius College, Jabalpur on 10-11 February 2012:

Sponsored by U. G. C., Bhopal and organized by the English Department of the College.

In otherwise calm and quiet cantonment town Jabalpur, graced by the river Narmada, flowing as its vein and hallowed by the presence of bygone rishis and their temples consecrated to ancient deities, this type of function creates pleasant flutter in the life of the inhabitants as it takes into its fold many a participant in various ways.

To begin with I quote few lines from the introduction of the theme of the seminar by its main organizer and convener, the Head of the Department of English of the college, Dr. Neelanjana Pathak, which are quite relevant to the Indian English poetry.

“Today we stand face to face with a phase of rediscovery of the Indian identity through Indian writings in English . . . .

“Indian English poetry is an international genre of Indians by Indians but not merely for Indians . . . .

“The new Indian poet wears the mantle of nurturing the process of adopting English as a medium and amalgamating it with an essentially Indian creativity to arrive at an optimum art . . . .

“There are varied voices, moods, emphases and accents that need to be savoured before we can opine with certainty . . . . The proposed seminar seeks to garner views from across the nation on the core theme to dovetail divergent individual perceptions to a near conclusion.

“The concern of this seminar is also to discuss the present and the future of Indian poetry in English . . . .

“The nascence of Indian poetry in English in this newly gained identity has brought it to centre stage- it celebrates India and it showcases the talents of aspiring Indians who belong to India as well as the whole world.”

The patron of the whole programme was the Principle of the college, Dr. Fr. Davis George who not only inspired by his presence and helps but spoke at length on the theme of the seminar. The Chairman of the Programme Committee was Dr. Fr. Valan Arasu, the Vice-Principal of the college. The very active Organizing Secretaries were Ms. Niharika Lal, Ms. Priyanka Jharia and Ms. Aditee Ranjan, faculty members. Besides them in the Core Committee were professor Soma Guha, Mrs. Mary Raymer and Ms. Marshlyn Porter, all of them active organizers.

The beginning of the programme was by the performance of Nava Rasa or nine emotions in Indian aesthetics as propounded by Bharata Muni in his “Natyashastra”, an ancient work of dramatic theory. While the poems were composed by Aju Mukhopadhyay the performance was done to the satisfaction and full adulation of the audience, mostly by the students of the college.

The Chief Guest of the inaugural function was Professor K. N. Singh Yadava, Vice-Chancellor of Rani Durgawati Vishwavidyalaya, Jabalpur, Guest of Honour was Professor M. S. Pandey of the BHU, Varanasi and Special Guest was Mrs. Sujata Parashar, writer and alumna of St. Aloysius College whose first book of poems too was released on the occasion.

The whole programme was divided into five technical sessions for paper presentation; they came from different corners of India to participate in it. More than 60 papers on the theme of the seminar were presented. The Chairpersons of different sessions were Dr. Subhra Tripathi, Dr. Manish Shrivastava, Dr. Ashok Sachdeva, Mr. Aju Mukhopadhyay and Professor Supriya Agarwal.

There was a poetry reading session on 11 February judged by Aju Mukhopadhyay and Dr. Suneeta Banerjee, Chaired by Dr. Rubeena Banerjee.

The Chief Guest for the Valedictory Function was Mr. Vivek K Tanaka, Additional Solicitor General of India, Guest of Honour was The Most Rev. Gerald Almeida, Bishop, Diocese of Jabalpur and Special Guest was Mr. Aju Mukhopadhyay, Poet, Critic and Biographer.

The whole programme was organised in a very disciplined and coordinated manner, in a very befitting way under the supervision of Dr. Neelanjana Pathak. All the professors and students participated in full cooperation making the welcome of the Guests and others a unique affair. The students took part in dance and songs for a short while.

To end our sojourn to Jabalpur must it be mentioned that Jabalpur has a few Nature Spots unique in many ways, which I fully relished as a Nature lover. First was moving in boat in the river Narmada at a distance of 25 km from Jabalpur, called Bhedghat, with marble rocks on both sides of it, flowing in zigzag way almost ending and beginning again. This type of turn and move as if in lanes and by-lanes are found in mangrove forests. Then a little ahead this river falls deep down from a flat area creating white foamy water sprinkling situation, called Dhuandhar or smoke field. And this is extra, to move round in Dumna Nature Reserve, 13 km away from Jabalpur, with trees and shrubs and some peace loving animals like antelope, spotted deer and a single heron on a boat besides flying egrets and swimming crocs.



A Travel Feature:

Quiet flows the Narmada amid Marble Rocks


While at Jabalpur after the seminar was over, I moved round some Nature Spots in the vicinity; though not very famous to tourists they are unique in many ways which I fully relished as a Nature lover.

First was moving in boat in the river Narmada at a distance of 25 km from Jabalpur, called Bhedghat, with marble rocks on both sides of it, flowing in zigzag way almost ending and beginning again. While in a boat passing through the river with marble rocks of different hues on both the sides of it, even from a close distance it seems as if the river ends its journey between the rows of rocks, but no; as you come very near the end, it gives way opening to a new galaxy with dazzling stars and bright round moon overhead, illuminating the river path below with rows of rocks as usual. Again the same as you proceed; going near the end it turns to find new ways.

While during the mid-sun day parts of rocks dazzle, at night, specially full moon night, the soothing white rays of the moon-disc and stars create a mesmerizing scene; whitening the rocks creating a contrast with the darkish flow of water below. The marriage between the heavenly rays and the white marbles creates a kind of white illusion between the rocky reality and flashing water body.

These types of lanes and by lanes are created by the growing mangrove forest as in Pichhavaram or Sundarbans in the Bay of Bengal with innumerable gnarled roots covering below and spreading around, dividing the vast sea in lanes and by-lanes. At Jabalpur it seems that the rocks were already there when the river began its journey, flowing through the rocks hewing its path, somewhere pushing and smoothing the rocks as it is absolutely necessary to keep going.

A few km ahead the river falls deep down from a flat area creating white foamy body which sparkles and sprinkles water up to a long distance around the falls. It is called Dhuandhar or smoke field. Falling from a flat level land with vegetation, it has similarities with the Niagara Falls falling in similar fashion. It is a mini Niagara Falls.

Then I moved round inside the Dumna Nature Reserve, 13 km away from Jabalpur. Trees, specially bamboo groves and acacia, shrubs and grass lands abound with some peace loving animals; antelope and spotted deer roaming about in the open. There is a huge water body with flowing clear water, connected to the main river. On a stationary boat I spotted a single heron besides flying egrets and swimming crocs in the water.

There are some breath catching wildlife sanctuaries in M.P. like Bandhavgarh and Panna besides the famous artistic heritage temple with attractive surroundings, called Khajuraha. Travels to those areas require more preparation than one or two days, more arrangements. So to avoid disappointment I quenched my thirst with Nature at hand and felt satisfied with quiet nature throbbing at my heart.

To view the photos full sized click on any image.


Prose Poem


The Battle of Salamis


That wealth, armoury and man power
are not the only deciders in war,
is a truth evident in time modern and ancient
as in the battle of Salamis the defeat of Persians.
Greek triremes and pentekonters were small fry
against the huge Persian fleet; beyond hue and cry
but an elephant’s strength though immense
is not effective in every situation and sense.
Xerxes’s over confidence in trying to behold the victory overt
could not match Themistocles’s maneuvering; an oeuvre superb.
The wooden wall barricade at Acropolis was an act ruinous
as it would be to construct a solid wall off the isthmus
of Corinth by Spartans, a work superfluous.

Sicinnus the slave, Themistocles’s choice, was master of fate
in enticing the Persians to enter overnight the strait;
big Persian ships entered the narrow water space
to be entrapped by the wooden walls of Greek triremes;
ships rammed each other, battle began
arrows shot, juveniles thrown and swords clanked
wind blew hindering the escape or any movement of ships
which sank drowning Persians as they did not know to swim.
Xerxes witnessed unexpected havoc as he ignored
the warning by Queen Artemisia who only scored
a partial success, a lioness among the women,
but she refused to share the fate of arrogant and errant men;
joining the Greeks she added force towards victory
Greeks won the battle in 480 B.C. teaching lessons to many.

The battle of Salamis was a great event in history
as the Persian Empire could not make Greece their colony
paving the way towards the emergence of Western Civilisation.
But alas, the great Persians dwindled for the other barbaric invasion.
Invasion and war, battle, defeat and victory
are the emerging process of human history
in this process some landmark events like the battle of Salamis
prove to be a turning point in the march of humanity.









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