When we talk about Indian English poetry, we have too many thoughts knocking the doors of our mind and too eager to come out through our mouth, tasting our tongue and passing between the jaws… only if the people talking are from English literature background. However, perhaps or even surely, only a tiny percentage of people living in India cares to study English literature. After all, where does it lead? Leaving that aside, let’s concentrate on Indian English poetry for a few minutes – minutes that I spend writing this article and minutes that you will spend reading this article. The primary objective to write this article is looking for the present status of Indian English poetry and comparing it to the current wonderful, luxurious and magnificent stature that Indian English novel enjoys. Why did it happen?
Indian English poetry, it seems, stopped being creative and meaningful (leaving aside beautiful for the moment) the time poets began copying or blindly following the trends set by poets outside India. While following a fashionable trend in clothing might make us look modern, blindly following it might make us look ugly, meaningless and mindless, as well. And the same stands true for poetry as well. We forgot the examples set by the USA and also by France and to an extent, Ireland. While most of the poets writing in English blindly followed whatever Shakespeares of England had written, the USA developed a trend, a style and a poetry of its own – and without a surprise, they also marked their deviations in the language BOLDLY!
Indian English poetry came out of the wombs of English poetry and that is a truth we will have to accept. Not without a surprise, the poems by the poets like Aurobindo and Tagore (with exceptions) could not reach many readers because of the national conscious involved in their works. Sri Aurobindo’s poems, to me, will be the forever living examples of INDIAN ENGLISH POETRY and all others (sweeping remark, yeah) will be poetry produced by Indian poets writing in English.
Just to remain favourable to the English press with high prejudice, poets could not care to develop a style or even use the themes that could connect to the consciousness of Indian readers. They wrote whatever they found worth being copied. They copied blindly and thus, they ruined what could be a wonderful source of entertainment and education. Sarojini Naidu and Mahapatra, Kamala Das and Ezekiel… yes, there were the poets who tried, in flashes, to bring ‘Indian’ to their English poetry, INDIAN which was more than just a watermark. Right now, except for a few modern Indian English poets, there are very few who can even understand what an Indian conscious is important for English poetry written by Indian English poets. They just write – go online – post their works and earn a few likes and retweets… happy as ever! Is it worth it?
I will be reviewing some of the books by Indian English poets in this series and I am sure the loves of poetry will like what’s coming their way. Keep reading!