Skip to main content

Train of thoughts in Sanjiv Bhatla’s poems moves at an enormous velocity

By Moin Qazi*
“The poetry of earth is never dead” – John Keats
“Looking Back” is Sanjiv Bhatla’s maiden collection of poems. He has several authoritative and scholarly works on religious and spiritual subjects also to his credit. His poems are equally brilliant and bear out the finer sensibilities in him. His anthology was originally published by Orient Longman (now Orient Black Swan).It has now been brought in its new avatar by Crabwise Press. There are minor changes in the edition but the original flavor remains the same. In his brief but pithy introduction, Nissim Ezekiel describes Bhatla as a poet of “great promise ‘and is able to spot the subtle flashes of brilliance that only a great poet like him can decipher in the work of an emerging poet. He writes “…Lovers of serious and difficult poetry have much to brood over when they confront the subtle characters who appear in this book…they remain convincingly human in Sanjiv’s perception of them. He is not their Creator but their Companion, exemplary in his sympathy, even if mildly ironic…”
In ‘My Country Friend And I On A Train Journey’ we have the typical tale of the milkman portrayed with dry irony and wry humor. The ’Café Intellectual’ is a typical satire written in the poet’s characteristic style. Most poems of Bhatla are not fully evolved, using pregnant phrases, revealing partial truths but hinting at possibilities as thoughts are tossed about to germinate and sprout.
Bhatla’s clear-eyed attention and his sensitive mind bring each subject starkly into focus. The economy of words and clarity combined with deft phrasing, grace and wit create an immediacy that is surreal. For instance,
“Life here bustles with activity/ Busy men rushing about everywhere/ in passages and undergrounds; traffic/ tantrums in the sun”
Poetry has been one of the most ancient creative channels for man. With the birth of writing came the efflorescence of poetry. It became the vehicle of expression for all great men, philosophers, saints, savants and even kings.
Like in the case of most modern poets, Bhatla’s poetry is impatient with tradition, unwilling to tolerate any form of binding or control. Bhatla keeps innovating and therefore sheds conventions, abandons set forms, and is always ready to redefine paradigms. The poems demonstrate that in a world being rendered almost totally comprehensible, it is poetry which surprises us by its discoveries, its ever-lively sense of mystery of the universe, its attempt to restore the mysterious, to rehabilitate the sacred and to reiterate the abiding reverence for all life. Just sample this verse to get a peek into Bhatla’s craftsmanship:
“A cat now gapes, sitting/ atop a junked car-hulk lying/ in the backyard of a haunted/ house. Now I find it/ easier/ to develop a logic above pride”
Bhatla casts away the floridity of colonial Indian English verse and uses naturalized language to describe the colours, the heat, the skies, the light, the animals, the surroundings and the crowds in the Indian situation, and breathes Indianness in every poem. He handles complicated and messy subjects with a strong sense of formal order and emotional restraint. We can find meaning and vitality in the verse, “how personal dilemmas can so easily imply/human misery over a cup of coffee?” and “some unformed poem ceaselessly/turning in a poet’s mind, heedless/of the poet’s imploration, netting facts”.
Bhatla’s is a style (and temperament) that is understated, seeking to understand and learn, rather than preach. This is the mark of the liberal, and also perhaps of the poet. The liberal is attentive to the waywardness of social life; the poet, to the incongruities he can spot in human characters. There is an appealing hesitancy to the poems of Bhatla, which comes from a desire to interpret rather than judge.
“Outside, there stood a demon/ Stooping, raking a fire/ That glittered in his big eyes/ Just above the windowsill”
Bhatla’s bold attempt to pursue poetry may come as a strong riposte to those who believe “Poetry is dead, long live poetry!” All these critics miss the broader point. Poetry can’t meet its demise, any more than air or water can die, because poetry in the more expansive sense is not “poetry” in the narrow. Poetry is currency; it is permeative; and it is, thankfully, too big to die. By meaning that poetry is permeative, I would like to emphases that the poetic alchemy of Bhatla is always synthesizing: trying to relate each subject of observation to some other force, phenomenon, or abstract — to find the links between self and community, past and present, inspiration and its source.
One needs to immerse in Bhatla’s poems with great seriousness because the train of thoughts moves at an enormous velocity. Those who are familiar with Bhatla’s prose understand the intense philosophical vigour that permeates Bhatla’s writings. Professor Alastair Niven, who was then the Editor of Journal of Commonwealth Literature (in the late 1980s), wrote about this book: “I am happy to have encountered Sanjiv Bhatla’s immediate and often very touching poems: a series of gentle yet vivid vignettes.”

*Development expert

Comments

TRENDING

Only 15% businesses provide employees real-time sustainability dashboards: Study

Kyndryl in collaboration with Microsoft has released the findings of The Global Sustainability Barometer study. The study, conducted by Ecosystm, finds that while 85% of organizations place a high strategic level of importance on achieving their sustainability goals, only 16% have integrated sustainability into their strategies and data. A Kyndryl note: *** Kyndryl (NYSE: KD), the world’s largest IT infrastructure services provider, in collaboration with Microsoft , today released the findings of The Global Sustainability Barometer study. The study, conducted by Ecosystm , finds that while 85% of organizations place a high strategic level of importance on achieving their sustainability goals, only 16% have integrated sustainability into their strategies and data.

देशव्यापी ग्रामीण भारत बंध में उतरे मध्य प्रदेश के आदिवासी, किया केंद्र सरकार का विरोध

हरसिंग जमरे, भिखला सोलंकी, रतन अलावे द्वारा* 15 और 16 फरवरी को निमाड के बड़वानी, खरगोन और बुरहानपुर में जागृत आदिवासी दलित संगठन के नेतृत्व में आदिवासी महिला-पुरुषों ग्रामीण भारत बंद में रैली एवं विरोध प्रदर्शन किया । प्रधान मंत्री द्वारा 2014 में फसलों की लागत का डेढ़ गुना भाव देने का वादा किया गया था, 2016 में किसानों की आय दुगना करने का वादा किया गया था । आज, फसलों का दाम नहीं बढ़ रहा है, लेकिन खेती में खर्च बढ़ता जा रहा है! खाद, बीज और दवाइयों का दाम, तीन-चार गुना बढ़ चुका है! किसानों को लागत का डेढ़ गुना भाव देने के बजाए, खेती को कंपनियों के हवाले करने के लिए 3 काले कृषि कानून लाए गए । 3 काले कानून वापस लेते समय प्रधान मंत्री ने फिर वादा किया था कि फसलों की लागत का डेढ़ गुना भाव की कानूनी गारंटी के लिए कानून बनाएँगे, लेकिन वो भी झूठ निकला! आज जब देश के किसान दिल्ली में आपको अपना वादा याद दिलाने आए है, तब आप उनका रास्ता रोक रहें है, उनके साथ मारपीट कर उन पर आँसू गैस फेंक रहें हैं, उन पर छर्रों से फायरिंग कर रहें है! देश को खिलाने वाला किसान खुद भूखा रहे, क्या यही विकास है?

How the slogan Jai Bhim gained momentum as movement of popularity and revolution

By Dr Kapilendra Das*  India is an incomprehensible plural country loaded with diversities of religions, castes, cultures, languages, dialects, tribes, societies, costumes, etc. The Indians have good manners/etiquette (decent social conduct, gesture, courtesy, politeness) that build healthy relationships and take them ahead to life. In many parts of India, in many situations, and on formal occasions, it is common for people of India to express and exchange respect, greetings, and salutation for which we people usually use words and phrases like- Namaskar, Namaste, Pranam, Ram Ram, Jai Ram ji, Jai Sriram, Good morning, shubha sakal, Radhe Radhe, Jai Bajarangabali, Jai Gopal, Jai Jai, Supravat, Good night, Shuvaratri, Jai Bhole, Salaam walekam, Walekam salaam, Radhaswami, Namo Buddhaya, Jai Bhim, Hello, and so on.

Tamil Nadu brahmins are at cross roads, their future scenario remains uncertain

By NS Venkataraman*  For over 70 years now, brahmin community in Tamil Nadu have been abused, insulted and even physically attacked on some occasions by those who claimed that they were part of the so called dravidian movement. However, brahmin community silently and helplessly ducked under pressure and showed no signs of resistance or fight back.

Laxmanpur Bathe massacre: Perfect example of proto-fascist Brahmanical social order

By Harsh Thakor  The massacre at Laxmanpur-Bathe of Jehanabad in Bihar on the night of 1 December in 1997 was a landmark event with distinguishing features .The genocide rightly shook the conscience of the nation in the 50th year of Indian independence. The scale of the carnage was unparalleled in any caste massacre. It was a perfect manifestation of how in essence the so called neo-liberal state was in essence most autocratic. 

How Mahakavi Sri Sri defined political and cultural metamorphosis of Telugu society

By Harsh Thakor  Srirangam Srinivasarao, popularly known as Sri Sri, or called Mahakavi (The Great Poet), held a reputation like no other Telugu poet. Today, on June 15th, we commemorate his 40th death anniversary. Sri Sri transcended heights in revolutionary creativity or exploration, unparalleled, in Telegu poetry, giving it a new dimension. His poems projected the theme or plight of the oppressed people at a scale, rarely penetrated by poets, giving revolutionary poetry it’s soul.

1982-83 Bombay textile strike played major role in shaping working class movement

By Harsh Thakor  On January 18th, 1982 the working class movement commemorated the 40th anniversary of the Textile Workers Strike that lasted for 18 months, till July 1983. It was landmark event that played a major role in shaping the working class movement. With more than 2.5 lakh workers from 65 textile mills joining in this strike for almost two years, this strike became one of the most significant strikes in terms of scale and duration All democrats should applaud the mill workers’ united battle, and their unflinching resilience an death defying courage continues to serve as a model for contemporary working-class movements. Many middle class persons harboured opinions that the Textile workers were pampered or were a labour aristocracy, ignorant of how they were denied wages to provide for basic necessities. The Great Bombay Textile Strike is notably one of the most defining movements in the working class struggles in Post-independent India. Bombay’s textile industry flourished in

India may be fastest growing economy, but it is one of the most unequal countries

By Vikas Parasram Meshram  The economic disparity gap continues to widen with economic disparity.  A large portion of the population is dispossessed, while the poor continue to get poorer. They struggle to earn a minimum wage and access quality education and health care, suffering disinvestment from persistently low incomes. These widening gaps and growing inequalities have the greatest impact on women and children.  The Oxfam International report is known to have expressed concern that, on the one hand, the wealth of some people in the world is increasing at a rocket speed.  And the number of rich people is constantly increasing. As a result, the income of the common man is increasing very little, while the wealth of the rich class has increased manifold.  Not only in India but in many other countries of the world, the gap of economic inequality is continuously widening. Oxfam International in its annual report on economic inequality at the World Economic Forum meeting last month, sai

Adapting to edge: Urban and coastal climate resilience - fostering collaborative alliances

By Enid Dsouza  Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) India hosted a workshop on ‘Adapting to the Edge: Urban and Coastal Climate Resilience’ as part of the Climate Action Workshop Series in New Delhi. The workshop brought together experts, practitioners, government bodies, CSR leaders to initiate dialogues on fostering nature-based solutions for a climate-resilient future.

Israel's merciless bombing of Rafah faced huge protests across the globe

By Harsh Thakor*  With the numbers of the murdered in Gaza surpassing 28,000 people, Israel mercilessly conducted bombing to prepare for a genocidal attack on the displaced people in Rafah. Peoples of the world keep rose up like a spark turning into a prairie fire.