Prof Asim Ranjan Parhi’s poetry collection “Sons and Fathers” is where the poet aspires to devote a place in the canoe.
English Indian scripts. Poems written allegorically carry meanings beyond the visible. Reading poems is deeply refreshing, like sips of cold water on an unbearably hot and humid summer day. Invigorating, like “sleep after fatigue,” to borrow a phrase from Edmund Spenser. Poetry, the most ingenious form of the written word, anchors the thought of the poet. Needless to say, one’s thoughts are shaped by copious readings that are deep and gripping, among other eclectic influences. Poetry is an act of sincerity. The poet tries to transform the personal and deeply felt thing into language as an irreducible art.
Writing poetry can be a poet’s way of being alone. Being alone is not an escape from this worldly life, but an evolution, a kind of liberation, like that of the prostitute Pingala (one of the twenty-four gurus of Abadhuta in the Srimad Bhagwat Gita). waiting in vain all night for a young but wealthy client. Many of the poems “On Sons and Fathers” reflect the poet’s privacy. However, since writing poetry is an opinion, the poet’s experiences are not only his own, but in a way, it is a metaphor for everyone. Transforming the personal into the universal, the contemporary into the timeless is a distinctive feature of the discussed poet that distinguishes him from a dozen.
“On Sons and Fathers” is essentially about the archetypal relationship between a father and son. It is a complex but subtle relationship. Needless to say, it is an untouchable bond and is as old as time. The famous Sri Lankan writer Daya Dissanayake pointed to this relationship and said in the preface of the book: “The entire collection is about fathers.
and his sons through the ages – Past, Present and Future”. Famous British Professor Supriya Choudhury’s perceptive interpretation of the book is as follows: “…an epic written in a lyrical style…” Prof Parhi’s poems are not far from reality; They came out of “joy and tears”. The poet’s love and longing for his son makes his poetry passionate. His son, “The only love between chaos and noisy thoughts of life.”
As the poet’s experience is the traumatized relationship of the human self, he keeps the Mahabharat at the center to explain his emotional turmoil. Although the poet was educated in English literature, he did not turn his attention completely to the West to express his feelings. Instead, he tried to be “himself,” an Indian self in which Indian culture took precedence. It takes us to the great epic Mahabharat and some western classics to meet Karna, Durjyodhan, Krishna, Pandavas, Kauravas, Hastina, Sita, Draupadi, Kunti, Hamlet and Henchard. He deliberately used Indian words such as Madalashi, Mrutunjaya, Sthitaprajna, Adharma, so that the Indian feature comes to the fore. Reading his poems brings an ecstasy that permeates the whole being of man.
The poet’s troubled mood is reflected in the traumatic life of Karna, whose identity has been questioned many times. In a caste-based hierarchical social structure, her unknown parentage deprives her of her identity. Needless to say, Kunti abandons him and is forced to face the high-scale harsh air of a caste, malevolent society due to low birth. Kunti’s selfish intentions are revealed, the stereotype coupled with the mother figure is boldly questioned by the poet. The poet’s love of nature and his desire to protect his fauna are emphasized in some of his poems.
As a revolutionary and daring to question society, the poet speaks out against the practice of sacrificing animals to perpetuate the worship of false gods and goddesses. He urges everyone to stop worshiping carnivorous gods and become vegetarian.
The value of a poem lies not in its paraphrased content, but in the rich ideas it contains as well as its structure. It is always ideas that confuse and activate the reader’s mind. In Ars Poetica, Archibald Macleish offers a weighty definition of poetry that seems contextually relevant. “It’s not poetry, it’s being,” he said. With such a strict measure, the impurities in the poem will be filtered and the sheep will be separated from the goat. But the poems discussed fit the core of Macleish’s definition of poetry. Also, these poems stand apart for their use of short but subtle vocabulary that fosters brevity that keeps the poet in good standing. In addition, the poet has the skill of expressing himself with a witty brevity. Poverty is love’s immense power / Fathers are punctuation marks / Victory is only relative… explain the point. There are also lines in the collection that aspire to be witty. For example: The Karnas of the World are never children / The sons of the world are forever fatherless / I have made peace with great defeats / Depression is not frustration: one is poetry, the other is arithmetic.
Depression is temporary and creative rather than wearisome for the poet. His hope did not fade as he wholeheartedly believed that nothing lasts forever and that winter turns into spring. Man is not born to admit defeat. Contextually, Maya Angelou’s words seem relevant: “We may face many defeats, but we must not be defeated.”
The father is the one to whom the poet’s imagination returns more than anyone else. There is a vast mind within the fragile framework of the body called the father. It represents vitality – a life force, an energy. He is not just a physical being; it is the perspective of a great consciousness. It is a blend of ancient wisdom and contemporary knowledge. A father is “always young to act”. Unlike a mother who is always like a busy bee for her children and family, in Amrita Pritam’s words “mother never gets old”, a father is born old. Even if “his car falls” and he has to face “brahmastra” and “pashupata”, he moves forward undeterred by his “stubborn and fiery zeal”.
A father takes care of his son and in him “all the earth and the sky appear bright” (About Sons and Fathers). But he “cannot stand (his son’s) sullen eyes”. The father is a psychological rather than a physical construct, perhaps even a spiritual construct.
The poems in the collection are cathartic, refreshing and fresh. When you finish reading these poems, they offer a meaningful moment in a hectic world. Readers also feel connected to the words and to each other. Poems are elegant because of their simplicity. They are immune from arrogance and pedantic ostentation that would otherwise be ridiculed for corrupting poetic morality. The poet’s ability to embrace his personal situation and turn it into a strong verse, in a language that touches the heart of the reader, evokes a depth of emotion that persists long after the poems are read.
(Referee: Dr Biswal is a former Associate Professor of English. Poet: Prof Asim Ranjan Parhi HoD, PG English Department, Utkal University, Vani Vihar).
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