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Space, Sensibility and Poetry

Akshaya Kumar

By Bhupinder Brar
Adhaar Prakashan, Panchkula, 2013, pp.103, price not stated.

By Sanamacha Sharma
Authorspress, New Delhi, 2013, pp. 135, price not stated.

By Amarjit Ghumman
Lokgeet Prakashan, Chandigarh, 2013, pp. 134, price not stated.


Besides its official status of Union Terri- tory and a joint capital of two States—Haryana and Punjab, Chandigarh has come to acquire other frames of recognition. It is appreciated for its planned layout masterminded by the French architect Le Corbusier; later on its Rock Garden becomes its cultural hallmark. Sometimes in plain polemical terms it is seen as Nehru’s Daulatabad—a planted capital city with no organic past, yet a modern site of a future India. All these frames suggest that the space of the city by virtue of its design and character cannot claim to have an innate native sensibility that could possibly inseminate its creative urges. Yet over the years as a hub of the service sector economy, Chandigarh has produced poets and writers who seem to take advantage of the historylessness of the space and thus forge a new credo of writing or authorship. None belongs to Chandigarh in a fundamental way as most of its citizens have come from the neighbouring States of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal along with migrants from UP and Bihar. Such are the spatial coordinates of Chandigarh that it speaks in at least three languages—Hindi, Punjabi and English, and thus is free from the perils of monolingualism that very often tend to overwhelm other traditional cities of provincial India. What is remarkable is that its trilingualism is functional and operative, both in its day-to-day transactions, and its literary production. The poets writing in these languages often meet at formal and informal platforms and exchange their poetic output, without any sense of linguistic one-upmanship.   I have chosen the poetic collection of three Chandigarh poets—Bhupinder Brar, Sana-macha Sharma and Amarjeet Ghumman—mainly to foreground the role of space as the address of poetic expression. Rather than approaching these poets writing in Hindi, English or Punjabi, the article tends to make a case for the emerging contours of a distinct Chandigarh sensibility that articulates itself in their poems. But before the contours are mapped through poetic metaphors, it is worthwhile to know the background of the poets in terms of their claims to belonging. Bhupinder Brar, a non-turbaned Sikh, is an academic whose core area is international relations and has written in Hindi, Punjabi and English. Sanamacha Sharma is a Manipurite who did his MA, M.Phil. and Ph.D. in English from Panjab University, Chandigarh. Amarjit Ghumman, a resident of ...

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