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Sunita Jain

By Gagan Gill ; Meera Bai
Rajkamal Prakashan, New Delhi, 2003; 2004, pp. 107; pp. 224, Rs. 150.00 & Rs. 250.00

By Gyanendrapati
Radhakrishna Prakashan, New Delhi, 2004, pp. 264, Rs. 295.00


Gagan Gill’s fourth collection of poems Thapak Thapak Dil Thapak establishes her as ‘I-care-a-damn-for-you-critic-reader-fellow writer; I will go my own way and be led by my words alone’. In this collection she pares words to bone-bare them, and in doing so she hopes to invoke maximum charge through resonance, through sound and sound’s lasting echo. In the dust blown desert of her inner self, her persona longs for love, and copes with the inevitable hurt love always inflicts. Alone with her aching and undefined longing, the persona remembers a lost child and turns to her own mother and in doing so to all women in their collective humanity—for support, for understanding, and for vindication. Finally, she finds consolation in a contemplated suicide hinted at by the sly use of words like ‘ghoda’ (trigger) and ‘kanpati’ (earlobe).   Some of Gagan Gill’s poems in the collection are highly realized. In poems like ‘Nichuda Nichuda’ (pp. 22-23) and ‘Behti Behti’ (pp. 28-29) the repetitive ree maa (oh ma) is the age-old howling of all women in pain anywhere any time. Yet, in this involuted world of hers, the word often fails Gagan Gill: great pain demands an equally great resolution to sustain it or it may lead one to the murky marshes of self pity and self indulgence.   The two mythological, historic predecessors of Gagan Gill’s persona, Radha and Meera Bai respectively, have lasted in poetry as subject of poetry as well poetic icons because the object of their love is not a mere man. Krishna as their lover is the lover supreme, a divine lover whom most Hindu women idolize in their hearts right from their childhood. There is no taboo associated with loving Krishna and thus no guilt. In yearning for Krishna you may yearn by proxy for your very personal lover and feel ennobled by this love. The pain of separation from a lover like Krishna when expressed in poetry remains convincing to the reader. The traditional resolution of such pain ultimately is in the beloved’s oneness with her lover. This oneness is not easy to attain, but once attained it is not to be doubted.   Gagan Gill’s persona does not realize this oneness, this sense of no-otherness between the beloved and the object of her love. Denied this classic culmination of pain into spiritual merger, Gagan’s persona lingers on in a ...

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