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Atlas of Contemporary Hindi Imagination


Akshaya Kumar

KAVI KA AKELAPAN
By Manglesh Dabral
Radhakrishna Prakashan, New Delhi, 2008, pp. 195, Rs. 250.00

POORA GHAR HAI KAVITA: HINDI KAVITA KA PARIDRISHYA
By Neelabh
Vani Prakashan, Delhi, 2008, Rs. 300.00

KATHOPAKATHAN: SAKSHATKAR
By Arun Kamal
Vani Prakashan, Delhi, 2009, pp. 168, Rs. 225.00

SAMKALEENTA AUR SAHITYA: APNE SAMAY MEIN KAVITA AUR GADHYA KA LEEKHA-JOKHA
By Rajesh Joshi
Rajkamal Prakashan, New Delhi, 2010, pp. 308, Rs. 450.00

VOLUME XXXV NUMBER 1 January 2011

In this review article, the atlas of contemporary Hindi imagination is mapped through the coordinates of various literary and cultural markers that figure prominently in four critical works published in the last two years. The works under review are not critical in the conventional generic sense for they consist of interviews, short articles written for newspapers, obituaries, prosepoems, bookreviews and formal critical essays written over a period of time by their respective authors. Their year of publication is also slightly misleading for each book covers entries/articles already published in leading Hindi journals during the last decade or so.   Authored by frontline Hindi poets, the books chosen for review are at best byproducts of their poetic pursuits. There is a distinct advantage in taking books of such mixed and motley character for critical mapping: one gets a hang of the Hindi scene, its creative cravings as well as its critical outreach almost in one go. The act of mapping, here, does not entail a simple recognition of the socalled Hindi heartlands border outposts; rather it involves an identification of its very habitus and field. Answer to key questions such asWhat are the poetic dispositions of contemporary Hindi imagination What is its stance on criticism and critical theory What relationship does it forge with other Indian and world literatures Does the contemporary Hindi scene suffer the postcolonial pangs of what Bhabha terms interruptive interiority and disruptive transgressionswould be culled from the reading of the four books for a nuanced cartography of contemporary Hindi scene.   Though all the four poetcritics stop short of positing a rigorous and wellargued theory of contemporary Hindi poetry, yet reading across their reviews and critical comments on a range of Hindi poets, both contemporary and predecessors, one can possibly hint at some of the theoretical presuppositions of Hindi poetry at the turn of the millennium. According to Rajesh Joshi, To express the ultimate truth of humanity, poetry [first] needs to enter into the difficult details of life only to transgress them later(p. 21). Clearly it is a rejection of orthodox reflectionist view of poetry. Manglesh Dabral relapses somewhat into the Eliotesque hangover when he is dazed by that magical virtue of poetry which transforms it into an impersonal statement, beyond the scope of its creator (p. 101). But then he qualifies that a poet has to take the risk of leading life simultaneously inside the poem, and beyond ...


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