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Poetic Fragrance of Mahendra Bhatnagar

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Mahendra Bhatnagar, D.H. Kabadi,Y.S.Rajen, P.K. Majumder, I.K. Sharma, I.H. Rizvi, Syed Ameeruddin, S.C. Dwivedi and several others belong to the contemporary creative milieu who have been blooming at the literary horizon with a number of poetry collections to their credit. Dr. Mahendra Bhatnagar is primarily a bilingual writer who credits eleven volumes of poems in English and twenty volumes in Hindi to his credit that speaks volumes about his poetic credit to the literary world. As a great poet Mahendra Bhatnagar touches all aspects of lives — misery, life, fate, death, nature, biography, poetry, art, ambition, hypocrisy, love and many more in one poem after another for the restoration of a counsel of perfection.

As a social painter Mahendra Bhatnagar paints a lovely picture of the hypocrisy, bureaucracy and plutocracy through his poetic world for the revival of a different facets of nature and exhales his poetic fragrance for the essence of the spiritual world. His more than three decades selfless service to the literary world has reserved a permanent berth in the popular psyche of the creative milieu. Karthikeyan and Baskaran comment about his poetic contributions:

“To the poet, the present generation people cannot be termed as human and the ruthless behavior of human beings does not entitle him/ her to call as human . He makes his intentions very clear by saying that he is waiting for an age where a human will simply be called human. There is no separate identify is needed for humans in the name of country, relation, caste, sub-caste, language, dialect, colour, race etc, as everyone of us belong to one category ‘’ Humans’’ . He wants to form a world society where human beings are addressed and treated as Human beings. According to the poet, these factors are holding the human beings apart and they never permit human beings to come together. In a mood to discard the prophets who have descended on earth so far, he yearns for a new seraph, prophet, archangel to incarnate and establish a human religion.”1

Nature is one of the leading themes of his poetry in which he embraces all six seasons in general and spring in particular because spring comes with blossomed flowers, green pansy, coloured jungles, new leaves and fresh buds that enrapture people’s heart with unfathomed joy. Spring symbolizes novel vision, spiritual thought, and stirring imagination that puts the lookers in the seventh heaven without any dispute. Nature is the source of energy, power and force that stares at the sullen germs of the human beings for the fragrance in the days to come. As a poet of Nature Mahendra Bhatnagar sings in his poem Unexpected :

Like all times
Sweet- flourished spring came,
With new leaves
And bracelets of colourful
Flowers.2

Like Tagore Mahendra Bhatnagar is primarily a spring suitor who inhales all forms of spring for spiritual consciousness and exhales poetic fragrances to the outside world.

B.K.Dubey comments about his aspects of nature:

“ Nature poems from Bhatnagar deal with the beauties prevalent in Nature, the colour, dream and fragrance of flowers, the sweetness bestowed upon. To be a Nature poet into be a lover of Nature and the poet perceives the intrinsic relationship between the two. With the change in time and season, the moods and sentiments go changing and this is not all. Even the feelings and emotions of man take a turn. The spring season the flowers in bloom, the sweet cooing and twittering of song- birds and sparrows take him away from the dim and bustle of life, the sick and hurry. The poet comes to mark, feels within and relays to all through the manuscript. What the senses perceive, the poet scripts in to register his presence. Kachanar is one such which really takes the imagination and fancy of ours through its finely sweep :

For the first time
at my door
so bloomed Kachanar
overwhelmed with joy
every branch overloaded!
(‘ Kachanar’ )

Mahendra Bhatnagar first writes in Hindi then he translates into English which is no less than like writing in English. To sidetrack his poetry is to dampen the spirit of translation studies and transcription. In one poem after another, included in Nature Poems, he has presented them afresh to be put into an English garb of expression. Had he not contributed, we would have definitely missed an exponent from the realms of Hindi poetry. Today we talk of ecocriticism and ecology-laced nature poems and keeping it in our view, his poems open our eyes as well as the horizon of new studies which we ought to have stressed upon earlier. The poet sees the world around, catches up with scenes and sights to flash upon the stuffs of his poetic selection. The beauty of the six season, namely spring, summer, rainy, light winter, winter ad autumn, take the canvas away from the poet and he feels lifted away. The season in beauty, dream, reflection and situational reality twitch him for an expression. Most of the poems which he has put in for our scrutiny and perusal touch he dreamy side of presentation and the writer of these lyrics seems to be an escapist. A lover of Nature, a mystic, he dwells attar, goes about floating and dreaming, searching beauty whenever it can be perceived.

In his poem, flowers talk to, winds by, brooks sing, hills magnify the nature and scope of his poetry, as he continues to take us with his sound sense, rhythm, gauge and measurement. One such poem is ‘Charming Flowers’ wherein he speaks of the beautifulness, dreamy fragrance and the spray of scent so nicely, so sweetly that we forget it to believe that we are reading a poem rather than a flowery plant of some garden or courtyard. The intensity of emotion and feeling, the verve of passion and the beautifulness of expression are some of the poetic feature of the poet and he been carrying them forward so elegantly, so graciously. If one seeks to derive something one must get a lesson from the wide, varied and multi hued world of Nature Mahendra has just felt about and has given words and touches to the artistic aspect. Area ding of his poems shows it clearly that herein the poet for the art’s sake rather than morality and didacticism. His poem Gouraiya, translate into English would mean Sparrow , but here the context is one of joy, bliss, nestling and chirping. ‘ Cloud and Moon’ ‘ Moon Light and ‘Poonam’ are like in theme and expression.”3

As a great poet Mahendra Bhatnagar compares biography with poetry because biography deals with past while poetry deals with the present and peeps into future. Biography is a record of happened incidents while poetry is the continuous process that goes on uninterrupted and connects a link between past, present and future. T.S. Eliot makes a connection between these three in his essay Tradition and Individual Talent. To Mahendra Bhatnagar poetry is more important than biography. Comparing between biography and poetry Mahendra Bhatnagar makes a clear demarcation in these lines of the poem Biography:

Biography:
Is a sequence of past,
Lived.
Poetry.
Instant,
Flowing,
Alive.4

Poetry is that water that blows eternally in course of time. Misery, melancholy, and suffering has remained the capital idea of a number of poets from time’s immemorial. It was common with Romantic poets too. Suffering makes a man mature in life. It gives perfection, maturity and clarity to those who embrace smell at heart and soul. The more man suffers, the more man gets. The poet sings his song inspite of the adverse situations piercing Tom, Dick and Harry in this world. Time torments him ruthlessly but his poetic journey goes on beyond the head of the ruthless situations. Mahendra Bhatnagar shares his chequered career with the readers in the poem Enlightenment :

Then alone
I could sing
The song of pain
When the age
Tormented me ruthlessly.5

T. S. Eliot calls the hollow men of the modern society because they are deprived of morality, spirituality and ideology and possess only the flesh into to. Like T. S. Eliot Mahendra Bhatnagar exposes the hollowness of modern man who lives in the fool’s paradise for want of conscience. Man has become thirsty of one’s blood. It is quite impossible for a man to have faith in another because faithfulness has become a story of the past for them. On the contrary people extend their helping hands to those who are fraudsters, black marketers, cheaters and butchers on the name of friendship, peace and prosperity. Man is afraid of man, animal is afraid of man, and plant is afraid of man. Mahendra Bhatnagar unmasks the modern race in all his conscience. In his poem ‘Man’ the poet exposes the hollowness of modern race as a whole :

Man-
miles away today
from man ,
devoid of
intimacy
each step hollow
only full of vanity.6

Mahendra Bhatnagar discusses the significance of love in the life of the human beings because lack of love and wisdom stirs raw mind for terrorism. It is only love that can connect man with man, man with woman, and man with animals, birds and plants. The poet gives solution in his poem ‘ Duty’ while he sings:

To love
People,
Mute animals, birds, sea-creatures,
The forest creepers,
The trees,
Is what a man must do.7
His poetic message is to love one another and turn this earth into a dale of eternal bliss. Love all living beings and make a heavenly world on this strife-stricken earth. The poet propounds the philosophy of suffering of life in his poem ‘ Essence’:

Life-
An experience
Of noon’s scorching heat,
Life-
Of throat pricking needles
Acute thirst.8

Strife of life is better than ever. The chequered career of life makes a man more mature, more sensitive and more conscious than those who have not inhaled the essence of the chequered career. Experience is another name of perfection. Life must go onwards for the better future in the womb of time. Life must be spiritual, magnetic and sublime. It must be fragrant for all those crossing the way of life. Dedication, determination, and devotion are the chief tools of life upon which failure or success depends in the coming days. Life is a crown of thorns rather than a bed of roses. To embrace the challenge of life is the main thing for a man of game person. Life is to blossom, not to extinguish. The path of life is divine and superfine for the spiritual sanctity.

Sunil Sharma comments about his poetic contributions :

“He is a poet of all times-simply because he talks of things that affect one – thirds of humankind and such poets that mirror macro issues can never fade with the ebbing tides. These talented prolific liberal poets are like the seated Colossal Zeus Status of Pheidias that faces that future calmly, his ivory turned back on the past, while forever rooted in the present moment : suggesting a relevance , an unbroken temporal/ spatial continuum that art always is for the viewers of both to-day and to-morrow, and of the lapsed past. At 85, he continues to be positive, hopeful, fertile and critical in his critiques of the changing social order of his country. He believes things will change one day- in favour of the downtrodden and the marginalized of this earth. The eternal optimist in him is right-the recent political developments in Egypt and Tunisia and Yemen are pointers to this eternal fact that ultimately it is the people power that counts and serious poetry articulates these democratic aspirations so well.”9

In a nutshell, I observe that all these poetry collections are the rich harvest of the mature poet that conveys the message of wisdom, freedom and spiritual sanctity for the divine kingdom on this earth. His poetic approach, divine notion, captivating thought and sensational social painting has made him a leading literary luminary of Indian English literature. Mahendra Bhatnagar’s poetic order works wonder for the gander on a land of Menander where his mind- blowing thought, lucid expression, visionary ideology, stirring imagination and painterly painting have made him a poet in a thousand amidst the earthly monarchy prevailing across the continent. Mahendra Bhatnagar’s poetic fame will go up with fresh criticism and spiritual vision by the generations next to him. I complete my comment with this observation :

"Bhatnagar’s nectar
Wages war
For the ocular
Of the secular."

References:
1.Sabharwal, R.K Bhushan, Concerns and Creation: A Critical Study of Mahendra Bhatnagar's Poetry, 2012, Delhi, Indian Publishers and Distributors.
2.Bhatnagar, Mahendra, Life As It Is, 2012, Delhi, Indian Publishers and Distributors.
3.Sabharwal, Dr R.K.B, Concerns and Creation.
4.Bhatnagar, Mahendra, Life As It Is.
5.Bhatnagar, Mahendra, Life As It Is.
6.Bhatnagar, Mahendra, Life As It Is.
7.Bhatnagar, Mahendra, Life As It Is.
8.Bhatnagar, Mahendra, Life As It Is.
9.Sabharwal, Dr R.K.B, Concerns and Creation.

By : Dr. Arbind Kumar Choudhary ,
Head & Deptt of English,
Rangachahi College,
Majuli, Assam, India - 785104.

Visit : www.kohinoorjournal.blogspot.com

Email
arbind442002@yahoo.co.in
arbind.choudhary11@gmail.com
kohnoor@rediffmail.com

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