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Full of sensitivities for sensitive souls!
By Shiva Kant Jha
REVIEW OF FOUNTAINS OF HOPES ,
a collection of poems by Dr S L Peeran,
Member (Judicial), CESTAT
Published by Bizz Buzz, Bangalore
No of Pages : 68; Price : Rs 50/-
DR Johnson said, with his characteristic perspicacity
and crispness, that 'the business of a poet .... is to examine, not
the individual but the species; to remark general properties and large appearances.
He does not number the streaks of the tulip." In doing this business,
Dr Peeran in his Fountains of Hopes , has shown remarkable moral courage
and rich esemplastic imagination. Most of the poems in this miscellany of his
poems show without doubt that he is at the most conscious point of our generation.
Like Thomas Mann's Death in Venice , the poems make us reflect on our
civilization, which glitters with sophistication, but is degenerate, decaying,
and corrupt. The poet brings to our mind the Wallace syndrome, explained with
force by Alfred Russel Wallace, emanating in our high technological age from
the worrisome malady emanating from fast changing technology and stagnant morality.
For quite sometime, I have been thinking, in course drawing
up the first draft of my book The Cultural Crisis of Our Times, about
the pathology of our times. I find that my research and reflections are leading
me to develop the same insight which made Dr Peeran express his criticism of
our times in words so felicitous and images so sensuous and suggestive as these
in the poem entitled 'Modern Times'.
Lo! Day and night passing by -
Slipping into new zone of modernity,
Mall culture, cell phones, plastic money,
Condoms, junk food, single mothers,
Gays, night dancing girls serving
Wine teasing young minds for fun;
With bonhomie and poppy culture all around.
The images and their sequential juxtaposition configure and
choreograph before our mind's eye the process of our decadent civilization where
the irony, [to which W B Yeats referred in his 'Second Coming' ("The best lack
all conviction, While the worst are full of passionate intensity")], is writ
large, though shrouded under, to borrow the words of Sombart, 'oozing
flood of commercialism' which is, through stealth and deception, dragging
the Western civilization down. In 'Raining Fire and Brimstone' he asks God a
devastating question reminding one of the question Job had put to God in the
Holy Bible's Book of Job. The poet asks:
"O Heaven Where is Thy promised Mercy?
The poet has a song in his soul when he says 'I look up now
for fresh dreams'. However, we reap only the consequences of our deeds. The
poet says in 'Fountains of Hope':
Let's find shores bereft of saline waters.
A place where brimstones don't rain.
These words echo what Lord Krishna had said in the Bhagavad-Gita
. The poet adds new dimensions of thoughts given birth under our contemporary
mores and circumstances. The Lord said:
Atmaiva hy atmano bandhur
Atmaiva ripur atmanah.
We are ourselves our friends; we are ourselves our foes. It
is this understanding, which led the poet to navigate through numerous themes
of great contemporary relevance. In this high creative pursuit, the poet evaluates
many ways, and measures many institutions of our times. He weighs them with
insight; and where he finds them wanting, he responds to them with dexterity
in the language of suggestions. Nevertheless, on a careful reading of the poems,
one experiences a dominant note and a supreme assertion in the poet's abiding
HOPE. The Mahabharata says that it is futile to become
sad for the sufferings that are common to most people. Prudent men always endeavour
to find ways to get over them. It is worthwhile to recall what Horace had told
Ulysses: 'never be overwhelmed by the tides of misfortune' ( adversis rerum
immerasabalis undis ). The poet is right in saying 'Destiny will judge
me right one day'. Hence, it is time to act. The parable of Penelope's web shows
that Hope alone helped her survive her drudgery in order to achieve her objective:
she lived and worked with Hope. All of us live, as Goethe says:
At the whirring loom of Time unawed
I work the living mantle of God.
Ours is a great democracy. We can survive in glory only until
Hope survives. Lord Bryce, after noting what ails democracy, observed:
"Hope, often disappointed but always renewed, is the anchor
by which the ship that carries democracy and its fortunes will have to ride
out this latest storm as it has ridden out many storms before."
This collection of poems is well titled.
What enthralled me most was the quality of the imagery in the
poems. It is true that what images convey depends largely on 'our capacity to
visualise'. A reader's observation post and his spiritual attainments determine
the range and quality of poetic experience which imagery can communicate to
him. However, the images of the poems are expressive and suggestive as they
acquire meaning from the central thread in the poet's deep-felt thought. The
poems evidence a sensuous shining forth of ideas with rich resonances that lasts
long in the mind of a perceptive reader. Stock-responses do not mar the poetic
excellence. Metaphors are not worn out. The poet moves in his poems from peak
to peak after sojourning on plateaus: this is natural when one reflects the
complex realities of our times, and responds to these with utmost good faith.
It is remarkable that nowhere the poet is heuristic. He keeps his reader agile
and reflective through the cavalcade of the poems. The poems are highly
readable. They deepen our perception, they delight us, and they inspire us.
They prove that poetry is not dead in our locust-eaten years where
the overweening commercialism is turning even human beings into commodities
for sale. This reviewer hopes that the poet's oeuvre would receive
wider appreciation world over.