A new anthology brings together poetry of dissent from all over India
Nabina Das & Nirupama Dutt
Contd from previous issue
Penned in different languages and touching a wide range of subjects, words rise out of the despair to mark a dissent with the scheme of things.
These words are not mere words but the anguish and despair of a people with whom poetic dissent has been a way of life for thousands of years. The rhythms of doubt, debate, and resistance date back to the Vedic times, move onto the medieval times, and are prominently present even now when the popular perception of the poet as the witness is reaffirmed in no uncertain terms.
Amid the vast array of poems from different nooks and corners of the country, those declared and other undeclared disturbed areas, from the Brahmaputra in the Northeast to the Liddel River steaming forth through the Kashmir highlands, this book showcases striking voices that arrest the ears.
From the lilt of the Adivasi tea-garden dialect of Assam, to Dehwali Bhili, Santhali, Kokborok, and several Indian languages rendered in English, as well as Englishes from diverse poets, this anthology captures the essence of many registers in India. The strident tones and images draw the attention of the complacent middle class and the privileged as a reminder of what tragedies have been wreaked by the enablers upon the people of the land.
Whether it is the cries of starving children, or digital blockades of a people calling for azaadi, bullets to the head and heart, blood stains and tears, women battered and erased, or choices of love and food, the poets turn witness to the times in this vast collection to the events that have been unfolding before us day after day on themes related to oppression.
Be it religion, gender, caste, creed, mental health, diversity, as well as pride and prejudice of all kinds that enveloped the sub-continent like never before in recent times, the poets in this collection have come together like never before, their voices united. While some of the major names of contemporary poetry grace this anthology, there are several new and emerging names from different parts of the country – new poets who usually are swept away by the tide of hegemony even in literary arenas – who have had the courage of standing witness to the atrocities of the times.
(To be contd)