***** Glorious 24 years of The Challenge print journal *****


Vol. 23 No. 1 Jan - June 2014

All poems are not good only because they are old. All poems are not bad because they are new. Good and wise people examine both and decide whether a poem is good or bad. Only a fool will be blindly led by what others say.

-Malavikaagnimitram (Great Poet Kaalidaas)

Poetry reflects the inmost feelings and condensed emotions of a sensitive human being. Through its profound appeal to the mind, poetry penetrates deep into the heart. A poet creates verses from the oceanic abyss of thoughtfulness, wisdom and foresight. Poetry provides hope for regeneration in life even on the verge of decay and perishability. It treasures life’s philosophy and can be called a science of emotion. It not only explores the hidden recesses of human life but identifies the reality in the realm of fantasy. With poetry providing novel perspective on life in its totality, it will never cease to flow. In Indian philosophy and poetics, poetry is placed at the top of any art. It encompasses various aspects of life including expression of emotion, feelings, ideology, aesthetic notes and so forth but it doesn’t deal with softer sides of human thoughts alone; it becomes a tool to detect genuineness also. We often come across a debate on poetry’s waning charm for readers these days and its relevance in the technology driven life of people today. However, such criticism ignores and undermines the honest and devoted practitioners of the Muse along with its genuine readers and admirers. Such debates may dent the confidence of poets in their own talent. Poetry is deemed to be the trailblazer of all other genres of creative writing and it will continue to remain one till human life lasts on this earth. Poetry prides itself on the high pedestal of sensitivity that lies at the core of humanity. This only affirms that poetry is essentially a genre dedicated to humanity.

We live in an environment of nerve wrecking violence, negativity and gross insensitivity. Poetry is the balm to calm our nerves. It has the power to enable one to discover the world of sensitivity and peace. It resonates in the heart reassuring placidity after blizzards of social or mental disquiet.

The history of Indian poetry dates back to the Vedic times. The ancient Indian verse dealt largely with pirituality, mysticism, philosophy. It was mostly written in Sanskrit and, later, in various other Indian languages such as bengali, Odia, Tamil, Kannada, Hindi, Urdu. The introduction of English as a medium of instruction in India by the British remained confined to a handful of elite Indians only. H.L.V. Derozio is considered to be the first poet of Indian English poetry. The legacy was carried forward by eminent pre-independence poets like Sri Aurobindo, Rabindranath Tagore, Toru Dutt, Sarojini Naidu, Michael Madhusudan Dutt. The baton was then honourably accepted by Nissim Ezekiel, P. Lal, A.K. Ramanujan, Dom Moraes, Jayant Mahapatra, Keki N Daruwala, Kamala Das, Vikram Seth and other luminaries. The preindependence Indian English poets were much influenced and impressed by the western themes and forms and they were often dubbed as ‘imitators’. But, the post-independence poets manifest a vibrant indigenous spirit and one cannot miss the Indian flavour in these writings. The contemporary Indian English poetry has established itself to an extent on the global platform; the poets exude confidence and conviction in their handling of English as a creative medium.

We are glad to produce a special issue on Contemporary Indian English Poetry and Poets as a humble initiative on our part to assimilate some critical essays on the poets and their poetry, representative poems, interviews of the poets and book - reviews to make sense of the latest poetic trends in Indian English poetry. Effort has been made to accommodate poets from different parts of the country and also a few who stay away from India in far off lands but remain Indian in every other way. The issue contains pieces on and of both established and budding poets. Even though, there is an obvious need to edit a series of special issues to do justice to the range and variety of Indian Poets, the present issue, would hopefully reflect the hold of Indian English poets on varied themes and forms. No thematic considerations have been adopted in the selection of poems in order to trace and accommodate the wider scope and range of Indian English poetry. Our heartfelt gratitude goes to all the contributors who have reciprocated with alacrity at such a short notice. Special thanks to Dr Jaydeep Sarangi, who has been a great motivation and force in bringing out this issue.

I believe the present issue would delight the amateurs and connoisseurs alike which would be a great motivation for us in our future endeavours.

Heartily yours,
Manoj Kumar Pathak