Hindi poetry has travelled a great distance. If we mix everything written in languages like Hindi, the history of Hindi literature in India will go back many centuries before, even older than the supposed dawn of English literature. However, even keeping in mind the recent, the 20th-century and the contemporary phase of Hindi literature, those who are fittingly able to identify with the bars raised in the title will understand (and I certainly think they will) that we have been losing all our wonderful, beautiful and colourful feathers. Sad. True. Accept it.
The fury of Subhadra Kumari Chauhan or the detached verse of Nirala, the musical rhythm of Bachchan or the coveted realism of Agyeya, the emotions of Mahadevi Verma or the wonderful imagination of Jayshankar Prasad… where are these? Where have we left these things behind? And why, if I may ask? What are modern Hindi poets doing today? When do they get time after their ‘semester me ane wali’ concerts or you sing I clap mushayaras? What are they writing?
I am sure that the true, devoted, well-read readers of Hindi poetry must be losing hope that someone from this generation can produce those sonorous chants of Himadri tung-shring se prabuddh shuddh Bharati. I am equally hopeless for the sword of 1857 to shine again. I am also waiting incessantly for Madhav to appreciate a great warrior in Dharma Yuddha once again. I am waiting for someone to lull me into sleep with wonderful, philosophical and rhythmic verses like the ones I have enjoyed in Geetika by the wandering poet… who will give us all that satisfaction of reading Hindi poetry once again? When will Goddess come back, looking from behind the lines and syllables of Saraswati Vandana like she did once when we were young enough to stand in the school field in the mornings singing those?
Modern Hindi poets, who are often the headlines of literature news sections on many websites for the concerts they do or some YouTube controversy, will have to think about poetry at some point. Their conscience should call them, and better be it, to produce meaningful, wonderful and beautiful poetry so that the current generation doesn’t forget the original taste (and test as well) of literature.
I will leave the readers of this post with something that they can recall and instantly connect to. And then only you will realise what makes me sad when I go to buy poetry collections by modern Hindi poets in India. I hope we get to read many wonderful poets in Hindi in the coming years. And for that, it is our responsibility to let them know what do we think…
Himadri Tung Shring se by Jayshankar Prasad
हिमाद्रि तुंग श्रृंग से,
प्रबुद्ध शुद्ध भारती।
अमर्त्य वीर पुत्र हो, दृढ प्रतिज्ञ सोच लो।
प्रशस्त पुण्य पंथ है, बढ़े चलो बढ़े चलो॥
असंख्य कीर्ति रश्मियाँ,
विकीर्ण दिव्य दाह-सी।
सपूत मातृभूमि के,
रुको न शूर साहसी॥
अराति सैन्य सिन्धु में, सुबाड़वाग्नि से जलो।
प्रवीर हो जयी बनो, बढ़े चलो बढ़े चलो
By Alka for Indian Book Critics