Lahar by Jaishankar Prasad – poetry collection – book review

Post Category: Poetry
Lahar by Jaishankar Prasad book review

Jaishankar Prasad is undoubtedly one of the most-loved figures in Hindi literature in India. His poetic art was unrivalled. He was able to fuse patriotism, history, romance and elements of life together in his works. The grandeur of his dramas like Chandragupta is still to be matched by contemporary authors of Hindi and seems largely improbable because of the misplaced priorities. However, let’s focus on Jaishankar Prasad today. I will be sharing my views on a collection of his poems published by Lok Bharati Prakashan. 

Lahar by Jaishankar Prasad is a collection of 33 poems, including a very long poem Pralay ki Chhaya and a few long poems. Such publications are not only rare these days but also obscure because the standard of Hindi used in contemporary literature has been reduced to mobile jargon, SMS-Hindi and roadside Urdu. For readers of such writers, reading and understanding Jaishankar Prasad will not only be a challenge but a challenge next to impossible. Nevertheless, I do encourage them to read Lahar so that they can witness the form of Hindi literature with all its ornaments intact. 

The collection is full of poems mostly recollecting the ‘chhayavadi’ concept of Hindi literature which is wrongly juxtaposed with Romanticism in English poetry. The chhayavadi concept of Hindi literature, largely Hindi poetry, is not what we think Romanticism of English literature is. And extending this concept to Jaishankar Prasad’s poetry, Chhayavad gets even more dimensions. 

हँस लें भय शोक प्रेम या रण,

हँस ले कला पट ओढ़ मरण,

हँस ले जीवन के लघु लघु क्षण

देकर निज चुम्बन के मधुकां,

(ओ री मानस की गहराई)

Likewise, in synchronisation with the extract above, many poems are there in this collection celebrating life, love, loneliness, tears, laughter, and all those high-low emotions of life. The language fittingly complements the emotions narrated by the poet. 

Jaishankar Prasad’s ability to make even the ‘negative’ aspects of life look beautiful is unmatched and rightly so has been displayed in this poetry collection. You will find it when you start reading right from the very first poem of the same name as the title of this poetry collection. Well, to match what I have been ruminating about, here are a few lines from poem number 6: 

                          जिस निर्जन में सागर लहरी,

                        अम्बर के कानों में गहरी,

                    निश्छल प्रेम-कथा कहती हो-

                   तज कोलाहल की अवनी रे!


         जहाँ साँझ-सी जीवन-छाया,

      ढीली अपनी कोमल काया,

     नील नयन से ढुलकाती हो-

   ताराओं की पाँति घनी रे ।

The major inspiration for life – something that we all cherish and want to have with us incessantly – is found in plenty in the poems by Prasad in this collection. However, discussing the long poems and a longer one, many critics have ascribed much value to those. Ashok Ki Chinta offers a wide range of thoughts on life, life’s purposes and the best ways we can let the oil of life burn. Sher Singh ka Shastra Samarpan discusses the valour of the warriors who lost their lives but not the zeal to fight… and thus remain immortal in the songs of many. The longest one, Pralay Ki Chhaya, offers the readers an insight into the quandary of the queen of Gujarat, Kamala, who wants to continue to live in order to be able to defeat the pervert, murderer, savage Allaudin Khilzi. 

To end this article, Lahar celebrates life and death, and everything in-between that decides which lives are to be celebrated and which ones to be made exemplary. The linguistic capabilities of the poet Jaishankar Prasad are still unmatched and should be so for a long time because of the vanishing standards of modern language in contemporary literature. And therefore, anyone who wants to get immersed into the world of imagination and reality and the point where these two meet should read this collection as soon as possible! 

Buy the Kindle Edition from Amazon India – click here 

Review by Ashish

Lahar by Jaishankar Prasad – poetry collection – book review
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Lahar by Jaishankar Prasad – poetry collection – is a collection of 33 poems celebrating life, death, loneliness, love and valour… alike!

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