Arbind Kumar Choudhary , the editor of Kohinoor and Ayush, is a prominent poet of Indo- English known across the globe for more than 1000 poems in English to his credit. His nine poetry collections consist: 1.Eternal Voices (2007) , 2. Universal Voices (2008) ,3. My Songs (2008), 4. Melody (2009) ,5. Nature Poems (2010), 6. Love Poems (2010) , 7. Nature (2011), 8. Love (2011), and 9. The Poet (2011) that unfold his poetic philosophy without fear or favour.
Dr. Choudhary has propounded his own theory of poetry and also has innovative poetic style may be called Arbindonian scattered here and there throughout his works. Dr. Choudhary is basically a Romantic poet who covers the major aspects of the Romantic movement – flight of imagination, sensuousness, love of nature, pictorial elements , mythical characters, subjectivism , medievalism, humanism, imagery, symbolism, love, beauty, melancholy, lyricism, novel vision , innovative style etc that is deeply rooted in the soil of India. The mystic vision which is so common with most of the romantic poets is also an essential part of his poetry. His diction and style, too, are also in line with most of the Romantics.
The poet may be called the poet of the spring because his staring spring hints at the petting. The spring of season and spring of life make life joyous and fruitful on this earth. The spring stirs for sexual activity. Winking is the twinkling of the caroling. Prussian blue is her hue. His spring suitor stirs the stunner for affaire’d amour. The sapling spring is a saturation bombing over the heart- rending of the pudding. The phlox’s influx is the billet doux of the minx for the sphinx. The silex likes the codex of the pontifex:
The gay of fore- play
Is a gala day
To stir the heyday
Of the may of jay.1.
Tagore is a poet of seasons. In this stanza the old winter is teased by the boys and girls representing spring’s heralds. Nobel laureate R.N. Tagore murmurs melodiously in The Cycle of Spring:
“We seek our playmates,
Walking them up from all corners
before it is morning.
We call them in bird-songs ,
Taking back his plunder from him.
You shall lose your heart to us, O Winter
It will gleam in the trembling leaves
And break in to flowers.”2
Tagore brings to light the significance of those things that are fruitful to the society as a whole. Many masses hanker after those sugar canes laden with Juices that can be chewed or sucked by all the thirsty beggars. Man must take a lesson from these trees because only the juicy sugarcanes are saved and nursed. The unused trees are rarely nourished . The wise man is worshipped everywhere unlike the unwise man criticized all the time.
Man has to learn a lot from Nature and her glittering objects to convert this earth into a dale of the honey. The bamboos are not made only for the flutes but are made for multi purposes in this world. The lean and thin bamboo stand high in the sky because they are variously useful on this earth. Tagore opines that man must make himself high in life because he is variously useful . Man is also the part and parcel of the beautiful creation of this world. Like Tagore Choudhary loves trees, woods , rivers, jungles, mountains, hills, birds, insects, lakes, oceans, seas and other natural things and wishes to have a balance between our lives and these natural objects, complementary to each other.
Majuli is not only a heaven for lover’s tomb but also a place best suited for pillow – talks where duos are mingled in themselves. He concludes the poem with these beautiful lines:
“She is bliss of solitude.
She is a paragon of promendate.” 3
But he is against the defloration of Nature that haunts the human being . In ‘The Earth’, he sings in the opening of the poem:
“The willow and the meadow
Show the courage of straw.” 4
And he closes the poem with this couplet:
“Winking of the foliage
Arch looks the personage.”5
The sacred river Ganga is a congregated might like many a voice of one delight. The enigmatic flow of her vale profound runs wild with rough diamond. The vital feelings of her delight ridicule fatal feelings of delight. In sonnet ‘ Keki N. Daruwalla’ he murmurs:
“The Ganga, The Ghagra and Haridwar
Contend for good humour.” 6
And in ‘ R.N. Tagore’, he refers to Tagore’s use of Nature in various forms to enliven his poetry. He sings:
“Flowers, clouds and buds
Distend his poetic wavebands.”7
He has mirrored successfully the image of India in his four line poems. He has dexterously sketched the pathetic light of our nation which is suffering from the malcontent and disorder both inwardly and outwardly, inwardly when each Indian is disappointed and dismayed on account of Jealousy, hatred and ego and outwardly when the entire society of nation suffers the evils like casteism, regionalism, terrorism, communalism or any other sort of violence. Both the diseases lead to India’s malcontent consequently. He deserves high praise as he has tried his best in uplifting the moral standard of man of today.
His poetry collections gave a new direction to English literature and added a new dimension to Indian literature in general. Right from the days of Kalidas Clouds had been at the central of literary imagination in India also, it acted as a medium for philosophical musings. But the nature he adores is the nature of cool shade, green countryside happy valleys and flowing rivers. In them, history, imagination and geography mingle without an iota of conflict.
Spontaneity, ease and fitness of expression became with Choudhary an eager passion which led him to discontent with the old and outworn and drove him on ever in restless quest for faultless forms in which to clothe his thought. In an interview with Patrick J Sammut,editor of Versi,Malta, Choudhary replies: “To be a human being without poetic pigment is like a soulless flesh. To be a poet is better because my love lies in poetry rather than elsewhere.To mould the fetor into an odour is the celestial fire of the muser, times best jewel.The ether of the poetic zether is the fetor if does not replace the fusty of nebulosity in favour of celestial odour across the globe. The poetic paysage pierces the paling hearts, sooths the solitude and stirs sensations for purifications .My maiden wife in life is poetry.”8
His thoughts as well as his poetic style and musical diction possessed a boldness and sublimity resembling the roar of the sea. They were unmixed, sincere and morally high, and at the same time dignified, independent and spontaneous. Such was his memorable and enviable career led in the enjoyment of that happiness which comes of a saintliness of character. Though he was a unique and majestic personal, he never thought any task too humble for him. Clear sightedness, lucidity, sensuousness, ease, gift of expression and melody are the conspicuous features of Choudhary’s style. One the side of form and style, he is the most romantic of the romantic poets, handling even his Greek themes with a luxuriance of language and a wealth of diction as far as possible removed from the temperance and of Hellenic art.
More over, there is one formal peculiarity which is exuberantly present in Nature, is noticeable in all his works, the return to the highly enjambed couplet, which had for a moment fascinated poets of the century of more importance still is the wide exploration in subjects – Medieval, Classical, purely fantastic, and miscellaneous in which Choudhary has mastery over his contemporaries. The poet presents his own poetic thought and style in the boldest relief, but in order to do so, he ranges over antiquity and literature in search of subjects which serve for the stuff, not so much of long narratives, though sometimes also of these, as shorter lyrical or quesi- lyrical, outbursts idylls, what not, in which musical and pictorial effect – are conjoined and the conjunction further informed by the poet’s own meaning and view. His genius at any rate is still and quite mature condition in which we have it, does not seen to have tended to the shaping epic or dramatic work, combining considerable bulk with exact proportion. In particular Choudhary showed a curious power of entering into the thought and sentiment of other times.
Choudhary’s power of vivifying is also marvellous. In the endeavour to revival in literature the effects of the painter and the sculptor, Choudhary rarely writes for the eye merely but vivifies every thing he touches, telling even of dead and senseless things in term of life, movement and feeling. Choudhary fished the murex up that is to say rediscovered the scored of color in verse. In bringing home to one a vivid picture of natural scenery or of any beautiful object, he is unique among poets. Reminiscences of Shakespearean phrase and melody are common in all his works and very few Indian English poet has inherited so fully Shakespeare’s gift of pregnant imaginative phrase. Choudhary’s faculty of word painting shines with incomparable brilliance. The art of poetical word painting culminates in the imagery. Choudhary excelled in visualization, in a languorous music and in richness of imagery.
His use of words is wonderfully fresh. His felicity of diction is very captivating. He revived old words, coined new ones and put current ones to a new service, with a confidence and success unequalled by any other contemporary poets. His epithets, compounds and phrases are very felicitous and charming e.g. Full throated case, careful death, etc. The ideas which he does handle are in a different region, life and death, love and fame, beauty and sorrow are the chief of them.
In the preface of “My Songs” the poet makes it clear that ‘ to lead a poetic life is to embrace a crown of thorns as a bed of roses’. Suffering is the dominating theme of his poems. Struggle is the law of progress. Suffering is the badge of humanity. Suffering is the spiritual vision of life. The more one suffers, the more one gathers. Suffering makes us more mature in life. Tis held that sorrow makes us wise. Sorrow is tranquillity remembered in emotion. It is suffering that has made him divine. To enjoy eternal bliss suffering in life is necessary.
In the words of the poetess Mahashweta Chaturvedi,
“One becomes conscious
About the power of observation,
Thinking of the poet Arbind
Like lotus smiles in the
In his poem “The Poor” the poet sings that “The palmy days of life /is the felicity of strife”10.It is said that the poor are the worst sufferers and are forced to lead a hellish life. But the poet possesses a positive approach for such a pathetic person:
“Paupers are not the time’s fool
But time’s best jewel”11
Like Keats Choudhary is pre-eminently a poet of sensations. His art is full of passions, it is, above all, aspiration and desire, and the object of this desire is not the intellectual beauty of Shelley but that which reveals itself of the enchantment of the senses. It is easy to discern in his poetical works the whole gamut of sensation, set off by a richness and an softness of coloring which reveals the complacency of a refined fondness. The cup of voluptuousness which nature offers to mankind is tasted by a sensibility which finds in every drop of the food for poetic thought. Pleasure becomes spiritualized into joy and the joy becomes identified with beauty.
While Wordsworth is a philosopher poet, Shelley a prophet poet, Byron a rebel poet and Keats a painter poet, Choudhary is pre-eminently a sensational poet. Almost all his poems contain his marked quality of his poetic art. He is visibly a disciple of Spenser and delighted in pen-pictures and pen-portraits.
The color, the scent, the touch, the sound of nature stirred his heart to the very depths, there is not a mood of earth he does not love a season that will not cheer and inspire him. Like Keats he is sensuous in the sense that delights and luxuriates in all things that please the eye, the ear or the tongue. In his mind, he dwells in palaces, beautifully wrought and carving. He travelled through the realm of gold; he tasted exquisite fruits and spices, smelt roses and lilies. The glitter of the sun seemed to make his nature; he luxuriated in sensations, and went into raptures order the taste of claret or of a fruit. In almost of his fine works we find him sailing in the same vessel of sensuousness.
The Romantic element in him appears in his choice of subjects and his manner of treating them. Pagan sensuousness, the spirit of antique myth and legend, the far off chivalric and legendary romance, his passionate pursuit of beauty in all these things, the romance of birds and flowers and all other objects of Nature, suggestions of finery world – all these and many more are among the varied springs of Choudhary’s far sought romance, and are but different forms of his cult of beauty. It is a temper in Choudhary of unlimited and unmuffled pleasure, a sensitive, girt life sensuous pleasure in beauty, and in the consolation of beauty to the soul. He flies from the beautiful objects of Nature to another in a butter fashion, tasting and sipping honey, and little caring to settle down upon one.
The distinctive feature of his lyrics is that they are not only an expression of his personal feelings and emotions but also those of others. The Dramatic monologue, a poetic form, partly drama, partly poetry, reached its highest perfection in his hands. His poems are marked by an extraordinary intelligence about emotions and emotional life. He earned a deserved reputation with his forthright language and searching honesty of intelligence. Like Auden he has enlarged the vocabulary, syntax, rhythm and imagery of poetry for the benefit of younger writers. His obvious devices, internal rhyme, half rhyme, assonance, sprung- rhythm verbs and other desirable parts of speech, his puns, and conceits.
In Melody the poet murmurs:
“The luxury of misery
Is the nunnery
For the osculatory
On the periphery of paltry.”12
The sequence of the alphabet l-m-n-o-p in an stanza makes him a great innovator of his own style.
His vocabulary is extensive and comprises terms of many languages and the technical terminology of science, philosophy and anthropology, and he has the power to charge ordinary and innocent looking terms with a wealth of association which reminds of the art of James Joyce. His images are new precise and clear and his lyricism has struck a new note in English poetry. He is an artist with fine sensibilities and considerable technical accomplishment and his work is widely admired today for his lyricism, sensuous imagery, psychological penetration, introspective insight and his advocacy of the inherent dignity and nobility of the individual.
He is primarily a love poet. He is mainly a poet of sadness and of loneliness. Though Choudhary is pre-eminently a nature poet.
His work has always been inspired by a deep sense of belongingness rooted in Indian myth, legend and history. The different aspects of his poetic theory were completely merged in the artistic expression so that they become inseparable parts of the whole. He further maintained that in his poetry he strove to make work expressive of action gestures by introducing into his even more serious poems, various kinds of wordsplay, voice tones; and punch lines and other action devices have been noted by the critics.
In the words of the Nobel Prize nominated Austrian poet Kurt. F. Svatek, “My Songs is the third book of a trilogy ,entitled Eternal Voices(2007) ,Universal Voices(2008) and even My Songs(2008).They all are written under the influence of the Classical, the Romantic and the Elizabethan Writers and are compact poems in rhyme and meter. And that is not so usual and remarkable in our days…………Choudhary considers his poems as brain children. But it seems to him earthly life must injure, a bed of roses is also a bed of thorns. Sometimes the earth is the limbo. So, his way of writing is clear and powerful written in a high linguistic level”.13 In his review of My Songs Patrick J Sammut opines,”Structurally, Choudhary prefers regular stanzas, and in general makes use of the English sonnet format (three quatrains and a final couplet). From the lexical point of view Choudhary’s first choice are registers linked to nature (especially the microcosm) and Oriental and Classical mythology. That of Choudhary is not a simple language for readers not familiar with Indo-English. However, one does understand that his is a direct message, one with a moral, political and social stance”14. A contemporary of Chambial Choudhary is one of the most versatile and prolific writers of our time. As a poet, reviewer, critic and editor, he still delights readers with his inventive genius, sense of fun and love of paradox.
2. Tagore , R.N, Collected Poems and Plays 2008, Macmillan India Ltd, P. 479.
3. Choudhary,A.K,My Songs,2008,IAPEN,P.21
6. Choudhary,A.K,Universal Voices,2008,P.18,IAPEN
8. Sammut,Patrick J,ed Versi,Malta,P.13.
9. Ayush, Jan009, No1, Vol.1, P. 41
10. Choudhary A.K, My Songs(2008),I.A.P.E.N,
13. Choudhary,A.K ed Ayush,P.63-64
Dr. Bijay Kant Dubey has 18 poetry collections in English to his credit till date. Dr. Bijay Kant Dubey, Head, Deptt of English, Chandrakona Vidyasaar, C.V. Mahavidyalaya, Chandra Kona Town, West Medinipur,W.B – 721201