Hindi review
Modern verses
Harbans Singh

Angaron Par Nange Paon
by Madhav Kaushik.
Penguin .Pages 93. Rs 75.

Angaron Par Nange Paon is a landmark publication since this is one of the first books of Hindi poetry to be published by Penguin Books and has understandably aroused considerable curiosity. The author, Madhav Kaushik, versatile as he is, is by his own confession, primarily a ghazal writer. This puts him at the risk of constantly being judged in comparison with such consummate artists as Jigar, Asghar, Faiz, Fani or Firaq.

Probably the reader needs be considerate to the fact that since ghazal does not come naturally to Hindi poets, they have to laboriously work not only on the craft but also the subject. However, one need not be apologetic of the nascent nature of ghazal writing in Hindi, as a number of Kaushik’s couplets testify.

While appreciating Madhav Kaushik, it also needs to be remembered that though ghazal in the hands of poets like Mir, Sauda, Zauq and Ghalib has the whole range of human experiences, its traditional form is restrictive in serving modern life. It is only in the hands of Faiz that this delicate poetry form constantly threatens to explode with the intensity of revolutionary fervour and emotions. But in lesser beings, it often peters out into banal statements.

Madhav Kaushik has made laboured attempt at using contemporary experiences. However, one fails to understand his inability to take advantage of the poetic liberty of Urdu writers of changing the spelling to match the pronunciation for balancing the meter. Hence, some of his lines are awkward and suggestive of flaws in ‘beher’.

The publishers need to be appreciated for not many established names are prepared to publish contemporary Hindi poetry. It is hoped that it is a conscious attempt to strike a balance between the fast moving subjects and the more leisurely read discipline like poetry.