When Hindi poets and critics are reading epitaphs on death of poetry in Delhi, it is here in Jammu, that the poetry is in its best bloom. In special number of Srijan Sandarbh published from Thane, it is a real pleasure trip to the land of literature. As many as twentytwo writers of J and K find a place in this anthology ably put together by the guest editor Manoj Sharma, who concludes very aptly, that Jammu is a home of dozens of cultures. In fact, these are sub-streams making the same cultural whole.
Aam Kyon Chup Rahe? (Why did the Mangoes keep silent?) -a small poem by Kamal Chaudhary is typical of feeling of every youth of Jammu. It is a strain so commonly witnessed in Kashmiri migrant poets. Anyway, to my mind, the best example of poetic creativity, placed in this anthology is Pita (Father) scripted by Sheikh Mohammad Kalyan. It is an elegy and it is no elegy. It is personal and it is not at all personal. We, in the Orient, still love our fathers so deeply!
Every line of this poem, written in memory of his (the poet’s) father, makes every reader’s heart feel and re-feel affection of his/her own father. Anyway, from Kunvar Shakti Singh, a resident of Akhnoor, I shall like to listen a poem entitled Chenab Kyon Chup Raha (why the Chenab is so silent)? The young poet has not seen the days when caravans of boats carried merchandise to Punjab that is now-Pakistan. Kashmir’s Hindi poets have been sharp enough to create a campaign through their writings. Rather, they have made their writings, means of their campaign. Not only the Hindi poets of Jammu (including the Kashmiri Pandits now residing in Jammu), this beautiful anthology includes poets like Nida Nawaz and Satish Vimal residing in Kashmir amidst the whole turmoil, pain and agony.
Four young poets of Jammu, have always drawn my special attention: Aruna Sharma, Sanjeev Bhasin, Kamaljeet and Sheikh Mohammad Kalyan. I do not understand, why a poem of Aruna Sharma has been titled Barha (Twelve) in this anthology. Obviously, it is published at serial twelve in her book Prithvian. To my mind, sixteenth small line of the poem-Dati Raho Prithvi
(Waver not O Earth!) could be the apt choice. Imagery is the biggest trait of Aruna’s poetry. I was told that Sanjeev Bhasin has written a set of five poems with the Ladkian (Girls) published here.
A separate collection of poems written by Jammu’s Hindi poets related to what is described Naari Vimarsh in modern Hindi criticism, shall create ripples that echo: Poetry is not dead, it cannot die. The following lines from Sanjeev Bhasin hold the hope and promise quite metaphorically: Toofani thaperon mein Jama deti hain paanv…Rock of Jibralter ban Jaati hain……