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The Poetry of Keki N. Daruwalla: A Critical Study

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Item Code: UAT247
Publisher: B.R. Publishing Corporation
Author: Ravi Nandan Sinha
Language: English
Edition: 2002
ISBN: 9788176462945
Pages: 187
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 370 gm
Book Description
About The Book

Ravi Nandan Sinha, Reader and Head, Department of English, St. Xavier's College, Ranchi has been teaching for twenty-five years. He has a Ph.D. degree from the University of Ranchi. He is a poet, literary critic and translator. His poetry and literary criticism have been published in reputed journals of India as well as those of U.S.A., Canada, Japan, Korea and so on. His poetry has been translated into Portuguese, Spanish and Japanese. He has translated Hindi poetry into English. His translation of Mahendra Bhatnagar's poetry has recently been published under the title Exuberance and Other Poems from Delhi. He has nine books and over forty scholarly papers to his credit. Since 1987, he has been the Editor of The Quest, an established Indian journal devoted to Indian writing in English.

About the Author

The Poetry of Keki N. Daruwalla: A Critical Study is a detailed analysis of the work of the poet, a major contemporary Indian English writer. The book explores the various aspects of Daruwalla's poetry such as, its social dimension, its use of motifs of death and violence and its exceptional ability to create a sense of place and character. The book also discusses Daruwalla's poetic craft. The study takes into account Daruwalla's books from Under Orion to A Summer of Tigers.

Keki N. Daruwalla has established himself as an important voice in Indian English Poetry. The richness, power and complexity of his poetry place him in the same category as the best anywhere in the world. He is a poet with a powerfully developed social conscience whose humanism is expressed in form that is evocative, subtle and oblique. His poetry broadens the imaginative range of the reader and adds a new experiential dimension to his life. It has a thematic universality with a rich sub-surface web of signification. In this study the author attempts to analyze the historical, social and philosophical roots out of Daruwalla's poetry grows. The comprehensive analysis of Daruwalla's poetry in the book will make it useful to students, scholars and teachers in Indian universities.


This book seeks to introduce the reader to the poetry of Keki N. Daruwalla, a poet of great substance and power but also one who has not been written on as much as he ought to have been. For many, an Indian writing poems in English is a person who is trying to reach the deepest recesses of the reader's consciousness riding on a language whose cultural centres are thousands of miles away. In the beginning, and in the first flush of their interaction with English literature, many creative men and women in India entered into the extremely hazardous area of writing poetry in a foreign tongue, though as many would hasten to point out, for people like Toru Dutt and Manmohan Ghosh, English was not exactly 'foreign'. Many poets of that time have left us verse that has sweetness and charm, though sometimes it is somewhat derivative, as some poetry of Derozio and Michael Madhusudan Dutt undoubtedly is.

The task before contemporary poets like Daruwalla is much more difficult than it was for the first generation of Indian poets in English. Today, expectations are higher. There is another reason why poets like Daruwalla and his contemporaries have to struggle much harder than poets like Sri Aurobindo and Sarojini Naidu. Both Sarojini Naidu and Sri Aurobindo had a towering stature based on their non-literary achievements, and this factor made it easier for them to be accepted as poets. To say this is not to suggest that their poetry is not good but only to remember the fact that poets like Daruwalla and Ezekiel (and indeed their equally talented contemporaries) do not have such a grand platform to stand on. They are accepted or rejected, admired or ignored, purely on the basis of the quality and power of their poetry. They have achieved a certain recognition in India and elsewhere and their best poetry is the most potent argument against the contention that good poetry cannot be written in English by non-native speakers of the language. One need not feel unduly self-conscious about calling poets like Daruwalla, Ezekiel, Mahapatra and Shiv K. Kumar great.


Keki N. Daruwalla (born 1937) has emerged as a forceful voice in contemporary Indian English poetry by virtue of his compact expression, individualistic style, varied themes, and topical relevance. To this day, he has produced eight volumes of English poetry, namely Under Orion (1970), Apparition in April (1971), Crossing of Rivers (1976), Winter Poems (1980), The Keeper of the Dead (1982). Landscapes (1987), A Summer of Tigers (1995), and Night River (2000). In these volumes Daruwalla displays his alertness to immediate surroundings, to pitiable conditions of the people and raging problems of the country. He is a poet who moves on a wide canvas and shows flashes of humanism and naturalism in his poetry. There is a good deal of social criticism, even social satire steeped in wit and irony, in it. Unlike several city-bred poets, he moves out into the open space, shows his sensitiveness to society at large and to the environment around him. As a poet, Daruwalla raises his powerful voice against the rampant corruption and moral degradation of modern man. If a poem like "Notes" in Winter Poems unfurls before us striking images of abject poverty, "The Middle Ages" in A Summer of Tigers highlights the sickening scenes of violence and lawlessness (to which the police system also contributes substantially). There are poems on famine and hunger, bribery and gambling, hoarding and profiteering. unemployment and want of opportunities. He holds leaders and politicians responsible for having created such a pitiable condition. These leaders and politicians beguile the people with their hollow promises and sugar-coated tongues. In his poems like "The People" (in Apparition in April) and "Caries" (Winter Poems). Daruwalla blames even the people to allow themselves to be exploited by manipulating politicians.


Keki N. Daruwalla is one of the foremost contemporary Indian poets who write in English. Widely published, he is a poet who knows what he wants to say and how. His lines are taut and lean and have a ring of authenticity about them. The apparent effortlessness with which Daruwalla's transactions with reality are transmitted into poetry shows how much ground Indian poetry in English has covered. The very term Indian poetry in English has generated strong passions on both sides of the divide: one side believing that poetry in English by an Indian is at best a curiosity and at worst a monstrosity, while the other group like P. Lal and others believes that really Indian (meaning pan-Indian) poetry can be written only in English. This debate is pointless because poetry itself is a language and, as it has been said so many times, it is not the poet who chooses a language but the language which chooses the poet. About his use of English, Daruwalla says:

What led me to use English? First because I took naturally to it..... I hopped across half the continent, from school to school, changing from one medium to another. Starting with a year in Kindergarten...... I went to an Arya School-medium: Punjabi, sentiment: pro-Hitler. Three years there and then to Junagadh and two years in an Anglo-Indian school, came the partition and Shamaldas Gandhi and all our sweet-looking teachers fled, and I had to spend woeful year in a Gujarati School. From there, to Rampur in U.P-2 years wrestling with Urdu. But Hindi like a much thwarted Nemesis finally caught up with me and, during my last two years in school, I went to bed with Devanagari...... With this background, the question of writing in any other language never arose.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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