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Indian Writing In English Nissim Ezekiel Essay

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Indian poetry has flourished over the last 4000 years. Today, it is composed and written in more than twenty Indian languages, including English. It has always echoed the voice of the times and revealed the pains and passions of the people. Its growth has also reflected our rich cultural heritage. The history of Indian poetry makes us aware of its glorious past in contrast to its present state. Today, as the world is shrinking and the communication network projecting man on the global scene much faster, the past values are getting lost in the struggle man is involved with. Issues confronting man have multiplied and so have his efforts for survival. Poetry today is facing the test of time. Poets need to be organized more vigorously than in the past to voice effectively their innermost thoughts and interact with each other more often. Giving away of awards to some of the few distinguished ones is not enough. Poets in India need to be encouraged in their creativity if we expect their contributions to transform our society. New life is to be given to old values which had stood us in good stead for so long. The poets should come to the forefront to undertake this job. As such, organized efforts need to be made to promote the production and publication of good Indian poetry. Poetry written in different parts of India needs to be collected, interpreted and propagated. Indian English literature (IEL) refers to the body of work by writers in India who write in the English language and whose native or co-native language could be one of the numerous languages of India. It is also associated with the works of members of the Indian diaspora, such as V.S. Naipaul, Kiran Desai, Jhumpa Lahiri and Salman Rushdie, who are of Indian descent. It is frequently referred to as Indo-Anglian literature. (Indo-Anglian is a specific term in the sole context of writing that should not be confused with the term Anglo-Indian). As a category, this production comes under the broader realm of postcolonial literature- the production from previously colonised countries such as India. A much over-looked category of Indian writing in English is poetry. As stated above, Rabindranath Tagore wrote in Bengali and English and was responsible for the translations of his own work into English. Other early notable poets in English include Derozio, Michael Madhusudan Dutt, Toru Dutt, Romesh Chunder Dutt, Sri Aurobindo, Sarojini Naidu, and her brother Harindranath Chattopadhyay. A generation of exiles also sprang from the Indian diaspora. Among these are names like Agha Shahid Ali, Sujata Bhatt, Richard Crasta, Yuyutsu Sharma and Vikram Seth. In modern times, Indian poetry in English was typified by two very different poets. Dom Moraes, winner of the Hawthornden Prize at the age of 19 for his first book of poems A Beginning went on to occupy a pre-eminent position among Indian poets writing in English. Nissim Ezekiel, who came from India's tiny Bene Israel Jewish community, created a voice and place for Indian poets writing in English and championed their work. A significant and torch bearer poet is Nissim Ezekiel.Recent Indian English poetry adds to, what O.P. Bhatnagar terms as, a process of collective discovery, affirming its richness, sensitivity and cultural complexity. If we examine the potential of the poery-making mind in English, we should now discover aspects of the essentially assimilative genius of the Indian people, snf a celebration of the vast chorus of voices that make Indian literature sing. These poets write with an awareness of their milieu and environment rather than British or American rhetoric or intellectual attitudes like alienation or exile. They share the central core of contemporary realities of Indian life.

The Indo - Anglian poetry is said to be essentially Indian and everything else afterwards. It expresses the essence of Indian personality and is also very sensitive to the changes of its national climate and it voices the aspirations and the joys and sorrows of Indians.

It has been opined, that the Indo - Anglian poets are of two factions. The neo-modernists and the neo-symbolists. The outlook of the former is coloured by humanism and irony and that of the latter is imbued with mysticism and sublimity, but a perfect blend is achieved by the two groups in the realms of beauty. A perfect example, of anlndo - Anglian poet, who was able to arrive at a synthesis between the two factions of poetry, is none other than Sarojini Naidu, for she took her stance in the neutral, middle ground, between the sacred and profane sphere of poetry she was at home in both the worlds and found them united in the realms of poetry.

Nissim Ezekiel occupies an important place in post-Independence Indian English literature. He has wielded a great influence as a leading poet, editor and an occasional playwright. Besides, he is a well-known critic. Sometimes he also emerges as a politician in the guise of a fighter for cultural freedom in India. Ezekiel held many important positions. He was for many years a Professor of English in Bombay University. He is a noted name in the field of journalism. In this capacity he was editor of many journals including Poetry India (1966-67), Quest (1955-57) and Imprint (1961-70), He was an Associate Editor to the Indian P.E.N., Bombay.

Considered to be the Father of post independence Indian verse in English, Nissim Ezekiel was a prolific poet, playwright, critic, broadcaster and social commentator. He was born on December24, 1924 in a Jew family. His father was a professor of botany and mother was principal of her own school. Ezekiel was inclined to the poets such as T.S. Eliot. Yeats, Ezra Pound in his school days. The influence of all these literary personalities was apparent in his early works. His formal use of the English language was linked to colonialism and resulted in controversy.

His first collection of poetry 'Time To Change' was published by Fortune Press (London) in 1952. His poetry has all the elements of love, loneliness, lust, and creativity. Nissim Ezekiel went on to join The Illustrated Weekly of India as an assistant editor in 1953. 'Sixty Poems' was his next book followed by 'The Unfinished Man'. Nissim E...

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