Tapati Baruah Kashyap’s A Discovery is a beautiful arrangement of poems in a single book-form that have previously appeared in different esteemed journals like The Sentinel, Replica, Poet and The Journal of Poetry Society of India. The book contains thirty six poems that took birth when the poet was journeying through the path of life with the only ‘companion’ of ‘Silence’. It is better to quote her own words when she says:Honestly speaking, all these poems are discovery of my sense perceived at different situations and experiences of life when silence was my only companion. (Words of Gratitude)
The poems composed in silence need silence again to enter into the being of the readers and agitate their conscience. Therefore, the poems that were composed in the back drop of series of violent incidents perpetrated by armed groups in Assam during which several innocent people had to sacrifice their lives for no fault of theirs need special notice of poets and critics so that a wider audience may equally experience the invisible claws of death over the lives of the innocent persons and their inexplicable agony. The poems of this collection are both subjective and objective equitably; subjective when she seems discovering her own self and objective when her own self is tormented by external inhuman and cruel forces and when she exhibits her genuine concern for the humanity at large. The realistic images drawn by her make the reader discover the root cause of the tragedy of human life which is in jeopardy on account of ethnic violence in Assam as well as discover the true identity of man in ‘nobody’s world’. But it is only the silence where she discovers ‘sense’. It is the silence which is a passage to her soul and an opportunity for realization and can make her heart’s door open and suggests her to keep it open. Most of the poems of the collection are suffused with realism so they contain skepticism, nihilism, dejection, hopelessness and deep pain in themselves and at times she becomes too inquisitive to ask death:
Why are you so harsh?
No sympathy for the humanity
Where do you exist?
Is it your pride?
To destroy the earth
At your own wish . (32)
The poems like ‘Death Disrupts’, ‘Death Prevails’, Death is Disorder’, ‘Death Pollutes the Air’ and ‘Song of Death’ deal with the theme of death with a mode of research and skepticism. Her questions like ‘When there is no end/ How is life possible’ (41) or ‘Why death? / what were their sins?’ and the answer, ‘nothing –nothing-nothing’ (39) or her suppositions to death as ‘the healer of pain’ or ‘a shower of serenity on / the helpless soul of earth!’create skepticism and reflection in the mind and heart of the readers.
Tapati appears to be successful in making her readers more reflective and thoughtful on the varied shades and emotion of life. But all the skepticism and pessimism (of poets) that arises out of the material world may shed if we remember Tagore who sings (in Bangla): ‘Jibone yata puja holona sara,/Jani he jani tao hainin hara,/ Ye phul na futite jhareche dharanite,/Ye nadi marupahte haralo dhara,/Jani he jani, tao haini hara./ Jibone ajo yaha rayeche piche jani he jani, tao haini miche.
Which means ‘The prayers which I have left incomplete/In my life time,/Are not lost, I know/The unblossomed flower which falls/On the earth,/The river which lose its course/On entering a desert,/Are not lost, I know/Even to day the things/Which are left behinds/Are not in vain, I know.’
Therefore, if she remembers that the man dies but his soul lives on, her poetry will be more reflective, inquisitive and remarkable because her incessant urge to search, to know self is more powerful than other contemporary poets writing in English. The book is aesthetically designed and moderately priced. I avidly urge other scholars and academics to cast their critical glance to such a fresh and qualitative poetry.
Shaleen Kumar Singh
Sai Neeharika, Patiyali Sarai
Budaun (U.P.), India
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