Vihang Naik is a young and fresh poetic voice from Gujrat. He is now highly admired and critically analyzed by the critics and poetry readers. Apart from teaching for more than a decade at Ambaji College, Vihang Naik has been writing poetry and gaining room in several poetry anthologies also and has established him as a poet across the country. The collection Poetry Manifesto carries new and few earlier poems, which have already been included in the previous collections of the poet.
The poems of the collection deal all major themes viz. social, cultural, moral, ethical, political and even philosophical but what differs the present anthology from general poets, is its poems from virtual and cyber world. Being a poet cum web-designer, the poet has written poems that exhibit the ‘digitalized feelings and emotion’ in an age of ours. The first poem of the anthology ‘New Website’ is a fine example, which starts as, “User Name: Vihang / Password: Naik, poetry/Verifying…./ characters incorrect.” (11)
The poems like ‘Gujrat (26 January 2001)’, ‘Summer Hill’, ‘Devdars’ (Shimla, 19 June 2001), ‘Ambaji, Ahmedabad’, ‘In Rains’, and ‘Being Contemporary’ reflect the undercurrent of social consciousness of the poet and existential dilemma. However, a great majority of poems of the collection articulate the consciousness of the city where the poet actually belongs to and that ‘incites’ the reader ‘through the fog of its winter’ where ‘the haze distorts/ noises of broken rhythm/ railways tacks rattle/ the wheel’ and where ‘an old coughs/ the illness/ of his age”. (117) Similarly, in the poem ‘Midnight City’, the poet sketches of a ‘stranger’ ‘in a moon bleated city’ ,’ who/awake/from a dream/ questioning the real and the unreal but ‘the night helps/ none.’ (119)
The poet is well versed in linguistic deviations chiefly of graphological deviation. He discards the rules of graphology and punctuation chiefly to heighten the effect. Sometimes, he writes the word in small letters in order to euphemistically ridicule or elevate the importance while at the other time, he capitalizes the words to lambast or mirror the over heightened effect of the same word. In few, poems, the poet has tried to portray the mental state by leaving spaces between letters of a word. In the poem ‘a broken song’, the poet writes the word scattered as ‘scattered pieces as pieces and broken as broken’ (109) merely to how the actual mental state by leaving space among letters.
Hence, the brilliantly evocative pithy pomes of Vihang Naik will develop our insight and prune the poetic skills of young poets by widening their spectrum of thoughts and imagery. High accolades to him.