As a poet, Jayanta is first of all an imagist then a linguist, a photographer, a dreamer, a visionary, a thinker; a realist, a feminist, a modernist, a post-modern; a historian, an ecologist, an environmentalist; an Odia first then an Indian and an internationalist; an existentialist, an iconoclast and a symbolist. As a teacher of physics, he has drawn from light and darkness theories. Poetry is physics and physics his poetry. Poetry to Mahapatra is the geography, sociology and archaeology of Orissa and Orissan places. A professor of physics, he sees the pinda-dana continuing sand the asthi-kalasha being immersed into the holy waters to reach to the conclusion of matter and mass.
It pains us to see that some teachers and scholars under the pretext of meeting him take the interview with him and get photographed with to release it on the internet which is but a gross violation and repudiation of morality and ethics. How does their morality permit them to do it? Had the poet himself introduced, it would have been good, but they like to be photographed with him as for to get a breakthrough. I do not want to belittle anyone, but the gravity of the matter is as such that I cannot help without taking it. |
It pains us to see that some teachers and scholars under the pretext of meeting him take the interview with him and get photographed with to release it on the internet which is but a gross violation and repudiation of morality and ethics. How does their morality permit them to do it? Had the poet himself introduced, it would have been good, but they like to be photographed with him as for to get a breakthrough. I do not want to belittle anyone, but the gravity of the matter is as such that I cannot help without taking it.
Dawn at Puri
A dawn at Puri, near the Jagannath temple, the complex lit with the glow and glisten together with the queues of the worshipers, waiting for their turn to enter the Great Temple and to offer their prayers and offerings, most of them the white-clad widows, hopeless and helpless, past the centre of their lives with nothing to be left with, just kept up and held by piety and faith in the Lord, the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer of life, into whose hands is this poor life of man and to Him only she can say the things of hers in whispers.With the austere eyes, they looking like the fish caught in the net at dawn break like the shining strands of faith. Frail light like frail faith dazzling around, moving on to focus on a mass of crouched faces, the leprous shells leaning together and here lies the pathos of life expressed in the lines, the dark despair and dejection of man combined with anxiety raising the eyebrows of doubt and suspense with regard to the Scheme of Things and that too against the backdrop of the rock-built temples.
Again, the light shifts to the burning of the pyre on the holy sands, the smoky blaze of a solitary pyre burning on telling of a life lived or worth to be lived. But the wish of burning on the holy sands purifies it the forlorn inner will with nowhere to go and confide in, no solace or refuge to be found or given anywhere. Who knows what it is in whose lot? Similar had been the wish of his aging mother if she might have or had it been, as willed she, the wish of every aging mother to be cremated here as Puri is the gateway to heaven, but faith is faith, life, life. Frail faith like dazzling and shaky light keeps shifting.
Jayanta Mahapatra is a not a simple writer to be dispensed at one go and one sitting of study rather taking full time. To read a single poem of his is to do injustice to him as is the case with the works of D.H.Lawrence. If one needs to know his poetry, one needs to know the Wessex of Thomas Hardy, the Nottinghamshire of D.H.Lawrence. Similar is the writer of Odisha telling of Puri, Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, the hub of his poetry. A dreamer in verse, a visionary slipping by, going deep into history, art and archaeology, a photographer of the rock-built temples, an imagist always changing his positions of thinking and reflection, he has definitely contributed to such a realm of poesy. If one has not toured and travelled in and across Odisha, the sites and scenery of it, one may not understand what he says, what he writes about. An Odia poet in an English version, he has nowhere to go rather this Odisha, the place of his birth and upbringing, nativity and roots. Without indulging war, he describes in the way what Rupert Brooke describes in his poetry. He is a poet of Orissa and the things Orissan; Oirya towns, cities, villages, hamlets, orchards, bowers, jungles, hills, rivers, lakes and temples, the picnic and travel spots and destinations, sea beaches, bird sanctuaries and natural habitats. If to say in a nutshell, Jayanta is first of all an Odia then an India, first of all an imagist then a mythist taking imagery as the base of his poetry. Against the backdrop of the rock-built temples, he dreams and slips past to delve deep into the times of making and grandeur. If one seeks to interpret and analyze him as for a paraphrase, one should abandon it the moment one takes him up for a study. the myths of time with the phantom listeners of the haunted house of Walter de la Mare take him to a different plane of delving. He is a poet of the rock-built temples, the Konark Sun-temple, the Jagannath Puri temple, the Lingaraj temple, the Khandagiri caves and so on; the tourist spots and the places of pilgrimage. His is a relationship with Orissa, the past and its historicity of it, unbreakable, indefatigable and long-lasting as which he never think of discerning, the Oriya roots of nativity and connections, binding him with the thought, culture, trend and tradition of it.