Main Features of Indian English Poetry after Independence Era:
The Indian English writing made a beginning in the work of translation. There was the death of originality, the aim being merely to produce imitative works. This trend took a change with Derozio who gave a new dimension to Indian English Poetry. Indian myths and legends found a prominent place and Derozio gave expression to nationalistic zeal in his poems, unfortunately. A promising poetical career, which cut short and is could write only some shorts poems and a narrative work ‘The Fakir of Jungheera’. An epochmaking write in Bengali Michael Madhusudan Dutta began his career with some sonnets. He wrote two long poems ‘The Captive Ladie’ and ‘Visions of The Past’. With certain historical changes, ‘The Captive Ladie’ tells of Prithviraj and the abduction Sanyukta. While the later handles the Christian theme of temptation and fall and the redemption of man. The poem abounds in abstract diction and lation inversions. In fact, it is a skilled pastiche of million. The first gush of Indian English seems to end in Indian Revolt of 1857.
In Toru Dutta, Indian English Poetry graduated from imitation to authenticity. ‘Ancient Ballads and Legends of Hindustan’ makes the extensive use if Indian myth and legend. Her diction is of the Victorian Romantic school while imagery makes evocative use of local color. The most significant aspect of her poem is the total freedom from the burden of imitation. There are quite a strength and deep emotion which underlie the acute awareness of the abiding values of Indian life. Manmohan Ghose is a classic example of how rootless of an artist stunts his growth. Hovering between two worlds of the England of the Eighteen Nineties and India, he could never fulfill the early promise of ‘Primevera’. His younger brother Sri Aurobindo produced an impressive volume of the verse of several kinds – lyrical, narrative, philosophical and epic. His shorter poems celebrate the traditional theme of love, borrow, liberty, and death. The ‘short poem’ strike a note of mystic awareness. His long poetical career yielded three long narratives: ‘Urvasie’, ‘Love and Death’ and ‘Baji Prabhou’. However, his magnum opus is ‘Savitri’ based on the familiar legend of Satyavan and Savitri snatches her husband’s life from the clutches of Yama, the messenger of death. Rabindranath Tagore was a prominent contemporary whose chief theme was the relation between ‘the finite and the infinite’. ‘Gitanjali’ is his crowning achievement and this is a poem of devotion its central theme is “I am here to sing thee songs.” These poems are deeply rooted in the ancient tradition of Indian saint poetry but unravel his personal quest for the divine. ‘The Gardener’ is brown esque in the variety and complexity of love in the rural and feudal background while ‘The Crescent Moon’ is the romantic view of childhood. During this period, Sarojini Naidu attains to prominence on account of a number of volumes of poetry. ‘The Golden Threshold’, ‘The Bird of Time’, ‘The Broken Wing’, ‘The Sceptred Flute’, and ‘The Feather of the Dawn’. Love is one of her subjects and she sings both of Krishna and Allah with equal zest. In her Indian English lyric utterance mingled with Indian ethos.
By the fifties, the view poetry struck its root and Nissim Ezekiel is one of the most notable Post Independence Indian English Poets. The theme of alienation is central to Ezekiel’s work. His poem is an attempt to understand the Indian ethos and its view of suffering. Being a skilled translator P. Lal published various volumes of verse ‘The Man of Dharma and the Rasa of Silence’ is a poetic statement on the human condition by drawing up ‘Yudhishthira’ a character of ‘Dharma’. However, his symbolism is vogue and the classification of rases is unconvincing. A.K. Ramanujan seeks to give way to the awareness of social burden, his Hindu heritage. The poet tries to juxtapose ancient Hindu ethos with the situation of the modern man. Equally concerned with the native heritage is R. Parthasarathy who after a brief sojourn in England returned to the soil and published ‘Rough Passage’ which holds forth love as a reality and provides the promise of belonging.
Pritish Nandy manifests the mingling of whitmanism and surrealism in his poems. In half a dozen collections the poet presents his obsession with violence and horror, death and sex. Equally preoccupied with deprivation and misery, disease and death is K.N. Daruwalla. He observes the Indian scene with a trained eye but not without detachment. Jayant Mahapatra captures the oriyan landscape and Jagannath Temple of Puri. While love, sex, and sensuality form the major theme of his earlier poems, social and political issue dominate the later. A distinguished writer in mother tongue Kamala Das published three books of verse. ‘Summer in Calcutta’, ‘The Descendants’, ‘The Old Playhouse’ and other poems. With brutal frankness, she talks about sex but it poses a challenge to the conventional attitude in order to unveil the ‘woman within’.