रविवार, 21 नवंबर 2010

New Enlightened World – Dr. Mahendra Bhatnagar

New Enlightened World – Dr. Mahendra Bhatnagar


Dr. Mahendra Bhatnagar bears the identity of a well known bilingual (Hindi & English) poet in the country and abroad. His poems are translated and published not only in most of the Indian languages, but in foreign languages too, viz. English, French, Japanese, Nepali, Urdu etc. Through internet we have an easy access to his works; though most of his works are already published in book-form. He has been an eminent Professor of Hindi and was retired in 1984 from the prestigious institute, Govt. Kamalaa Raajaa Girls Post-Graduate College (Jiwaji University), Gwalior. Though retired some twenty-five years back, he is not tired of mind, even at the age of more than eighty-three years. He has been a prolific writer from his early age, which can be seen and is evident from the bulk of his poems, published in several volumes.

A simple man by nature, Dr. Mahendra Bhatnagar is keen to solve every problem of his fellow human beings. He has a sensitive heart and a proficient mind to feel and meditate on the social and human activities and changes taking place with the course of time. Dr. Mahendra Bhatnagar has witnessed the miserable, suffering and pathetic condition of Indian common people after and before Independence. As a faithful and sincere citizen, Dr. Bhatnagar has the courage and spirit to exhort the people of his country to fight and struggle with the evil, vicious and anti-social forces. It can be seen in his poems like, ‘Challenge’, ‘The Gale’, ‘The Hurricane’ and ‘Assured’. Dr. Mahendra Bhatnagar loves the unity and integrity of his country and has expressed his views and feelings through a number of significant poems.

The present volume ‘NEW ENLIGH-TENED WORLD’ contains fifty poems. Thirty-six of these poems are written under the title ‘Nai Chetnaa’ or ‘The New Awareness’. The last fourteen poems have been compiled under the title ‘Sankalp’ or ‘The Resolution’. The poems under ‘Nai Chetanaa’ were written between 1950 to 1953 and were published in 1956. The poems compiled under ‘Sankalp’ have been composed between 1967 and 1971; they were published in the year 1977. The period, to which these fifty poems belong, may be called the ‘Renaissance’ in India. The remarkable fact about these poems is that one cannot understand them without giving eyes and ears to the historical background of the contemporary age.

In fact, it was the need of the hour to infuse new awareness and enthusiasm into the sad hearts of the Indians at that age. After Independence every Indian started working towards the reconstruction and upliftment of the devastated social structure of the vast country. Hence to provoke the desire to lead a promising life, Dr. Mahendra Bhatnagar wrote much for the Indian people. The poems like, ‘Kindle The Lamp’ and ‘I Have Trust’ revealed the desired feelings. The poet, as a true citizen, sincerely performed his duty towards the nation by inspiring a new awareness among the countrymen. The poems of ‘Nai Chetanaa’ — ‘Flow The Ganga’, ‘Transition’, ‘The New Era’, ‘Morning Call’ and ‘New Culture’ — bear historical, political and social relevance; they are useful and meaningful in the contemporary sense. They bear the voice of common man; they contain the pain of the poor and the helpless; they present the real picture of the contemporary society; and they bear the desire of the poet to bring about reformation and prosperity among the countrymen. The poem ‘Builders Of Future’ has drawn much attention of the reader in this reference.

The second part of this collection — ‘Sankalp’ — consists fourteen poems. These poems show Dr. Bhatnagar’s firm determination, through millions of Indian hearts, to reconstruct the shattered walls of the Indian society. If we take a cursory survey of the fifty poems of this collection, we find here Dr. Bhatnagar’s views about social awareness, healthy vision of life, his deep concern about the degenerated values, and of raising a new strong base for the progressive, stable, self-depending and prosperous future of our country. Moreover, with the humanistic approach Dr. Bhatnagar believes that a positive thinking can turn the selfish, chaotic and anarchic world towards a prosperous and purposeful direction. This is not to exaggerate the facts that Dr. Mahendra Bhatnagar has emerged as the spokesman of the ailing humanity as his poetry presents the bare facts and events of the age. Dr. Mahendra Bhatnagar’s poetry mirrors him as an ‘artistic reporter of the agonies and dreams of people’. His honest and consistent efforts, to portray the uncertain, unstable, helpless and poor state of society, have resulted into the production of sensitive poetry. Dr. Bhatnagar’s poems have post-independence relevance to the age and a universal appeal to the conscious man. The diction of Bhatnagar’s poetry is simple and is suitable to the various themes of his poems. The way, Dr. Bhatnagar uses different images, figures and allusions in his poetry, shows his perfect hold on language and his high quality of poetic creation. Though written in a great poetic style, Dr. Bhatnagar’s poems bear the voice of the Indian common people. It has a message for new awakening with firm resolution and determination for the welfare of the common man and ultimately for the nation.


Dr. Mukesh Sharma

Dept. of English ,

Govt. KRG. P.G.,College, Gwalior [M.P.]



1 Challenge

2 Festival Of Freedom

3 Invincible

4 Can't Stop

5 Remain Vigilant

6 The New Man

7 The Gale

8 Hurricane

9 Caravan Of Life

10 The Indifferent From New Man

11 New Direction

12 Tradition

13 Destination

14 What Happened?

15 The Poet And The Age

16 Assured

17 Kindle The Lamp

18 Inkling /

19 Seen Today

20 I Have Trust

21 Covered The Face

22 New Society

23 Transition

24 Don't Say

25 The New Era

26 Footsteps

27 Call Of Morning

28 Secured

29 Change Of Era

30 New Culture

31 Flow The Ganga

32 New Canvas

33 Builders Of Future

34 Song Of The Rain

35 Banyan Tree

36 The Poet

37 The Saboteur

38 As Before

39 Away From Static State

40 Cries Of A City And Night

41 Unexpected

42 Destiny

43 Operation

44 Autobiography

45 The Art Of Living

46 Revival

47 A Solemn Pledge

48 Even If

49 Self Liking

50 Biography


* Bio -data : Mahendra Bhatnagar



Storm has come in the devil's reign,

That brought the message of salvation of life!

Change the fate of man,

Change the face full of terror,

It's the challenge of our organised power!


Empire built on innocent dead bodies shakes,

The sun of people’s might rises through darkness,

Heads like rock rise,

Hands like steel rise,

And disarm the enemy of tranquility!


Look, the bloody flood stops,

Here end the troubles of man!

Dry creepers wave,

Bathe in fresh-lustre ocean,

The clouds of happiness, shower love!



My hare-like innocent wife

has no clothes

to cover modesty!

Her wailing is heard everywhere

at home, and outward


Before my eyes

come again and again

two holy tears like Ganga-jal1

which on that day

you wiped with your filthy hem!


My two little feeble children

like mute toys

have no flesh,

have no blood on faces

have slept, quarrelling,

over a piece of bread,

If you do not believe —

Hear their sobbing, still

incessantly in their sleep!

I take them in arms

and stick to chest

in the violent storms

and cold rainy nights!


They are the pictures of the dreams

of New age!

On the barren land

offshoots germinate slowly-slowly!


I celebrate the festival of freedom

to save them!

I lit, in debt,

the lamps of freedom

on the broken balcony of falling house!

On my dry lips

I sing the song of freedom!

Freedom is dear to me

as I have nurtured its garden

by my own hands!


But, Hold!

O! Tempted vultures!

If you cast your sight,

On its fruits and flowers —

One more fight for freedom

will begin again!


1- The holy water of the river Ganges [India]



Youth of the age can’t be defeated!


Organized people’s consciousness

and a will to create new,

Age old devotion

of the proletariat,

A happy dream of man,

His hope-mansion for peace,

And life’s sky

filled with redness of dawn,

Have you heard the story of their destruction?


Feet — as hard as steel,

Fought the storms,

Moved not an inch

Stand firm like the mountain,

Challenge the enemy,

fight and kill,

Sacrifice life

for duty,

The vibrant youth, never goes weary!


Invoking the strength,

Inspiring the soul —

Hearing that,

swells the chest of the weak in pride,

And shows the path in darkness,

Echoes in all directions,

Tells the stars

The message of revolution,

The voice of mass salvation can’t be stopped!



A new voice heard in the world today,

Echoes in the dust of earth!


The exploited-aggrieved got the meaning,

The means to mislead people’s strength, are useless now!


The mute got the blessings of Saraswati1,

Got their lovely song, the labourers!


The neglected, long aged, blocked path opens

The door opened to common man,

and masses of the world are out!


The trumpet , sounds the triumph,

Trembles the sky today, trembles the earth today!


Divisions of classes, created, are in disorder,

This is the occasion of removing barriers of

time and place!


Artificial walls! New wind can’t be stopped,

That’s all, give way, this is the only medicine of self-protection!


Away, away the guards of decayed culture!

The flames come out from the burning red-hot coals!


Fatal, to stick it to heart ,

The attachment, an enemy of your own body!


1- The goddess of speech, learning and art; according to Hindu mythology.




The neglected turned fire to burn;

The castle of deception falls down!

Coal starts blazing,

The flame as torch

with a blast of wind

assaults on darkness!


The night of depressed ages flashed,

It’s the festival of Nushoor1

Cracking the graves,

the dead

awake from slumber!


Forest trees clatter!

These are the storms

never run over,

These are the lightnings

that never fell,

The clouds with deep sound

never surrounded!

The angry horizon gnashing its teeth

crackle with thunder!


With the roaring voice of the united masses,

Airy mountains of exploiters

turn down into ashes,

in the society new!

Built in air,

all vindictive castles

reduced to dust,

and rooted out



This is fire

that can’t be buried under the layers of snow,

never be put out

by the fast flowing water of streams!

As long as

remains darkness on the earth —

the rich like bugs

continue to suck the blood of the poor!

And every street

will echo

the dreadful laughter of ghost,

till then!


Leaving the sheets of stones,

Lofty forehead

Abundant power

With firm faith

the dormant, motionless

holds the weapon for assault!

All false pride is no more now,

Worthless, incapable, vigour-lost all sunk!

Now the dreadful night,

afraid of light

became fallow lucent less!


Powerful caravan of new lustre started out,

The darkness falls into pieces at each step!

We will awake,

till — this hindered door is not opened!

The blood in veins will simmer,

till the class difference and caste malevolence

is rooted out!


1- According to Islamic mythology a festive day when dead bodies will come out alive from the graves.




The new man is untying the chained feet!


Enthusiasm of healthy ages’ power is increasing intense,

To make the enslaved life free,

To inhabit desolate, demolished houses again,

To move, piercing the darkness of past ages!


The voice from the walls of shaking castles,

Seized by fear as if lightning is just to fall,

The time-worn society of exploiters is near

the extinction,

Certainly, rich cannibals can’t live anymore !

The world resounds with the steps of mass power,

The weak enemy’s heart trembles every time,

Look, the blocked path is opening,

No sharp edge left, the sword of feudalism is rusted!


Truth came to the fore, victorious is faith ,

Desired new age near and past vision disappeared,

Don’t preserve any more the missed, unfulfilled desire,

The horizon of world reflects the new picture of man!




Making great tumult arose a gale today,

From horizon to horizon spread a gale today!


The ocean laughed loudly watching that,

The whole creation trembled, annihilation-fear filled!


The ancient mansions fell stumbling,

Quivering wind blew very fast!


The hidden sun seeking refuge,

The trembling, world became dreadful!


Overflown with new zeal the wild-forest river,

Swelling with new zeal the wild-forest river!


The storm of youth will not stop,

Firm to make a story new!


Impossible that age old obstacles stay,

Its flow never becomes slow !


Never intercepted, great potential,

Rebellion redness will never become dull!


The kites are down continuously,

The dark clouds are gathering!

But, swelling heart on the path alone

Advances struggling ceaselessly!


The steady youth of the powerful era,

To change the world is his sole desire!


Removing obstacles he moves on,

Flowing the river of peace, he is setting out!


The only visionary of revolution,

the only creator of world history!


His strong free large arms,

Will turn the wind with young blood!




The east has the hurricane of

new awareness


The eternal faith

holds firmly

the human heart



That’s why

The compact fort of the foe

faces the rage, roar, and challenge

of the strong winds,

That crushes

the fort parapets, domes, strongholds to ruin!


The emerging force

can’t be suppressed ,

The flames of revolt

can’t be extinguished !

The hectic struggle of new man

waves a new life all round,

that can never be blotted out!


Surrounding the sky

whose sparks shine and fly,

With its heat

hard blazing iron chains

turn and twist!


Dark dense clouds

Gathering up in the skies!

The heavy rock,

On which rises a wall



the caresses of

wicked wolf, and vagrant robbers

will not move.

The proletariat will survive

For, the intensified hurricane

governs the awakened heart of the East!



Caravan of life stays not!


The momentary storms come and pass ,

The hair only disheveled in the wind,

The undaunting steps never stagger

The strength of people

joined the moment, with steady steps,

The caravan of life

Never stoops, never stoops to calamities!


Dark night remains not,

but bows to the red breast dawn,

Every human applaud the bright morn,

Will take hideous sick breaths fearing the darkness?

The caravan of life

Never seeks life from the stars of fate!


The fragmented clouds in solitude,

Not better than the moving life,

Life waterless, shadowless, full of sand,

The way desolate, homeless, unlighted,

The caravan of life

Even facing defeat and strife

seen never tired!


The heart setting the aim clearly,

Moves the stream hopeful ever!

Walking unsteadily , is the picture of death,

Stopped the midway , is the flow paceless,

The caravan of life
Can’t be drowned in the river of disappointment!




New Man!

I have something to talk —

The talk of

that numberless

men, women, old, young

of my class

want to ask you today!


The talk related to life,

better than today —

New, happy, lovely life!


The talk, on that day,

I remember, stayed on lips

As the rival assault, in struggle

hurt the whole of you!


But, you had faith

in the bright future,

You had

the history of human strength,

the scene of victory

sprung up in your eyes!

The love down Attics

spread on the wounded earth.


That’s why

Piercing the clouds of suppression,

Dispersing the terrific dark of adversities,


You, the New Ray,

get honour

from the world

And carry it on the progressive path!


Near the destination,

Near the shore

The heart of Dawn throbs!


Surely, I believe

your intention,

Only the matter is :

What New World

will you make?

I, too, have

a picture of a New world of colours,

I too, have

'labour-pains’ for changing the world!


Seeing that,

will you keep pace with me?

Till now

detached , uninvolved,


far and indifferent,

I kept from you!




Deadlock everywhere,

Obstructed path,

Worthless concept losing relevance,

Primitive traditions


like ‘Wall Of China1!

How to climb?

How to cross?



By the mythological morals, beliefs,

dead, narrow out-dated thinking,

concepts, by gone,

foggy imaginations

will ever win?

will ever see

your aim becoming true?


In the changing world

researches of science increase,

New means,

new mechanization

promoting inventions at every moment!

Give challenge

to elevated Pamir2 — ‘the roof of the world’,

Lofty Everest,

Deep Pacific Ocean,

Many planets and stars,

Bright remote moon,

with the noble sublime ideas,

take in their command every time

and are going ahead nonstop!

Oh, fulfilled now

all desired dreams — unbecoming!



and open the eyes

before the spreading new light!

Then use and enjoy each commodity!


You are a human

With the treasure of power and wisdom,

have all human rights,

blessings of progress,

pride of insuppressible might!


Your target —

to break with

the chord of old-fashioned life,

which melodious sound produces not!


How much corrections possible?

All anger is futile!


Walls shaking

from the foundation,

fall down surely,

When storms

start from the horizon

will certainly be surrounded soon!


You have to leave

your all cravings.

Close the well of deterioration

full of darkness,

Revolt with crashed attachment!


Illusion of false dream stand,

Worthless, dim and exhausted shadow of void

Has no attraction at all !

Useless !

Oh, even murderous!


Be alert

Or ruin certain,

Stand like rock,

Or your mission defamed!


and stop the storm,

Or manhood and patience fall today!


Fear not,

Before you


the new age roaring!

With the vision

of the coming strong and grand world!


Fierce voice of masses echoed today,

That doesn’t want the least

the rule of the crown anywhere!


Overflowing flood

of suffered, distressed, exploited proletariats,

utter sky-humming

this forceful slogan :


“We have to build a new world!

with no sign

of dead repulsive capitalism,

All dictatorship will be dragged away

from the world!



the world will breath

on the path of socialism

the breath of happiness!

Filled with the hope of new life!

The barren land will be fertile!



will remove the hurdles of sufferings,

Enthusiasm of work,

will bridge ditches of inequalities!


The new awakening will destroy

all ancient

forts, walls, doors, and clefts !"


1- A historical ancient wall in China.

2- The highest plateau in the world, situated in Tibet.




Tradition, Tradition, Tradition!

Held fast / destroyed

Pulled wool over eyes

kept the mark for ages,

Enslaved by self made customs,

Conventions on orthodoxy!

Not heard new song?

Not seen new form?

The world changed

Truth came upright!

Where is : Traditions, Tradition, Tradition!

The hollow, rigid, blind faith,

Oh, tell

the call that stirs

Religion, Religion, Religion!

Bloodshed, chaos everywhere

Is the deed of the uncivil!

What useful sermons he chants?

The Kuran? The Vedas? Upnishads? Purans? Bible?

All changed!

The age need

a new scripture,

One God, with a message new

To bloom the rotten

of the great religion of humanity!

The age needs reform

New faith, concept powerful!

Leave delusion

Empty is your hand

Change Tradition, Tradition, Tradition!



It's not the goal of life!


Of groans, feeble, fruitless

Of paths desolate,

Of sighs of failure,

It's not the view of bewildered,

dreamful, but awakened heart!


Aimed at self-interests,

Confined means of self-contentment,

Targeted on worldly happiness,

Far from the tunes common

Is not devoted to human fate!


Repentance of past,

Song of reminiscent,

Not the aim today,

Secluded art, from earthly voice

Ever dignified be?




The same slack, unsound, sick body

What of wearing new clothes?

The same tired feet,

The restrained eyes,

What of the wine

that momentary drenched the throat?

What of the garden

that bloomed at a distance?


The prime of life,

saw a dream?


The same hot wind

with fever wearing death,

Falling as usual

from human head

unstopped blood-stream!

The chords of the heart

thrilling all !




This is the history of

destruction, lamentation,




obstructed ways



from brotherhood!


Looks a mockery

of Culture, Art and Civilization!


Satan, in the guise of man

exploits violently!

Feelings of love and affection vanish!

Increase rapidly

on each breath

age long hungry persons’

scorch life’s cries

fatal like poisonous gas!


T'is a picture of cruel death !

Full of destruction

cruel mortality,

of deep dark


Devastated like ‘Andman1!

Sharp shivering song of death!

All ideals stumble

Putting out the knowledge-lamp.

Man wants

to see the world

in darkness dense!

Because his uncountable sins

how and who will be able to see ?

In the name of peace, pleasure,

and order

He will usurp

the world!

The greedy! fights,

and destroys the flourishing fields!

Sweet life!

Humanity is putting an end to itself,

As if

God does ‘harakiri1!

Dim is the golden splendour of life,

The world became cursed blemished!

But you need not worry a bit,

Have patience, feet static!


Get up you poet!

and make a world

where happiness shares sorrow,

Unbounded life’s raptures go flowing,

Carefree days and nights be passed with love,

Of all — labourers, poor

without hindrance!


Give the message of new age!

Give guise of Man to man!


1- Suicide — in Japanese language.



One, who put out

lamps of life

And from the womb of earth

Uprooted the growing plants,

Harvested land

He made barren,

Attacked the heart of new age

with a sharp burning dagger —

My pen revolts

against him!

Can’t stop the pen,

till the vanity-mad, arrogant oppressor!

fall down on the earth

Can not stop the voice

that flew from the throat,

Can not stop the storm

that flapped its wings in sky,

Can not stop the water-flow

that knew well

the course of flux!

That will swell

and climb on the tops of mountains,

will jump!

Will break all walls on the path

with a thunder voice freely!


I believe comrade —

your arms so powerful

that the rival

will lie on the earth defeated!

Deep bright redness

alights at your eyes,

By which today I assure —


The dark age will vanish

All the lights, extinguished

will lit again

with the affectionate awareness!

The earth with new buds

will flourish happily!


That world’s populace

like peacock,

will sing the songs in new tunes,

And will dance

tinkling the payal1

in the fields,



1- An ornament for the ankles.




Kindle the lamp with my love, today!


The misty world , misty directions,

Roaring rival winds blow,

Shelter, come in my lap!


Come youth, bursting anew today,

Echo, the blocked voice full throated,

Sing, poet, the new message of era!


Decayed walls fall easily,

Withered towers break easily,

New creation, remove the outworn!


Strength of my arms, yours today,

My head, resolute promise yours today,

Wake the wounded, distressed world!




It seems —

Chains of ages

will unbound surely, today!

The flames of smoke clouds

Oscillating, will girdle the blue in arms!

The arrogant

Poisonous-riverbed will burn,

Each neglected will roar horribly

on the tumultuous combat land!


Castles of suppression

Like spread flour-powder on path

will destroy and disappear

amidst oscillating storms of struggles!


It is believed —

That the unbound era-bird is flying fast,

breaking the old tattered trap!

Now, ember of truth will burn,

for which

the conscious world

of the suffering and neglected

is wistful still!


Put off mourning,

Pain lacks sharpness,

The new ray gleams

piercing the illusion!




Seen today —

Man fighting and struggling with life!

The roar of cracking rocks of deception

is heard!

The feet realize,

The earth is shaking!


The heart witnesses surety

The lamenting dark night

fall on the horizon now!


The Mother Earth, too, realize

The world of her hope


in the heap of offshoots!


Coming to dry trees

Halts the blowing wind

Gives a message


Absolutely New!


Hearing it,

the bird in the tree

looks impatient

to open its beak,

Happily flapping its tired feathers!


Wide-spread, this dark smoke

appears light,

Is not so dense as before!



I am imprisoned in dark cells

at present,

Cells — it is said —


wind remains in bondage,

light remains in bondage,


spreads only the regime of stillness!


But, I feel —

Wind — unobstructed,

Seen through my eyes

Thousands lustrous celestial bodies,

I hear well,

My companions’ steps

walking, advancing, fighting,

I hear the sound of songs well

and bands of expedition

of my companions!


Sure it is —

My companions will come

and unlock the cells,

Will thrash

high heads of vanity

of rebellious power!

No more the man

be crushed,

No more the man be ridiculed,

of one’s desires again!




The smoke bathes

the entire city !


The furnaces and the hearths burn,

To see the child, the birds visit!


The woman, hidden,

coughs nearby,

A face beautiful and gentle once

was close to the heart of one beloved!

The face of hers

drenched in smoke,

The rosy face

lost in eyes, deep!


No complaint from life now,

No sweet dreams of world she has,

Stoops with shyness!


Dipping in smoke

For years numberless —

Sheds the ocean of tears

of the Gangaa and Yamunaa !

She covers the face under

the tattered hem!

But now from east

peeps the shining lamp,

and the cheerful ray sings

the end

of the painful moment!




Society takes turn,

As democracy arrives!

The tattered framework ruins,

Monarchy kisses dust!

Humanity in new robes appears,

Wicked tendencies disappear!

Darkness disperses

Annihilating, exhausted!


Life filled with rays of light

Life smells future bright!

The full spirited caravan moves

Powerful, united, great!


The sand like hostilities, diffuse

The path of life easy and smooth!

The steady expansion of progress

grows and shines like the lightning boundless!

Down went the death tremendous,

The red flames flitter,

The roaring mountain rises

Those in the middle got defeated!


Down fell the decayed and rotten,

The lively new emerges!

The new morning song resounds

with the free and pauseless tunes!




The gale rise from the ocean shore,

Unstopped marches ahead dauntless,

Waves overflow with full vigour,

This is the pace of the time!


Men are coming out,

Singing the songs in excitement, new

Colourful clouds spread shadow,

This is the clink of the time!


Decaying building fell staggering,

The venom-tree fell on earth,

Old stone flows melting utterly,

This is the stroke of the time!


Obstacles numberless laid on the path,

The boat never rambled in whirl,

and moved on through the strife of gale and man,

This is the helm of the time!


The Man adopts a new course, today

New screen is seen before the eyes,

The whisper of revolution resounds in the world,

This is the challenge of the time!


[24] DON’T SAY


Don’t talk of fear to me,

Don’t talk incoherently today!


The heart is full of ambitious storms,

The throat sings of new salvation!


Tide of healthy youth flew in body,

Break the restrictions, said the strong heart!


What obstructions, it’s youth endeavour?

What hindrances, it’s youth awakening?


Dreaded conflict lies ahead,

The seeds are sown of revolution expected!


Society is bound at step each,

All have to endure fire today!


All have to leave lethargy,

Not to turn from duty today!


Burnt and decayed with fire of devotion,

Taking oath of each blood drop!


Sacrifice your life,

And fill the whole world with your love!


Spread the duty of humanity,

And you have to show the object of life!


Tell meaning of real life,

Remove the dark with the self burnt light!


The world, moves to progress of new culture,

Banishing with time the degraded life!


Put an end to deadly time, the philosophy of fate,

Each voice travels with new phase!

The youth laughs at infirmity,

Blooming buds indicate nectar to black-bee!


The deserted path of ruin is breathing last ,

It’s the awakening moments of creation!


The world awakes, you, too, keep so,

Lost in slumber do not be!

Don’t talk of fear to me,

Don’t talk incoherently today!




O! the dying

passionate light of humanity

be more lightened

with my love!

All deep dark corners

be lost

in universal awakening!


Arms filled with

Himalayan strength,

The masses stopping the storms

will throw the advancing tide!

The newly blooming splendor

of age long devotion,

New thrill of awakened hope

of age long consciousness!


The strong inspiration rises

from the broken mound of the down-trodden!

Fancy, the firm truth

will turn to reality!

With a new pace

each particle of the world

will get current of

strong power

of new life, new youth, new blood!


The New Era

is not merely a burning sun,

Its access goes beyond —

The large dense fearful ever-green

frenzied forests ,

Beneath the earth,

Bottomless water,

Sun has no control,

up to there

New Era’s thoughts have their influence

of unceasing conflict!


How will you escape

The worshipper of flight!

Open today

the knots of your mind,

Come forward,

and assess the value

of a new awakened age!




New steps fall down —

strong as steel!

The shadow becomes shorter

of the new man!

Earth hears the footsteps

of life new!

The humming sound echoes,

The world resonates

with full strength!



One after another, each minute

the picture of the world

more beautiful!

The aching trouble recedes,

Awaken, man’s dormant fate now!


Stopped —

the pain of my heart,

dripping tears

bursting out for years!

The watered eyes

look towards you

with belief and hope —

When the old curtain lifts

then new picture will surely appear,

Will show the world

happier than before!




The eyes open

at the dawn of this new life!

Awaking collectively

people with the confluence of the sun,

With feelings of goodwill!


Coming from the heart

for the welfare of the world

like stars in the deep dark night

one after the other innumerable,

like golden brilliance of new life

happy divine blessings!


The eyes see today

burning fire of a new era,

Sparks of whose spread in the sky

of every village-forest-ocean-city!


Like a pile of grass

under flames

burning with booming sound


deceit, illusion, hypocrisy!


On whose bosom

occurs like illuminated light

galloping like rays new

turn of the age!


That speed of electric force, too

shakes behind!

Hurricane winds, numberless

stand paused amazing,

The simmering volcanoes of the earth


lava moved not a single step !

The clouds burst

thundering all destroyed!

The dreaded future of the world, too,

ran away with fear!


Sure —

It will never return,

Such an eclipse again,

will never torment

the sun, of the awakened men!


O! the voice blocked for ages

suddenly opens today

midst the din of the world,

The eyes open

with the dawn of the new life!




New light suffuses,

New light spreads!

Life becomes safe,

Old frustration disperses!


The aching nights, too, from the sky

run away with darkness

due to this brilliancy!


Raising arms, the great force


all opponent powers,

Roaring with hot temper and anger!


The mountains of crime

melt and sink,

(Flowers in dry garden

keep on blooming!)


In the changing universe

old worn ethics

no more to impose

at any cost!

Everywhere spreads the light, new!




The sky smiles

at the dawn of the first ray!


Flowers of new life bloom,

Thrilling and swaying

to and fro, everywhere,

Met together with the kiss!


Mountain of darkness turned to dust,

The fresh wind flows pauseless on earth!

Steps rise together!

Steps fall together!

The sky shines

amidst the beauty of the new morn!

The sky glimmers bright!


Fertile land gets life blessed,

Body shines with green glow,

Look — exciting beauty —

Covering the

silky thin curtain

of light sun-shine!


Lightnings got extinct,

Terrified storms took refuge,

New mighty caravan of progress

forms a strong mansion!

The shameless halts on the path,

From a contemptible person’s throat

moaning comes out,

Eyes are closed of all spiritless persons

and their feet got sprain!



Night of the past age
certainly passed
from all corners of the world!

New culture glimmers

with the coming golden ray!


The rival forces of dark

disperse before it —

the rival forces

that are not tired and torn!

Now is the time to face them!

It is the time

when new power gets victory!

Attack is must,

That the distance between

countries, castes, classes

must be eliminated now!

For it

voice is raised

for the conflict between old and new.


Old :

that on the verge of death,

has establishments in disorder today,

All its light stolen by the new,

And the society

gone from his control!


Moments of dim past left only,

Whose palpitated frenzy is this —

"We were happy in past,

But the chariot of civilization

moves fast on the path of decay,

and is perplexed to ruin the world!”


We have to know,

the destructive factor is fatal

That creates the fictitious dark

and try to show them well-wisher

under the unsuccessful disguise

of a jackal!

They fill their belly by cheating!

Are such men

useful for the world?

They turn face from the new discourse!

And forget to fly with time!


The ruins of Crete1 and Babylon2

pass before our eyes!


Neither shed tears to see them

nor sing in their praise thousand songs,

nor recall the days of passed ages!


The new era arrives,

On its path only

we have to spread the soft flowers,

Only its path we have to make easy!

So that in the arbour of new culture-vine

all of us may sing new melody song!

Forgetting sufferings and pain

of passed life!


1- An island in Mediterranean Sea, near Greece; famous for its ancient culture.

2- Ancient town in Mesopotamia; famous for its culture.



Let the Ganga flow on barren land today!

Lofty rigid stones fall cracking,

Particles of sand shine on naked earth,

Fire flames uplift in air,

Show the world the calm of the cloud!


Frightened men fall like quivering leaves,

All stooped at the feet of oppressor,

On spit, kick, crash, grief, cruel death

Arouse the flame of self-asset sacrifice!


The rivers of blood flown, strange,

became the earth, untrue denied virtue,

The frightened bloody morning bursts,

Remove the shadow of clouds from the sun!




Don’t draw the picture again

on the faded lines!

The world has already changed,

Splendour has spread new,

This is not old look !

The flow of old culture

vanished from the eyes,

The prosperous past remains

a broken tale!

Do not fuse into it

the false, fanciful thoughts!


Early clouds have rained,

Tired and still are all empty,

Will this thunder rain?

New sprouts shoot in dust

full of life green,

Surely, burst out from the sky

Redness of the people’s epoch,

Worthless, destroyed, decayed, lost

Don’t recall the past again!




The dreams you will fulfil

I believe !

I see

the man at every step

to welcome you!


His iron hands

hold a garland of blooming flowers !

Who has eradicated

the idle and morose life!

The garland,

will honour your neck.

As your heart is heavy

with the sufferings of the people!

Because —

As the velvet spirit of your

strong body,

becomes restless

seeing the chaotic world!

You understand the value of the flowers!

The whole world will flourish

with blooming garden, under the sky!

Man will love flowers,

his ‘Shraddha’1 will get ornaments,

He will kiss children,

And will play 'horse' on green lawn!


Tears of eyes

will be sweet, but not salt.

The pyre flame will burn,

but nobody’s desires

remain unfulfilled!

It’s hard

to see God today

He will remain still,


(consider it true!)

then not much worry to us and you!

His difference with us

Surely abridge,

The day

Man fulfils his dream !


1 According to Indian mythology the wife of the first man of the universe Manu, as described in an epic ‘Kaamaayanee’ written in Hindi by a modern Hindi poet Late Jaishankar Prasad.




Clouds appear with flowing-thunder,

The sky covered, the storm blowing,

Dark of night appears on the earth,

Smiling clouds call flying!

Rain pauseless, on burns O clouds!

Heated and scorching the earth, the whole day,

Make the dust calm and cool today,

Nature feel fresh beauty today!


The rain pour water nonstop,

Spread grace and beauty on the world stage,

Rain from sky, drizzling, O clouds!

The rain pour water, as chain of pearls!


Gusts of wind smell water,

Signs of heat, removed all,

The walls, old and new, appear bathing,

Currents flowing here and there on the path!


Neither perspired the farmer,

Nor sowed new seeds on earth,

Nor ploughs on the fertile land,

Nor tasted fruits fresh and ripe !


Raising the eyes, staring the sky

Constant with love and emotion,

By heart, ears, eyes, and body,

Surround and fly clouds on the world!

Strange beauty, lightning flash,

Darkness dense spreads all round,

The rain clouds sing new melody,

The message of free love!

Solitary dry land gets greenery,

Be youthful, the suhaagin1 earth,

Fickleness slips, simplicity shy,

With love shine eyes, tilled with life!


1- A female whose husband is alive.




Stilled deserted / Lonely path,

The eternal blue sky!

On dusty land

Banyan tree bends

like an ancient testimony!


Weak like exhausted old,

irregular breaths,

Spread the roots on the land

And on death-moment of fall,

a fearful dream

shattered it — made tremble,

made it stand,

posing fear!


The rising dust wants to say —

‘O Skyscraper! Come down,

Your desire is unfulfilled,

Come to me,

and fall helplessly!

Not valuing the smallness,

ridiculed it!


Near the roots

broken and ugly,

coloured with holy vermilion

a stone like Hanumaan1

sat on the lap.

Worshipped by men —

they salute and circumambulate it in reverence!

While at mid night

dogs come and lick it!


1- A mythological Hindu god, the monkey who acted as a messenger in Raamaa’s march against Raavan.



Time will change with the voice of poet’s life,

Echo of that voice will come from home to home!

Poet’s voice is the voice of the masses,

His voice is attractive and fearless!

Mighty kingdoms turned by it,

Unjust exploiters frighten!

On his invocation, stoop, exploited-aggrieved

Gather with new strength!

They stir the sky by roaring,

Shatter the painful forts by sharp assaults!

History follows the poet always,

The poet burns more than the sun!

Poet lives in cruel struggles of ages,

Tastes the poison more than Lord Shiva1,

Feelings that throb every heart,

Helpless mute beloved wanders in forests in wait —

Guileless love in mother’s eyes,

Flows in poet’s heart always!

Birhaa2, who sings in fields,

Or cites a song of union,

Poet’s heart is hidden in him,

It is he who fills life in stones!


1- A Hindu god.

2- A ballad; song of separation from one’s beloved.




Who —

Who is that

interrupts our dreams,

That deforms and change

our decorated pictures ?

Make dwarf

their largeness,
Fill depression

in their freedom?


Who ?

Who is the impudent?

That gives inconsistent shape

to each relevant line

by breaking at places?


Robbing the meaning of the whole scenario,

Decorates it with absurd specialties!


Removing from the right context

hang topsy-turvy,

in ridicule,

on walls




the live idols of our faiths,

turn them into mimicry,

coloured in coaltar1!


Whose horse-laugh is this?

Rippling all-round

snakes’ nooses!


Be cautious —

I won't allow history to repeat,

Don’t allow oppressors

to sing a victory song,

crushing down dead bodies of mute!


The dynamic attributes of

these dreams,

these pictures,

and experienced reality

will break

spreading far and near

numerous invisible

nets of spies!


The true relationship will develop

first time

between man and man!


1- Black sticky substance.




How should we know




How we guess




We live

in conditions

fruitless, neutral, unfit!





when don’t change —


gets restrained,

Being static,

Loses exhilaration of fringy!


Change / break

Of situations

is must,


New situations

be altogether against, or

be doubtful!




The bells in temples ring!

Numberless devotees

might stand folding hands,

their foreheads stooping in reverence!


The darkness

wearing mist spreads

on trees, domes, buildings,

tiled roofs, tin-sheds !


The Winter Eve

deepens at seven o’clock sharp!


Doors and windows shut!

On roads —

electric pillars

emit dim yellow light,

one or two scooters or bikes

pass away making harsh noise!


Sometimes the drums play!


At bus stand

loud-speaker still announces,

alarms the passengers

to go at different places.


Cold, at night, increases,

Night’s desolation increases!


‘This is All India Radio!

it’s quarter to nine.’


The lions of circus

began to roar!

(surely it’s ten at night!)


Before sleep

and lying in carelessness

A beggar cries —

‘Roti and Daal,

the need of the belly!’

Is there any

in the big houses

to give roti and daal?

I am hungry!’


No door opens,

No voice heard,

Beggar becomes perverse—

'I will not leave

without Roti and Daal,

from here!'


He continues to cry —

'Roti and Daal,

the need of the belly!’


His cry makes all tremble,

and shudders the pleasures and comforts!

(If beggar becomes bloody,

and hurls in breaking the door!)

Impact of terror

appears on faces,

Lights of houses off,

Locks on doors start hanging!


Beggar continues to cry,

Out of his power continues to cry!


When —

The door of a kind person

made him a little quiet,

solved his question

for a single night,

Desolation grew more,

on trees, domes, buildings,

tiled roofs, tin-sheds,

mist fell more and more condensed !


The night

became more cold and dark,


had become more shameless and bare!




Each movement / fate

of static, lifeless objects

is logically fixed,

Each vibration of creation,

slow or gigantic,

is accomplished by the rules of nature.



The mutual




of sensitive creatures

is a mere coincidence!


That’s why —

In the vast universe

in the world of billion people;

millions of people are alone!

Are anxious


to get company of someone,

to have a co-traveller !


Necessities stand

but not fulfilment,

Prayers made

but not idols,

Wanderings are there

without ways,

Rivers are

without banks!


Search is on


Life —

is a moving



Gold in hand

turns to dust,

The close and dear

found — adopted

becomes alien!


Then it appears —

Life is without logic!

The man

is miserable, surely!



for sudden happenings,


Live contacts

are not made,

they develop !

Desired dreams

not invited, they

come voluntarily!


O, cursed people

of the world!




for ‘sudden’!




Keep on watch the shores

Flowing in midstream!


They will not support

even a day

to you,

tired and lonely!



they are already occupied,

Unwanted you,

Keep on flowing ,

Endure adversities as usual!



How many flowers

left unseen,

The shooting pain rise

in heart




What life!

Drink the bitter everyday,

The sweet ocean ripples

But —

How much empty am I!


Do I live?




The grammar of life

I didn’t read,

It is perhaps,


I didn’t know how to live

in real sense!


In self-display

like an unsuccessful expression

remained non-effective!



I remained out of sorts!


I did not know

the world-life practice,


and their uses,

That’s why

the so called world

didn’t absorb me!


I did not learn

to discriminate

man to man,

The scientific differentiation of

coarse material and minute

I understand not!

Whatever said

didn’t fit

in the field of explanation!

So, perhaps

my statement

was not liked!

I didn’t read

the grammar of life,


It is, that

I didn't learn

to lead happy life

like others!


I lived always

in the simplicity of life!

Didn’t display

the allegorical,

mysterious metaphorical expressions!

I kept on burning

like a commonly used lamp of mustard oil

in a small recess!

I did not light

the idiomatic mercury tubes

on the walls painted,

It is perhaps this

that society got no entertainment,

and not delighted

to its expectations!


I didn’t plunge

into the show of the world!

I didn’t sing

in evasive expression

with connotation accomplished!

I didn't know

to taste the life in style

in the metaphorical decorated pot!

So, perhaps,

I didn’t learn to live

like tactful experts!



I live

in a deserted dense forest,

Bear, day and night

intolerable pain

of utter loneliness!


I do not willingly

opt this torture-cell!

I never desired,

this companionless cage

to lead lonely life!


Doubtful stillness lives,

And life seems useless causeless there!



fire mountains of brute cruelty

burn in me!

Lava-river of retaliation-revenge


my injured wounded consciousness;


this deserted dense forest

seems only safe!



how helpless

is the past

to man!)


The dense forest

The loneliness

Is my helplessness!

Let me bear

the pain of it!


Let me burn,

Let me burn!


Forests will extinguish,

Iron cages will get melted!


I will come,

Return back,

Will abandon my ‘self’,

Will become a part of collective consciousness,

Will merge in the endless crowd!


Where personal stings

will be lost


will sleep

in the depths of unconsciousness!




Let the mountains of pain

Fall and break

Again and again,

Immortal, I

Will remain uncrushed!


Let the rapid dark clouds

cover the sky,

Let the furious storms thunder,

seizing all,

An iron man

I will be invincible!


Lacs of

scorpions’ stings,

Let arise

The poison scorched tide in body,

Pledged to endure

I will remain unshaken!


[48] EVEN IF


I don’t mind —

your fraudulent looks

hurt my conscience,

like a sting of jealous



I don’t mind —

your ridiculous satires

pierce my heart

like arrows of fire

cruel torments!


Unattractive images —

lie before

I know them,

know their history from the beginning!


I have healing cure of them.

Nothing goes wrong

today if

they stay

enclosing the horizon!




In photo

I didn’t like my face!

I got my snaps again,

with great enthusiasm,

Gave different poses,

as the photographer directed

smiled lessening seriousness also,

and drew passions on face, too,

But ,

In those pictures, too

I didn’t like my face,

They were not, I desired,

not at all!

But, are those figures

Not mine?

Are those multi-coloured photos

Not mine?

We do not want to see

the real shape in photo, in fact,

We want to see ourselves

according to our own perception of beauty,

to see our deformities

hidden or confined!




The picture that drowned

in darkness of past —

To draw it

again and again.


The thing that scattered

at places

on the trodden path,

To gather it

thoughtfully —


The things to expire,


to keep, carefully

again and again —


Is not the custom and aim

of poetry!


Biography :

Is a sequence of past,



Poetry :





Appendix — 1


Dr. Mahendra Bhatnagar’s is one of the significant post-independence voices in Hindi and Indian English Poetry, expressing the lyricism and pathos, aspirations and yearnings of the modern Indian intellect. Rooted deep into the Indian soil, his poems reflect not only the moods of a poet but of a complex age.

Born in Jhansi (Uttar Pradesh) at maternal grandfather’s residence on 26 June 1926; 6 a.m.

Primary education in Jhansi, Morar (Gwalior) and Sabalgarh (Morena); Matric (1941) from High School, Morar (Gwalior); Inter (1943) from Madhav College, Ujjain; B.A. (1945) from Victoria College, - at present, Maharani Laxmi Bai College - Gwalior; M. A. (1948) and Ph.D. (1957) in Hindi from Nagpur University; L.T. (1950 ; Madhya Bharat Govt.)

Places of work — Bundelkhand, Chambal region and Malwa.

High School Teacher from July 1945. Retired as Professor on 1 July 1984 (M.P. Govt. Educational service).

Selected once for the post of Professor of Hindi Language & Literature, in Tashkent University, U.S.S.R. (1978) by UGC & ICCR (NEW DELHI)

Principal Investigator (U.G.C. / Jiwaji University, Gwalior) from 1984 to 1987.

Professor in the IGNOU Teaching Centre of Jiwaji University, Gwalior in 1992.

Worked as Chairman \ Member of various committees in Indore University, Vikram University, Ujjain & Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Agra.

Worked as a member in the managing committees of ‘Gwalior Shodh Sansthan’, ‘Madhya Pradesh Hindi Granth Academy’ & ‘Rashtra-Bhasha Prachar Samiti, Bhopal’.

From time to time, poems included in various Text-Books of curricula of Educational Boards & Universities of India.

Worked as one of the members in the Audition Committees of Drama / Light Music of All India Radio (Akashvani) - Stations Indore and Gwalior. Contracted Song-Writer of All India Radio \ For all Radio Stations (Light Music Section). Broadcast many poems, talks and other programmes from Indore, Bhopal, Gwalior and New Delhi (National Channels) Radio Stations.

Conducted and directed many literary societies in Ujjain, Dewas, Dhar, Mandsaur and Gwalior.

Appointed as one of the Award-Judges by ‘Bihar Rashtra-Bhasha Parishad, Patna’ (1981 & 1983), ‘Uttar Pradesh Hindi Sansthan, Lucknow’ (1983), ‘Rajasthan Sahitya Akademi, Udaipur’ (1991,1993,1994) & ‘Hindi Sahitya Parishad, Ahmedabad, Gujrat (2001).

Poems translated, published and broadcast in many foreign and Indian languages.

In French :

A Modern Indian Poet : Dr. Mahendra Bhatnagar :


Tr. Mrs. Purnima Ray

In Tamil :

Kaalan Maarum,

Mahendra Bhatnagarin Kavithaigal.

In Telugu :

Deepanni Veliginchu.

In Kannad & In Bangla :

Mrityu-Bodh : Jeewan-Bodh.

In Marathi :

Samkalp Aaani Anaya Kavita

In Oriya :


In Malyalam, Gujrati, Manipuri, Sindhi, Punjabi, Urdu.

In Czech, Japanese, Nepali,

Eleven volumes of poems in English :

[1]‘Forty Poems of Mahendra Bhatnagar’ [Selected Poems —1]

[2]‘After The Forty Poems’ [Selected Poems — 2]

[3]‘Dr. Mahendra Bhatnagar’s Poetry.’ [Selected Poems — 3]

[4] ‘Exuberance and other poems.

[5]‘Death Perception : Life Perception’

[6] ‘Passion and Compassion’

[7] ‘Poems : For A Better World’

[8] ‘Lyric-Lute’

[9] ‘A Handful Of Light’

[10] ‘New Enlightened World’

[11] ‘Dawn to Dusk’

Distinguished Anthologies :


[Poems of social harmony & humanism : realistic & visionary aspects.]


[Poems of faith & optimism : delight & pain. Philosophy of life.]


[Love poems]


[Nature poems]


[Poems on Death-perception : Life-perception & Critical Study]

Works published in seven volumes in Hindi –

three of Poems (comprising sixteen earlier collections), two of Critical articles, one on Premchand ( Research work) and one of Miscellaneous writings.


[1]Living Through Challenges :

A Study of Dr.Mahendra Bhatnagar’s Poetry

By Dr. B.C. Dwivedy.

[2] Poet Dr. Mahendra Bhatnagar :

His Mind And Art / (In Eng. & French)

Ed. Dr. S.C. Dwivedi & Dr. Shubha Dwivedi

Received awards, four times ( 1952, 1958, 1960, 1985. ) from Madhya-Bhaarat Govt. & Madhy- Pradesh Govt.

Edited literary magazines ‘Sandhya’ (Monthly) and Pratikalpa’ (Quarterly) from Ujjain.

Member Advisory Board : Indian Journal of POSTCOLONIAL LITERATURES [Half-yearly / Thodupuzha-Kerala]

Adviser : ‘POETCRIT’ (Half-Yearly / Maranda, H.P.),

Adviser : ‘Lokmangal’ (Quarterly / Gwalior, M.P.)

Adviser : ‘Vangmaya’ (Quarterly / Aligarh, U.P.)

Patron : www. creativesaplings.com

Contact : 110 BalwantNagar, Gandhi Road, Gwalior — 474 002 (M.P.) INDIA

Phone : 0751-4092908 / M-8109730048

E-Mail : drmahendra02@gmail.com


New Enlightened World



Mahendra Bhatnagar is a poet who has published eleven volumes of poems in English. He has also published seven volumes of work in Hindi – three of poems (comprised of sixteen earlier collections), two of critical articles, one on Premchand (research work) and one on miscellaneous writings. His poems have been translated, published and broadcast in many foreign and Indian languages.

The present volume contains fifty poems. Thirty-six of these poems are written under the title “Nai Chetna” or “The New Awareness.” The last fourteen poems have been compiled under the title “Sankelp” or “The

Bhatnagar is a poet who has elevated the pitch-perfect observation of everyday detail into an art form. There are moments in this collection where his verse is so unassuming, so exact in the placement of each word that it is easy to let it glide over you like an overheard conversation without realizing how brilliantly it is executed.

The poet focuses on life lived on the brink of disruption, on the tensions between the “salvation of life,” the fight for freedom and the challenge of facing the contemporary world. As we see in “Festival of Freedom,” he throws down the gauntlet and encourages the fight and struggle with anti-social forces:

I celebrate the festival of freedom
to save them!
I lit, in debt,
the lamps of freedom
on the broken balcony of falling house!
On my dry lips
I sing the song of freedom!
Freedom is dear to me
as I have nurtured its garden
by my own hands!

But, Hold!
O! Tempted vultures!
If you cast your sight,
On its fruit and flowers –

One more fight for freedom
will begin again!

He chooses the grand phrase over the subtle; he thinks in terms of the grand scheme of things: Independence, unity and integrity, empathy, crises, isolation, disintegration and the social evils inherent in modern life. For example, in “The New Man” Bhatnagar provides an insightful meditation on man’s desire for a new age of truth, faith and freedom:

The world resounds with the steps of mass
The weak enemy’s heart trembles every time,
Look, the blocked path is opening,
No sharp edge left, the sword of feudalism is

Truth came to the fore, victorious is faith,
Desired new age near and past
Don’t reserve any more the missed,
unfulfilled desire,
The horizon of world reflects the new picture
of man!

Here is a man who likes things kept within bounds, depending on faith, truth and the reassuring outlines of his own vision to save mankind from false prophets, society and exploiters.

In “Caravan of Life” Bhatnagar expects readers to come halfway towards him by offering their attention and exercising their imaginations. The question that surfaces in my mind as I read the poem is: does the poet ask too much of my imaginative collaboration? The poem runs from “momentary storms,” through “dark night” to the “desolate, homeless, unlighted” caravan of life. Why do I think the demand on a reader’s imagination may be too onerous? Well, while the poem is intriguing, it never becomes convincingly real. The poet seems to know and understand some things which readers may not and thus never closes what to me is a credibility gap.

The lengthy poem “New Direction” asks how are we to conquer primitive traditions. Like the Great Wall of China, or the highest mountain, or the widest river (which we are almost unable to overcome), these traditions block the path to freedom in the changing world. The poem ends with the challenge of a forceful slogan:

“We have to build a new world!
with no sign
of dead repulsive capitalism,
All dictatorship will be dragged away
from the world!

the world will breath
on the path of socialism
the breath of happiness!
Filled with the hope of new life!
The barren land will be fertile!

will remove the hurdles of sufferings,
Enthusiasm of work,
will bridge ditches of inequalities!

The new awakening will destroy
all ancient
forts, wall, doors and clefts!”

Only humanity, massing together, can solve the problems of capitalism, dictatorship, suffering and poverty. It is in our own hands, with out “treasure of power and wisdom,” to make the world a better place for everyone to live in.

“Assured” rants against the oppressor as

One, who put out
lamps of life
And from the womb of earth
Uprooted the growing plants,
Harvested land
He made barren,
Attacked the heart of a new age
with a sharp burning dagger -

and finishes with the end of the “dark age” and the lights that will be lit again to welcome the new era:

The earth with new buds
will flourish happily!

That world’s populace
like peacock,
will sing the songs in new tunes,
And will dance
tinkling the payal
in the fields,

In the poem “I Have Trust” we have the poet’s personal view of his imprisonment in the body, but salvation is at hand as his companions will come and “unlock the cells” and “Will thrash / high heads of vanity / of rebellious power”:

I am imprisoned in dark cells
at present,
Cells – it is said –
wind remains in bondage,
light remains in bondage,
spreads only the regime of stillness!

This theme is also to be found in “The New Age,” where Bhatnagar says, “The masses stopping the storms / will throw the advancing tide!” These poems do more than describe the inner spirit uncovering itself, they animate the way in which the downtrodden will rise up and take arms against the oppressor (“New Era’s thoughts have their influence / of unceasing conflict!”) At the end of these satisfying mini-narratives the reader loops back to the titles and has to ask their relation to the poems: in what way do the accounts complete meaning, or represent complete meaning? There may be a stronger case for a shock of meaning that nevertheless remains somehow incomplete and out of reach.

In this way, Bhatnagar reveals himself to be an intense but solvable poet: much of the density of his writing resolves itself in the patterning of the collection. At its best the poetry has an engaging presence and a pulsing narrative energy, so that one can see the formidable themes that capture the poet’s imagination brought to fruition. For example, Bhatnagar’s description in the poem “New Culture” of “The rival forces of dark,” who will disperse before the new culture and the heralding of a new dawn, leads to the exhilarating crescendo of:

The new era arrives,
On its path only

we have to spread the soft flowers,
Only its path we have to make easy!
So that in the arbour of new culture-vine
all of us may sing new melody song!
Forgetting sufferings and pain
of passed life!

“Flow the Ganga” is a more lyrical poem, where we read of the mighty river flowing over barren land and, in the final stanza, see the river turn into the Apocalyptic vision of “The rivers of blood”:

The rivers of blood flown, strange,
became the earth, untrue denied virtue,
The frightened bloody morning bursts,
Removes the shadow of clouds from the sun!

The visionary quality in such poems can seem astonishing in its range, its depth, its complexity. The rootedness in the local landscape is no limitation at all, its connectedness to the history of India through oppression, war, Independence and poverty, runs through these poems, as in “The Saboteur”:

Who is that
interrupts our dreams,
That deforms and change
our decorated pictures?
Make dwarf
their largeness,
Fill depression
in there freedom?

and in the poem “Cries of a City and Night,” where we find beggars crying for food and no-one to hear their pleas. People go inside their homes and lock their doors and hearts against the poor:

Impact of terror
appears on faces,
Lights of houses off,
Locks on doors start hanging!

Beggar continues to cry;
Out of his power continues to cry!

In this poem we remind ourselves of the beggars who inhabit the streets, of the poor who are always with us, of the homeless and destitute. The ghostly movement of the beggar’s plight is set within the changing and disintegrating Indian landscape:

When –
The door of a kind person
made him a little quiet,
solved his question
for a single night,
Desolate grew more,
on trees, domes, buildings,
tiled roofs, tin-sheds,
mist fell more and more condensed!

The night
became more cold and dark,
had become more shameless and bare

Sometimes the emotion becomes simpler and calmer, as we see in “The Art of Living” where the poet reaches the conclusion that he didn’t study life sufficiently in order to live the reality of life:

The grammar of life
I didn’t read
It is perhaps,
I didn’t know how to live
in real sense!

Finally, the poet’s feelings for life break clear of the disintegration and are articulated as a comparison of his life to a beautiful jar and the fact that he didn’t take the advice of so-called experts:

I didn’t know
to taste the life in style
in the metaphorical decorated pot!

So, perhaps
I didn’t learn to live
like tactful experts!

But the pain is still there, and the blame, the overwhelming sense of blame that pervades this whole book. The longer poems containing the breadth of vision Bhatnagar attempts to express and form is an important subject-matter. And despite his personalized relationship with these ideas, his main concern is to restore humanity to its true autonomy, creativity and value. The aim of poetry, Bhatnagar tells us is not to keep the scattered past intact, but to be alive in the present. Biography is a thing of the past; poetry contains things of the here and now:

The picture that drowned
in darkness of past –
To draw it
again and again.

The thing that scattered
at places
on the trodden path,
To gather it
thoughtfully –

The things to expire,
to keep, carefully
again and again –

Is not the custom and aim
of poetry!

Is a sequence of past,



There is a tension between the past and present, between change and permanence in this work, and the poetry arises from that tension, and it is not just the tension in the poet’s life but the impermanence of human life and activity that powers the poems. In the end, I find the evidence from this collection pretty conclusive – one needs to reach beyond the confines of the poem in order to fully achieve the necessary imaginative vision to express the nightmare of the world today, and to find those anchors or signposts to help us navigate our way through.

— Patricia Prime is a renowned poet and critic from Newzeland


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