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Biplab Maj umdar 's haik u

w il l st ay w it h
t he r eader f or a l ong t ime
By PATRICIA PRIME (NEWZEALAND)
Golden Horizon, by Biplab Majumdar
Published by I nternational Poetry Society of Kolkata, India,
(2004), Pb. 32, Price Rs. 100/-
Biplab Majumdar dedicates this volume of haiku, Golden Horizon, to "The Innocent
Victims of Terrorism all over the World". As he says in his Preface :
In Japan the poets may be strict to the form and nature of haiku but the rest
of the world has accepted and moulded it with his on colour and flavor. This
wonderful form of poetry has been assimilated in the blood of foreign poets
with a ready response.
It is with this "ready response" in this collection of experimental haiku that Majumdar
writes poems on the subjects of truth and philosophy. Majumdar employs traditional
techniques and form with great freedom. But always there is remarkable linguistic and
technical resource at the hand of a poet who has something to say, and can only, of
course, say it through whatever technical resources he deploys. Thematically varied -
-- not just childhood and defeat, not just tragedy and poetry, but also happiness, sadness,
ageing, love, desire, dreams --- these are also his subjects. Poets, too, come under his
scrutiny :
Poets, strange creatures
Their hearts, most sensitive parts
Lie outside their bodles
Shared worlds : physical, spiritual and cultural, inhabit the collection. We live in a
world of sound that is often primary in its source but sometimes secondary; reading the
poems on the page, the sound is transmitted through the imagination and the reader's
own memory into a silent cadence that in turn shapes an image. Majumdar hears that
the "Lone wind of evening / Brings here in soggy darkness / Of nostalgic wound". The
sound when it comes may overtake normality, taking us elsewhere, into our own
particular corner of the world. This is what the poet's antennae stay tuned for --- "The
shelf is filled / With poems. I enjoy this / Festival of poetry."
Majumdar's poems are full of articulation of light : "light transcends", "enlighten
world", "the sun peeps in the sky", "Perhaps before light" and "aspire for light". His
haiku turn light into sound. It is this interest in the energy of language and its potential
for exploring the shapes of meaning that lie within the world around him and fuel his
work which make Majumdar's haiku so forceful. He bears witness, and he chastens
the outside world from a distance --- moral as well as physical --- that inhabits humanity.
He reminds us that, whatever our dreams, whether or not they are accomplished, nature
always regenerates and so too will our dreams :
All the buds and seeds
Tell us the tale of morrow
A dream never dies
The moral and the sacred, whatever the shape words give to sound, silence, life,
love and death, there is an order that, whether real or illusion, creates a pause in the
chaos and rush of time; a punctuation in which sudden glimpses of love can flash
across the consciousness. It is very much present in Majumdar's haiku :
Every flower bears
Fragrace of its own, like each
Woman of this earth
These are haiku which reward concentrated reading, and the cumulative effect is
meditative. Majumdar is attentive, his eye and ear are tuned, so that light and sound -
-- subtle and luminous -- are often partners. Birds in the leaves, flooded roads, a rose
the ocean, a fruit loaded branch, rain : the images are vivid. Elsewhere it is the
transparency of words, a graveyard, night birds, a foamy moon of ageing that capture
the eye, the ear and the mind.
Fog of memory
Insecurity hugs, old age
Basks in solitude
The intensity of many of these haiku grows out of Majumdar's preserved moments.
Place, light, sound, nature, weaves a dance through haiku that evoke beauty as well
as a gentle power, treading a path that is at once evocative and memorable. The
technical resource, the songs, this too will stay with the reader for a long time.
3/34, Surya Nagar, Kolkata- 40, India l Mob. : 7 8 9 0 0 1 9 6 6 9 l E-mail : biplab66@gmail.com