Sunday, June 29, 2014
Essay by Chandramauli Chandrakant
Shailendra Chauhan is considered as a very sharp and committed poet of modern Hindi poetry of last two decades of twentieth century and the early twenty first century. He is well known as the mainstay of Progressivism in Hindi literature. His various works also marked the culmination of this literary movement and its evolution into the Pratibaddha Kavita of 1980s. His presence is equally important towards his contribution in ‘Neo Criticism’ in Indian literature. He is one of the most prominent Hindi poet, essayist, literary critic, editor, political analyst and fiction writer of the era.
He started out as an important poet and also story teller. His poetry collection ‘Nau Rupaye Bees Paise Ke Liye’ (1983) marked a distinct transition in Hindi literature from the prevalent Progressive movement. Afterwards one of his short story collection Nahin yah ko-ee kahani nahin (1996) got published. About two decade later to his first poetic work came in 1983, another two poetry collections were published viz; Swetpatra (2002), and Eashwar Kee Chaukhat Par (2004) and appreciated by young readers in particular from all corners of the country.
As all we know that prior to sixth decade of twentieth century, Modernism was considered most influential work in experimental poems, noted for the use of archetypal imagery, and the stark depiction of the contemporary intellectual, where a poet gets lost in his own sense of perfectionism and subjective interpretation of the external reality that he loses touch with the reality itself. Shailendra’s work is deeply influenced by his viewpoints of rationale Marxism, Socialism and carried an innate expression of his deep discontent heightened by his plain imagery. He continued to show his progressive streak even after the declination of the Progressive Movement after 1989; and till now he along with only a few writers continued his ideological fight against post-modernist and formalist trends in Hindi literature without any dogmatic approach.
After the publication of his first collection of verse in 1983, he contributed with a missionary spirit to a number of committed unscheduled/little magazines viz ; Uttarardh, Uttargatha, Pahal, Vasudha, Kriti Oar, Alav, Vatayan, Swadhinata and Sahi-Samajh along with other leading literary magazines. He also published his little magazine “Dharati” from to time to time, which is a testimony of his ideologies in literature. In this regard, his recently published autobiographical work “Paanv Zamin Par” is also very noteworthy.
The scene of contemporary Hindi Literature can be viewed through Shailendra’s various literary pursuits that figure prominently in critical works published in last few years. Though the poems and articles of Shailendra were regularly been published in renowned Hindi journals, the English translations of his poems were published in Kritya, Muse India, CLRI and other magazines. His book ‘Eashwar Kee Chaukhat Par’ is the best reflection of his poetic genius, where he analyses the contemporary social conditions with global as well as local rationale outlook. He is a frontline Hindi poet. Now the translation of these poems in English was felt necessary so as to put up the essence of his touchy and sensible poems to a bigger sphere of readers across and out of the country. Hope this work will be appreciated by the sincere readers and in sensible literary circles at large.