In her new hindi poetry collection “JurratKhwaabDekhne Ki “(2018, AyanPrakashan, New Delhi) Rashmi Bajaj, the well known feminist poet, widens her canvas of themes and concerns beyond gender. As the prologue states, the collection is of “Poetry that is more than/mere deception and hypocrisy”. In the collection divided into four sections, the poet ruthlessly scans the contemporary intellectual, political, socio-cultural and gender _scenario.It forces us all to reinvent our’ human core’ beyond the narrow confines of identities and ideologies.
The poet is outraged at the rampant misogyny ,gender oppression, sexual violence and she laments that all the lofty dreams of great men like “Gandhi”,“Ambedkar” about women emancipation and gender equal society stand badly shattered aswomen continue to be ‘eternal Dalits’. Even the ‘Manusmriti_burners’ become the perpetrators of gender oppression at homes and in life.The distinction of the collection is that it represents the voices that have long been ignored in the main literary discourse. There are poems on the plight of Kashmiri Hindus :‘Na koi NabinaMasiha’ and the cold_bloodedmurder of Dr. Pankaj Narang of Delhi emerges as the “New symbol”ofthe “new marginalized” of “New India” these people don’t fit in the vote_ scheme of politicians and discourse_ scheme of intellectuals. The poems prominently bring out the poet’s deep dismay over identity_ politics_ ridden times where people “first explore the caste ,religion and class of corpses before shedding tears on a dead fellow human being”. The poet also exposes the despicable fraud of the present day reformers and selfishsocial activists busy in photo shopping while sufferers thirst for ‘two drops of genuine love ‘.She calls out for destruction of the divisive political and intellectual narrative and discourse that spreads only hatred and despair which has let loose blood thirsty ‘madaris, performing Death shows with deadly antiques and Dance of Corpses’.
The real beauty of the collection is itsfinal message of faith , hope ,humanity and universal love. It is a world enlivened by Buddha and sufis even as Ambedkar,Abdul Kalaam and Amrita Pritam receive poetictributes. The myth ofSitais also recreated as she assumes name ‘Janki’and instead of burying herself in earth returns to take charge of her parental kingdom Mithila and serve her old and needy parents!
The poems reveal the poet’s unflinching faith inthe power of Art Of Poetry and strength of Poet:“Never ever perish/the infinite possibilities of poet and poetry”and poet in her‘NewAvtar’ will redeem the present depressing wasteland of ours.In our impoverished circumstances where ideologies and philosophies are becoming increasingly dissatisfying,“JurratKhwaabDekhneki” encapsulates a serious brave quest for “New scriptures/New scholarship/New wisdom/and new homo_sapiens”.
PROFILE – DR. RASHMI BAJAJ
A University topper, an All-Round Best Medal Awardee in her student life, a Head of English Deptt. in a Haryana College, Rashmi Bajaj is known as a promising bilingual (Hindi, English) poet, author and critic with a ‘bold, original stance’. Propelled by her intense desire to ‘connect’ with her ‘own’ people around her, she has chosen to adopt Hindi as her language of creative writing. Her poetry is her most effective means of realizing her Dream of creating a ‘beautiful, egalitarian world’. Her collections – “Mrityorma Jeevnam Garmaya” (1998) [From Death to Life], “Nirbhay Ho Jao Draupadi” (2006) [Be Thou Fearless, O Draupadi], “Surbala Ki Madhushala” (2009) [A Woman’s Tavern”] and “Swayamsiddha” (2013) [A Self-Realized Woman] are well-known feminist works and subjects of many research – degrees and research – articles by scholars. Her poems have been prescribed as teaching inputs in University Text Books. Her internationally acclaimed Criticism work “Women Indo-Anglian Poets: A Critique”, selected by U.S. Library of Congress among best publications in 1996, holds the distinction to be a milestone in the study of English poetry by Indian women writers. Her research articles and creative writing have been published in prestigious books, anthologies and journals. A recipient of many awards and honours, an inspirational scholarly speaker in international and national fora, celebrated poet in poetry congregations, Rashmi Bajaj is also a strong Print and Electronic media presence with her views, interviews and poems frequently published and telecast.