Literary translator, Senior Lecturer in Translation Studies (Spain) Department of Translation and Communication
University Jaume I 12005, Castellón, SPAIN
In literary studies, as in many other realms, generally we seem to move around a Eurocentric orbit that broadly forgets any tradition of literature outside it. It is a pity to note the lack of communication between literary traditions and the fact that proper attention is not being given to what diverse literary cultures could give us.
Prof. Jaydeep Sarangi, a bilingual poet-academic (in Bengali and English), has written a touching collection of poems, from India, for India and beyond: From Dulong to Beas. Flow of the Soul.
The book is introduced by a quote from Swami Vivekananda, also explicitly mentioned in the author’s gratitude preface. And the choice is not casual. As in Vivekananda’s main thoughts, this collection of poems oozes humanity. More than that. It transmits a deep love for humanity, in its small details, from daily feelings.
Somehow, also, when reading the book, you notice a convincing combination of strength and softness: clear thoughts conveyed with profound gentleness.
Sarangi’s poetic voice delves into the question of identity, Indian, Bengali… only to transcend limits and become, above all, human. The images are deeply grounded in, contextualized in India, in particular and precise places. But the hues and meanings are openly universal.
As a poet, the author gives equal emphasis on dealing with social issues of grave urgency (Dalits are a main concern), as well as simple themes of day to day interest (desire, wondering, home, remembrance of past times…).
Also, in discoursive terms, he doesn’t create linguistic distance, nor complexity in form. On the contrary, ideas are expressed in an explicit manner, with a simplicity that is always a sign of poetic ability. His poetic images are fresh and clear, such as in “Relationship”:
I want my relationships to hover around me Like a fairy over a garden;
A child with her mother Not like a wasp or snake That coils and coils.
Above all, Jaydeep Sarangi’s From Dulong to Beas: Flow of the Soul is a valuable contribution to literature produced from beyond the Western paradigm, to the whole world. His view is deeply human, and, thus, deeply universal.
As we all know, India has a rich literary tradition. Jaydeep Sarangi is a splendid member of this endless family. Truly, a poet of note.