Editor: Sudhir K. Arora
Publisher: Prakash Book Depot, Bareilly, 2010
Price: 200/- 230+VIII pp.
Mrs. Madhuri Bite Editor,
The Criterion: An International Journal in English ISSN: 0976-8165
Stephen Gill, a well-known poet of the 21st century was born in Sialkot, Pakistan and brought up in India. He is an eyewitness of the forces of violence and terrorism. The Flame Unmasked is an epic poem by Stephen Gill which exhibits the poetic genius of Gill. With an identity as a skilled poet, he is also recognized as a thinker and a philosopher.
The Flame Unmasked, an epic poem by Gill is written in 8 parts, 62 cantos and runs into 152 pages. Dealing with the theme of terrorism, the poem gives a moral that all is not lost. The poem is intertwined with the threads of poet’s past memories, his consciousness about the present situation and his vision about the future of human beings.
The present book comprises a collection of 18 scholarly papers which attempt to explore various critical perspectives. R. C. Shukla’s article deals with the speculative solemnity in Gill’s The Flame. Sandhya Saxena in her scholarly article studies The Flame and Paradise Lost with the comparative perspective. Sudhir K. Arora in his insightful article studies The Flame in the light of rasa theory where he rightly observes that Stephen Gill’s The Flame makes the reader fall in love with the eternal flame, makes him angry at the destruction, lets lose hatred at the destructive dance of the terrorists, creates fear making him believe that it may happen to him also, touches the string of sorrow, displaying the dismal scene, arises pity, playing the cord of the heart. Madhubala Saxena’s scholarly article examines Gill’s epical poem The Flame focusing cruel terrorism. The monster terrorism has totally rocked the structure of the building of the peace without sparing any creatures creating fear and horror in them. Next article by G. L. Gautam is a comparative study of Shelley’s Triumph of Life and Stephen Gill’s The Flame. Both the poems perceptively deal with the politics of their time and give graphic descriptions of nature, making readers aware of their environment that faces threat on global scale.
The following article explores multifarious manifestations in Stephen Gill’s The Flame. In all the religions of the world god is the source of life force and the eternal flame is the another manifestation of that omnipresent lifeforce. The poet ends his narration with his firm determination with a glimmer of hope. The multilateral manifestations add to the beauty of Stephen Gill’s The Flame. Anuradha Sharma studies revamping roles of terrorism in Ramcharitmanas and The Flame. Both the poets have their own enigmatic ways of presenting
their views. Tulsidas presents the blood-bathed scenes in a language that is no ugly, while Stephen Gill according to his own tenets and time quibbles the rules of poetry to bring to the surface of ugliness of human nature. Tulsidas and Gill both long for the peace that is shattered by some mislaid individuals.
Chhote Lal Khatri’s qualitative article examines symphony of music, imagery and thought. Khatri observes that The Flame offers us a bouquet of poetry with brilliant poetic flashes that animate a reader with its thought, music and imagery in symphony. In another article Sudhir Arora compares Gill’s The Flame with Niranjan Mohanty’s prayers to lord Jagannatha and writes that both the texts have religious connotations and are replete with the devotional touches though they focus contemporary reality. K. V. Dominic in his research article states that Stephen Gill’s The Flame is an epic on anti-terrorism. He further tells that terrorism is an extreme form of ambition for power to rule others. Terrorists carry out the bloodshed of innocent citizens to gain political, national or religious power. They have no respect for human life and values.
Satish Kumar and Anupam Bansal in their insightful article study The Flame in comparison with The Bhagavadgita. They explain that both The Bhagavadgita and The Flame can exercise a tonic influence on humanity in the present age of disillusionment, dishonesty, corruption, chicanery, moral turpitude and global terrorism. There is something living and vibrant in them. The sublimity of their thoughts and feelings enlightens and sublimates the readers. K. Balachandran studies The Flame at a glance. He observes that the flame stands for sharing compassion, sacrifice, courage and witness. It is the visible form of fire. He further states that flames bring peace, warmth, happiness, contentment, if used in the rightful way; and if it is used in the contrary way, hatred, unhappiness, destruction and dissatisfaction. In his another article Sudhir Arora deals with The Prophet and The Flame from the comparative perspective. The comparative study between The Prophet and The Flame reveals similarities and dissimilarities as the two texts are written in different environments. The present dismal scenario has forced Gill to pen against the terrorism, the monster that has swallowed the lives of the countless children, women and men. His aim is to awaken the people who are being cheated by the maniac messiahs. On the other hand Gibran talks of the secrets that make life meaningful and worth living.
Alka Agrawal discusses Gill’s attachment with nature. She says that it is nature that has gone deep into the psyche of Stephen Gill so much that he cannot separate himself from nature. Arun Kumar Mishra says in his article that Gill’s The Flame is an anatomy of terrorism because Gill uses the most vibrant genre of literary expression as a medium to deal with the burning issue of global terrorism threatening the peace and stability in the modern world. G. Dominic Savio and S. J. Kala’s paper aims at identifying the type of disaster discussed in The Flame. The heinous occurrence, its characteristic features and its cause, the magnitude of the mayhem caused and its impact are to be analyzed to prove the points of discussion. Ruchi Shinghal in her scholarly article states that Stephen Gill’s The Flame is a celebration of peace. She further
explains that message and philosophy of peace and love is recommended for the welfare of the humanity. The poem is an yearning for peace. One can fight against the demon of terrorism only through uniting efforts following peaceful means. In his another insightful article Sudhir Arora discusses the crafting technique used by Stephen Gill in The Flame. He comments that Stephen Gill follows the tradition of Wordsworth not because of his poetry which is certainly not the case but because of writing ‘preface’ which reflects the very poetic idiom that he has applied in his poetry.