Keki Daruwalla
Nilambari: Poems by Ajneya Clarion Books, Delhi, 1982, 86 pp., 40.00
May-June 1982, volume 6, No 6

Ajneya is one of the biggest names in Hindi letters today. His impact, both on Hindi fiction and poetry, has been considerable, and is a part of a growing legend. Even the way Vatsyayan acquired his pen name ‘Ajneya’ (the un┬Čknowable) has a story to it. A freedom fighter, he had to smuggle his early writings out of prison. The only way to publish them was under a pseudonym. Hence the name ‘Ajneya’. His oeuvre today consists of fourteen volumes of verse, four novels and several volumes of short stories and essays. Normally when Hindi authors decide to translate their work, especially poetry, into English, the product is more often than not a frigid piece of dated diction. That it is not so with Nilambari was only to be expected. But that the verse should retain its vigour, its spurts of breathless rhythm, its sudden shifts of mood and thought like a bird veering in flight, came as a surprise.

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