Stray Summer Madness
Rudrangshu Mukherjee
Lonesong Street by Pritish Nandy Arnold-Heinemann, 1976, 30 pp., 15.00
Riding the Midnight Riverby Pritish Nandy Arnold-Heinemann, 1975, 144 pp., 25.00
April 1976, volume 1, No 2

Indians writing poetry in English and not in their mother-tongue, Indo-Anglian poetry as it is fashionably known, has become quite a cult today. A cult particu­larly among the generation still suffering from the colo­nial hangover, the generation without any roots any­where, people who are aliens in their own land. Indo-­Anglian poetry is written and largely read by that strata who have gained most by the presence of the English in India and who still pathetically accept the ‘do-gooding’ influence of the English in this country. The Indo-Anglian poets are very much a part and pro­duct of that ethos, though the trend caught on in the post-Independence years. Fostered by English education and thus acquiring some degree of control over the language, they did not face the crisis of the two cultu­res but took the path of least or no resistance. They took to writing poetry in English rather than doing it the hard way by acquiring a control over their mother-­tongue—the only vehicle for writing genuinely great poetry—and by a grasp of the indigenous tradition, folk-lore and an absorption of the existing stream of literature. Hence, the foreignness of their idiom. Pritish Nandy is a poet of this genre though more lyrical in his choice of words than the general run of poets who wallow in the fashion of Indo-Angliana, and perhaps the most self-conscious in his style and choice of themes.

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