The Mirror and The Light

Prof Dr Shiv Sethi

P.V. Laxmiprasad is the author of this well-researched critical book on Indian Writing in English. He hails from Karimnagar, Telangana.He is the author of 42 books in English Literature. Indian Writing in English is an established form of literature in the world of English Literature. Literary Criticism is an important genre of creative writing. India has produced eminent critics like C.D. Narasimmaiah, M.K. Nail, Meenakshi Mukherjee et al. and Laxmiprasad has joined this galaxy of eminent critics in India. This critical volume consists of research papers on Tagore, Amitava Ghosh, Mahesh Dattani, K.V. Raghupathi, P.C.K. Prem, D.C. Chambial, T.V. Reddy, P. Raja and Basavaraj Naikar.

P.V. Laxmiprasad is the author of this critical book. He has included twenty-six well-researched papers on Indian English poets, drama, fiction and short stories. This book consists of a well-written preface, contents and research papers. The first paper is on the poetry of T.V. Reddy. The portrayal of rural element figured prominently in Indian English Poetry. The poetry of T.V. Reddy excels in depicting the plight of the vast majority of the village people. He presents the rural scenes in simple and moving terms. For example, a poem, entitled ‘A Fortune Teller’ is highly satirical though the tone is rural and contemporary in the Indian country side. His observations and experiences of rural life are simply superb. Laxmiprasad explores the bucolic element through the poetry of T.V. Reddy in his native land, landscapes and rural settings. His ‘Village Girl’ (172) is the embodiment of rustic beauty who “keeping the pot at the waist’s curve” balanced “her lonely way” (172).

Laxmiprasad has studied Tagore’s story collection Stolen Treasure and Other Stories. This paper is entitled ‘Psychological and Social Realism in Rabindranath Tagore’s‘Stolen Treasure’. Human pathos is undoubtedly the pick of the collection. ‘Stolen Treasure’ deals with the superstitions of the society. Hemantha, Subha are two protagonists who championed the cause of society.

‘Give and Take’ touches upon the age-old practice of dowry demand and subsequent harassment. The story is a scathing indictment of the dowry system. In another interesting novelGhare Bhaire: Home and the World, Laxmiprasad has explored a gripping portrayal of Swadeshi Movement. Tagore deals with the complexity and the tragic dimensions of his own time in his novel. As he was attracted by the Swadeshi Movement, he presented those burning issues from his tripolar characters like Nikhilesh, Sandeep and Vimala. Yet the events portrayed that Home meets the World towards the end.

In another interesting research paper on Mahesh Dattai’s Final Solutions, Laxmiprasad has explored religious communalism. The demons of communal hatred and the perpetrators of the crimes are well depicted through the characters like Javed, Ramnik Gandhi, Aruna and Hardika who have played their parts and had to ultimately share the burden of guilt. Dattani has combined the subplot with the main plot. Yet, Laxmiprasad finds that the play ends with no solution for the communal problem.

In the next paper on the short story collection of P. Raja’s Kozhi Grandpa’s Chickens, Laxmiprasad has studied Indian sensibility for different thematic outputs, the art of characterization, the underlying tone of humour and common incidents are explored through the collection. Raja is known for humour and irony by using Indian situations and in the end Laxmiprasad finds that P. Raja, the story writer, exposes social hypocrisy, vices and evils.

In another highly well-researched paper, Laxmiprasad has studied K.V. Raghupathi’s poetry collection The Images of a Growing Dying City. The title is Quo Vadis. The collection is full of images to symbolize the creation and destruction of city life. Laxmiprasad finds that the poet has represented the particular state of the city in a particular image in a remarkable way. Towards the end, the city has collapsed on the lengths and breadths of value-based lives. The title is interesting, that is Quo Vadis, which means ‘where are we heading from here?’. “Where is the city leading us? – is it on the brink of glory or disaster?”

In another paper, Laxmiprasad has studied symbolism from his reading of D.C. Chambiar’s poetry. He begins the paper with a quote by Robert Frost – “Good Fences make Good Neighbours”. He has referred to the Symbolist Movement in France and then returned to Indian Poetry to study Chambial’s poetry for his symbols and symbolic impact. Laxmiprasad finds that without symbols, all poetry is prosaic. Pearl and Lamb are used as symbols of purity and innocence but Laxmiprasad finds that these two become symbols of wolves and hyenas for the existential crisis in the world. These symbols reflect, man’s pitilessness on other human beings and creatures. It is a satire on Indian Polity. Interestingly, Laxmiprasad has studied eight collections of Chambial’s poetry for exploration of symbols. The symbolism of Chambial’s poetry is an immediate urge to unfold the truth. Laxmiprasad concludes that symbolism in Chambial’s poetry bears marks of time, sense and sensibility.

Laxmiprasad has evaluated other writers like Basavaraj Naikar, Jayanthi M Dalal, P.C.K. Prem, Chandramoni Narayanaswamy and Biplab Majumdar. To conclude the review, the book The Mirror and The Light: Critical Essays on Indian Writing in English is a well-researched study of different Indian poets, story writers and novelists. It is useful for research scholars.


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