Poetry not a romantic luxury, says Dr Jernail Singh Anand.

Prof Dr Shiv Sethi

[Dr. Jernail Singh Anand is one of the tallest literary figures  of the world with an oeuvre of 160 plus books.  Recently, he won the Charter of Morava, an international award in Creativity at the 60th Belgrade Writers Meet, 2023, and his name was engraved on the Poets’ Rock in Serbia. Dr. Shiv Sethi interviews Dr. Anand for Precious Kashmir.]

Dr. Anand, do you think literature is playing its destined role in contemporary times? 

If we look at newspapers which represent our society on a miniscule level, literature has no role to play. The newspapers have a business page, a sports page, and all the pages for mudslinging, but none for literature.  Still poets are idealists, and go on creating literature. Literature appears to have lost its prime position as a driving force of society, because men of literature are nonstop critics of the ways of the world, and the world has nothing but hemlock for its critics. Moreover, poetry is a romantic luxury the wise world cannot afford. 

What are the differences between your great epic ‘Lustus:The Prince of Darkness’  and Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’? 

Satan represents a world of the medieval times, which has turned over. He appears to be a monk when juxtaposed with Lustus, a neo-mythological creation, who is a Corporate of Evil, and is called upon to look after the empire of Darkness, after Satan becomes old and sick. It is different from Paradise Lost in several ways. Satan was a sauve villain, whereas Lustus is a hardcore criminal, who possesses the heart and soul of mankind. His avowed ambition is to destabilize man emotionally by disturbing his sexual balance, and he wants to humanize the animal race, by giving them a ‘homovid’ vaccine. It is a new idea which makes Lustus the most dangerous creation of our times. 

Have your books been translated into other world languages? What about your Iranian connection?

My books ‘Bliss’, ‘I Belong to you’ have been translated into Persian by Iranian scholar Prof.Nargues Mohammadi and Dr. Roghayeh Farsi has translated The Broken Narrative and Lustus into Persian. ‘Lustus’ has been translated into Bengali by Dr. Tamali Neogi. It translation in Arabic, French and Tamil is under way. Dr. Roghayeh Farsi, my literary biographer,  carried out a research project in the Dept. of English, Neyshabur University, comparing my poetry with two other Iranian poets. She has also helped me in expounding my Theory of Biotext. 

Dr Anand, you are considered greatest philosopher poet of the century. How the world has recognized your work? And what is your message to the world? 

I was conferred The Charter of Morava International Award in Creativity at the 60th Belgrade International Writers Meet, Oct. 2023. And  my name has been put on the Poets’ Rock in Serbia. It is a rare recognition for any Indian poet. I have received the Cross of Peace, Cross of Literature, Word Icon of Peace, Art4 Life Lifetime Achievement Award from Beverley Hills, Franz Kafka Literary Prize and Maxim Gorky Literature Award. I am glad my work has been recognized globally. I believe that a Poet has to be a good human beings also. The world needs good men to improve its score as a divine habitation. 

These are election times and there is not one poet in the entire country who is contesting the election. What can be the reason?

The world of the poet and the world of men are two different plains. The poet with his particular mindset often suffers because of his beliefs.  He belongs to the ideal world of romance, metaphors and similes, while the world believes in dry and violent facts. That is why it can be disastrous to make a poet a Member of the Parliament. Dealing in words, ideas and philosophies is more rewarding and fulfilling than dealing in men with gutter sensibility. Shelley’s thought that poets are unacknowledged legislators of the world is hot steam, having little relevance in the matter of fact world. 

What is important for a poet? To create great literature or a best seller? 

The creation of great literature is always the passion of  great poets. Such literature cannot be  created with an eye on the box office. However, even a poet has to survive and this struggle for survival turns mundane when the Poet has to turn a vegetable seller. . I think more than sales, the truly valuable literature is that which is timeless, and written without an eye on awards.   Poetry has something divine behind its creation. A true poet won’t stop writing poetry, whether it pays him anything or not or even if it goes unrewarded.

Is Poetry an art like painting and music? Can it be learnt like an art in Schools of Poetry?

The Universities have departments where Poetry is taught but the focus is on appreciation of poetry. So far as writing of poetry is concerned, Poetry cannot be learnt as an art, like painting or music because it is a matter of inspiration, not passion alone.  Universities play a great role in dissemination of literature. But they have scant provisions to promote the creation of poetry. They believe in dry desk work, writing research papers on poets dead or alive. We must distinguish between writing poetry and writing about poetry. University teachers who have taught the Paper of Poetry  for years may not have themselves written a poem. Universities eulogize theory and research, but never a creative poet is on their rolls, simply because of his creative work. 

 ‘The Master’s Voice’  is in the news. What is special about this book?

Very few poets come up with such books in which every poem has been critically evaluated. This book contains more than 200 poems of mine, with their critical appreciation by a senior faculty, Prof Cijo Joseph Chennelil. These poems were written over a period of 15 years. They are a mirror of my philosophy, and present a glimpse of the times under transformation. 


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