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Locating Cultures: A Semi-Academic Essay On the English Poetry of the North-East

"If India was the Jewel in the Crown of the British Empire, the remote North East of that country is its Hidden Jewel": Tony Howard. (contemporary travel writer) In an enthusiastic survey of the Indian English poetry scene Binod K. John says: The north-east has become a new haven for Indian poets writing in English, and then mentions the names of poets all of whom live and write in Shillong. The Welsh poet Dafydd Rowlands, who, along with the other Welsh poet, Nigel Jenkins, visited the Khasi Hills in 1994, also spoke of a circle of writers based here in Shillong for whose work I have a lot of admiration. There was no mention of any poet from any other part of the region. This of course was way back in 1994, when poetry in the north-east meant poets based in Shillong: Desmond L. Kharmawphlang, Robin S. Ngangom, Ananya S. Guha, Kynpham S. Nongkynrih, Anjum Hasan, Paul Lyngdoh, Almond D. Syiem, Gweneth A. Mawlong, and Indari S. Warjri. Since the time I have referred to here, circa 1990, Indian English fiction and Indian Poetry in English translation have gained ground. Death and illness of the earlier generation of poets such as Nissim Ezekiel, AK Ramanujan and Arun Kolatkar has meant that the new needed to take over. Even poets such as Jayanta Mahapatra find it hard to get published by the mainstream publishers; his most recent books having been published by small-town publishing houses. Similarly the gradual dissolution of the divide between the two rubrics Indian poetry per se and Indian Poetry in English, is further catalyzed with the increased incidence of translated work of regional poetry in English. Speaking of Indian poetry, one is confronted by the vexed question of what is Indian about it. But, by not bringing into its fold much poetry of value that is being written and published by the diverse ethnic groups in Indias north-east serves merely to further estrange the people of the region. True, some attempt has been made over the last one decade or so to include and discuss the works of Robin S Ngangom, Desmond Kharmawphlang, Mamang Dai, Kynpham S. Nongkynrih in anthologies and academic forums. But their relative obscurity as against the ubiquity of poets of dubious merit in high profile cultural events and in P3 circles has meant that the latter masquerade as the new and young Indian English poets ready to take over from the older generation of poets. Ironically enough many of these new poets from Manipur, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh have been discovered by the older generation of poets such as Jayanta Mahapatra and Adil Jussawala and praised in their reviews and lectures. In one of his earlier essays on Indian Poetry, for example, Jayanta Mahapatra mentions Robin while noting how Indian poetry in English underwent a sea-change and also a dramatic re-evaluation in the 1970s: It was the native culture that was showing in the poem of the Indian English poet, instead of the earlier tendency to write a well-crafted poem, or a kind of poetry that was notable for its dry wit and irony. Barring these words of recognition, no serious attempt has been made so far to take on board English poetry from the region in relation to the rubric Indian Poetry in English. This critical

neglect is perhaps best understood in the general context of the regions long history of oppression and violence, of what the people themselves of the region have rightly or wrongly perceived as having been internally colonized, their subjugation and political neglect and exploitation at the hands of the Indian state. No wonder, it is not poetry but ethnic strife which comes readily to the mind of a mainstream Indian whenever the north-east is mentioned. For decades now, the term NE has conjured up images of gun-toting militant outfits, violence and bandhs. It perhaps still does in the media-fed minds of most Indians. Even in academic circles, along with notorious abbreviations such as, NSCN, MNF, ULFA, another term that has served to describe the region has been, surprisingly enough, NEHU (acronym for the North-Eastern Hill University, the central university). Many such people greet strangers from the north-east with knowing words and winks such as So, you are from NEHU? Thus, the unfortunate phrase, north-east, which clearly comes from the centre-periphery model of location, and carries on the colonial legacy is meant to describe what is territorially contained within the Indian nation-state between the flimsy Siliguri (chicken) neck and the international borders of Bhutan, China/Tibet, Myanmar and Bangladesh. In Indias political imaginary the term serves to describe a region that is both mysterious and dangerous. Historically it is somewhat unknown; a heart of darkness. In other words, the term homogenizes a location where no homogeneity can ever be imagined. In their respective locations, the diverse ethnic groups have numerous histories, mythologies, and identities of religion, language, dialect, and cultural practices. Even within a single political unit called Nagaland numerous tribes speak different languages/dialects, such that the language of one group is inaccessible to the rest. Nagamese is a lingua franca which bears a close resemblance to Assamese than to any of the Naga dialects/languages. Just as one kind of subimperialism that lasted well into the 20th century (the Bengali sub-imperialism) dominated the Assamese (not to speak of the rest) people of the undivided Bengal, so the undivided Assam perpetrated a kind of Assamese hegemony that Nagamese is a legacy of. Even the undivided Assam is a site for a million mutinies now. The subject is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg in the context of difference and hegemony; and has been the subject of innumerable books. What it does to any consideration of poetry in the north-east is open a Pandoras Box. It also means that one cannot hope to understand any of the even better known north-eastern poets, without a reasonably clear understanding of the location, history and mythology of the region. Thus no one person is competent to speak of the subject in general. I shall therefore limit my discussion to only a few of the poets whose location and context I am reasonably familiar with. For the same reason I shall confine my discussion mostly to the English poetry of the region and maybe some that is available in English translation. The issues that I address here would be mostly along expected lines: what sort of poetry is being written here? Is the poetry of the region worth any critical attention? Where does it stand in relation to Indian English Poetry? Though these are questions that are best addressed at the very basic level, I shall try to move beyond them and into the contestatory sites of the regions varied history, culture, topography, and identity politics. For me the great attraction of the poetry of this region is the peculiar interface between its preferred

generic modethat of the lyricand the political/ideological motivations and compunctions. As Theodor Adorno says in Lyric Poetry and Society, that All individual lyric poetry is indeed grounded in a collective substratum (220). He argues that in every lyric poem the historical relation of individual to society within the realm of subjective spirit must have been precipitated in the poem. This precipitation will be more perfect , the more the poem eschews the relation of self to society as an explicit theme and the more it allows this relation to crystallize involuntarily from within the poem( 217). Thus even the imagistic/thematic mainstay of the poetry, nature, can be seen as an ideological outhouse for its lyrical/romantic mode. This heady mixture of the romantic and the political is often mistaken to be a late-romantic, unmodern, unpostmodern aesthetic that is outside the fold of its supposed Indian/mainstream counterpart. Thus, what Jenkins says about the talented younger generation of Khasi poets is valid only with certain qualifications, and is applicable to the larger body of indigenous English poets from the region: that they cut their teeth on Lorca, Seferis, Arghezi, Neruda and the hard-edged modernists of the third world rather than of the Anglo-American brand of modernism, which had initially swept the first generation of independent Indias English poets. In the early 1990s, a poetry magazine (significantly called, Lyric) was brought out by a group of Shillong-based poets. The two leaders in this enterprise were Desmond L. Kharmawphlang (1964-) [who is a Khasi folklorist by profession] and Robin S. Ngangom (1959-) [who is not a Khasi but is a Meitei from Manipur, and has made Shillong his home]. It carried a brief but programmatic announcement about their preferred aesthetic. The yearly magazine put together with a shoestring budget with contributions from the poets themselves, clearly stated that most Indian English poetry is academic has been produced under the influence of Anglo-American modernism was cerebral and obscure. The protagonists of Lyric wanted to write readable, transparent lyrical poetry. But they also wanted it to be a poetry that was not run of the mill Indian, but locally "rooted." This aesthetic may have originated in Shillong, but the success of these poets prompted the poets elsewhere in the region to follow suit: Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram and so on. Jenkins observes that they (the Khasi poets) have all abandoned their native language as a creative medium and taken to English... (ibid.). In this last respect, of course, they share a trait with many other Indian English poets. Jayanta Mahapatra (who has himself only recently begun experimenting with Oriya, and not very successfully, some would think) says, from the midnineteenth century till the mid-twentieth, Indian writing exhibits a sort of coherence that had been absent for many years. Still, it was actually with the departure of the British from India that a new seriousness in the intention of poets and novelists writing in English became evident (Mahapatra 286). The same paradox is discernible in the history of poetry in the Khasi hills. Though the British, through the Welsh, introduced them to the written tradition in poetry, it is much after the Welsh left that poetry here became truly modern. Mahapatra further draws a line

between that earlier generation and the one that followed, locating the latter in the late 1970s: Terrorism and needless acts of violence became the order of the day in states like Punjab and Assam. Writers and poets had become one with the anguish they saw and felt (ibid). As recently as three decades ago, Shillong was the capital of undivided Assam, and had become a virtual melting pot. Famous for its schools and colleges, it used to attract a large number of students from all over the country. But suddenly, in the late sixties and the seventies it joined the mainstream and was engulfed in violence and mindless blood spillage. Undoubtedly, the peoples of the north-east, with their mind-boggling diversity of languages and cultural practices have been marginalized, and perhaps irrevocably alienated through governmental apathy, shortsightedness, and some wrong-headed policies. In conditions like these sub-nationalism grows, and, if neglected or oppressed, takes the form of militant nationalism. One can begin by using Meghalaya as a test case for examining the intricate relationship between poetry, politics and history in the region. The Khasis, one of the three major ethnic groups, are grateful to the Welsh for their many acts of kindness, particularly to the first Welsh missionary Thomas Jones (1810-49) for having handed down the Khasi alphabets to them, and making them educationally advanced. But the Welsh benediction was not entirely an unmixed one. And the Khasis can neither forget nor forgive their erstwhile mentors for the near-decimation of their indigenous culture. In any case, the Khasi written literatures are barely a century old; and the current scenario of the ethnic and non ethnic intermixture seems to have been seeded much earlierin the 1880s, when a Sylhet Muslim, Amjad Ali contributed the first-ever Khasi book of poetry to their written tradition. If in their poetic infancy the threat to its indigenous nature came from the whites and the local non-Khasi insiders, the contemporary fear of the native culture being swamped by other alien cultures is no less justified. Even so, their contemporary resistance to non-native cultures is not unmixed with admiration and gratitude. The consequent tension and ambivalence has made their poetry more sinewy and the best that is being written by the Khasis themselves shows a healthy avoidance of raw anger and rhetoric. Apart from this love-hate attitude of the indigenous to the foreign, the dialectic between the beauty of the land and the inhumanity and horror of violence, between the private world of love and the public world of hatred have contributed to the richness of the poetry here. Manipurs history is even more complex: with the infiltration of Hinduism-Vaisnavism in the 18th century as well as Christianity and the British in the 19th century. Buddhists in the region claim that their religion preceded the Hindu influence. The mutations and adaptations of Hindu mythology are wellknown. After India became independent, this princely state merged with the Indian State in 1949. These religious and linguistic factors 29 dialects out of which only 5 are recognized by the Manipur Government further complicate the Manipuri culture. Besides this, the Mizos too have their own varied and diverse historical and cultural divisions and subdivisions into clans, dialects and location. Nagas too live in two or three other parts of the NE other than Nagaland. The poets of the region, for all their diversity, have all experienced

paroxysms of ethnic strife. They have been caught in the crossfire between state terrorism and the terrorism of the insurgents. In these times is born what Tariq Ali calls the literature of real conflict (Ali 143). This has happened in remote central European, Middle-East and Latin American countries; and this is precisely what has happened, or is happening, in India. The purpose behind providing these bits of information is to alert ourselves, if necessary to warn each other lest we generalize. Behind every private lyric utterance lies a web of socially significant resonances which every reader needs to catch. The speaking subject in most of the lyrics one encounters in the poetry of the region is not the withdrawn romantic self. The lover of women or men is at the same time a lover of the land, the flora and the fauna. Yet nature is not seen merely as an aesthetic object, but all kinds of historical, political and mythological associations inevitably crowd in. Desmonds researches into his lands enchanting folk traditions have taken him into deep jungles. And two of his finest poems emerge from his forays into these jungles: Letter from Pahambir is quintessentially Khasi. Pahambir is an inaccessible village where U Di squats on the floor,/ gnarled hands extended, hooded eyes/ stealing tiny lights from the fire. The village chief, who is also the tiger man, demands an explanation from the city man for their visit. The visitors explanation is in the nature of a supplication with the intention of reassuring the wary native: We came, I plead, to learn, not to teach. We come with longing, we are the forgetful generation, our hearts tapping a rhythm spawned in shame, a shame that splits our present from our past. ... ...We are ourselves Our worst enemies. This honesty on the part of the poet is fused with the wisdom of U Di; and what results is this: The stories burn our memories like a distant meteor searing the unnamed gloom; by their light I examine the great hurt I carry in my soul for having denied my own. (Letter from Pahambir) The last lines inevitably go beyond the romantic exclusivity of the self to the interconnectedness

of the subject and the object. One can observe a similar movement in his Letter from Paham Rioh Village: I am being entertained by a stocky, bare-footed man, with twinkling eyes and leather face of fifty five summers. I am in the house of a notorious poacher, drinking his rice-beer and eating his cured fish. The poem leaves a deep impression on us because we havent read or experienced anything like this before. The poet listens to the strange native and says: I remain silent all the while as I did yesterday, when he took me to deep jungles and taught me the meaning of an upturned leaf, the furtiveness of birds, the age of animal droppings. But the mans evocation of the past merges with the present of the corrupted successors of that tradition. There is a similar guilt consciousness among poets from the other regions. Yumlam Tana (1976- ) from Arunachal Pradesh says, I write in English which is not my language you see, I am a Nyishi a tribal claiming to be a man. (The Man and the Tiger) But for him, the language does not separate him from his fellow tribesman, nor from the rest of humanity. Like Desmond he too is busy connecting to his roots through legends and folklore. In spite of all those talks about rationales and scientific temper a primordial sentiment lurk somewhere in us begotten in the days of chaos. The Nyibu [his tribe] had read the entrails of the chickens and presaged that six dead monkeys shall lie beside a stranger in the house (The Man and the Tiger)

Another young Khasi poet, Almond Dean Syiem (1967-) also laments the ravishing of his land: Im standing on top of a hill which is bare like a naked woman whose breasts have been uncovered by a ravishing madman. (On Top of a Hill) Yet this is not merely an expression of conservationists concern. Nature is inextricably entangled with unhappy memories of the colonial past. Some of his best poetry springs from his attempts to make sense of his ambivalent attitude towards the colonial past. Addressing his Welsh benefactor, Nigel Jenkins, he remembers Jones, and says: A paleface, godsent young man entered once our mist woven hills, brought us letters, literature and the Bible. He was a Welsh man. The Tommies, however, brought spite, spattered the ferns with our fathers blood and spoke to us in gunfire tones. He connects this colonial past to the postcolonial present, and ends the poem thus: My only query are your people as you are? A land worth fighting for, your words. It grieves me that you should love these broken ridges and valleys more than some of my own people. (Encounters with a Welsh Poet) Paul Lyngdoh (1976-) also lashes out against the unscrupulous home-grown politicianbusinessman-bureaucrat nexus, and the betrayal of the unthinking Khasi women. His irony, thus, is double-edged in that it is both a frontal attack on the outsider who is out to marginalize and even destroy his native Khasi culture, and on the corrupt officials at home. This is evident in his Land for Sale. A former student leader, now a member of the Meghalaya legislative Assembly, and enjoying a tremendous political following in the state, he has published poems in The Telegraph, and has a collection from Writers Workshop. Unsurprisingly his poetry is

overtly political, and not a few poems are marred because of their belligerence. But, again, his more recent poems are remarkable for their fine control of anger and disgust. But one would have been surprised indeed if all the Khasi voices were male; after all theirs is a matrilineal culture. A womans anger is heard in the poetry of Indari Syiem Warjri (1962-). Her poem on The God of Revenge is bold in its theme and her utterance sincere. Published in the New Welsh Review this poem shows how poetry can be born out of a sincere emotional response to social reality. She is reacting to inhuman brutality that follows militant nationalism. The scene is that of a violent day of ethnic conflict. Her angry outburst is as much local as universal. It could well be a scene in Bosnia: I do not call you brother who wage war on children and watch as they choke in silent anguish. Along with Warjri, another Khasi woman poet who merits mention here is Gweneth A. Mawlong. Among the Naga women poets, Nini Vingiriau Lungalang (1976-), Monalisa Changkija (1960-) and Easterrine Iralu (1959-) have shown much promise, and write of the uncorrupted land, Naga myths and legends and mourn the destruction of its old glory. Nini sings of the stern sentinel trees [that] silently guard The secret pulse that throbs beneath the skirts Of ancient ancestress Puliebadze. Walk with care for here is holy ground .. Let then the wisps of mist that stroke The flanks of old Puliebadze! She goes on to admonish fellow tribesmen to take care of the sacred place, Puliebadge, which is a mountain near Kohima. Monalisa, says similarly, Yes, I have seen our rice fields Turn into factories and hills Reduced to barren brown Our rivers have dried And our once sparkling fish Lie dead on sandy banks. Of all these poets from the region, only Mamang Dai (1957-), otherwise a fine poet from

Arunachal Pradesh, eschews the expression of political concerns, not believing in identity politics. She belongs to the Adi community, and resigning from the administrative service has founded the Arunachal Heritage Society. She often reminds one of many of the beauracratturned poets, who in their pro-establishment security write great poetry of artistic merit, but with a painful lack of social concern. Dais poetry too is remarkable for its highly evocative imagery and finesse of phrasing. She breathes a palpable nostalgia for a rapidly disappearing past: I know From faces that I meet In these lives That have crumbled That the past lives In these eyes That the jungle shows Desmond evokes the same sense of nostalgia but his emotion is more politically charged and historically conscious than Mamang Dais. His The September Song and The Conquest can be sited here. In the first he mourns the two lives snuffed/ out in this storm of blood/ [which] lie unmourned by alien skies. The poem depicts the trouble-torn streets of Shillong, curfew and all. Yet, in the second, he laments the rape of his land, first by the British who came with gifts of bullets, blood-money and religion, and then by the plains men from the sweltering/ plains,/ from everywhere. In some of their early poems the Khasi poets like Kharmawphlang were driven more by anger than by any awareness of the tragic corridors of history. Mercifully, all this has changed; and their more recent poetry tends to be more self-critical, as in some poems quoted above, than abusive. Irony, instead of being other-directed, is being increasingly used as a device to neutralize the tendency towards invective. Kharmawphlang despairs at having to express himself in English: My burdensome English learning assails me, and the tomb it has become laughs and cackles without end. Though he cannot yet forgive the alien patrons: Hiding under dark cloaks of my alien patrons, I was taught to be ashamed of my own. (The Conquest) A similar strain of irony is also discernible in the young poet from Mizoram, Mona Zote (1972-):

When out of the honeycomb of right Church drums busily advertise The high percentage of faith. One discerns the same self-directed irony in many of Robins works. The anger of his early works has given way to meditative poise, and irony has emerged as the main rhetorical tool: Patriotism is the need of the hour. patriotism is preaching succession and mourning our merger with a nation. patriotism is honouring martyrs who died in confusion, patriotism is declaring we should preserve native customs traditions, our literature and performing arts, and inflicting them on hapless peoples patriotism is admiring the youth who fondles grenades. This is from his most ambitious poem, The Strange Case of Robin S. Ngangom, where one notices a blend of the deeply personal and the flagrantly political. Belonging to the second part of the book under review with the subheading Subject and Objects, (the first part is called The Book of Lusts) this poem is a reflection on the subjects relationship with one of the objects called Manipur. But the relationship quickly grows beyond the deep subjectivity of I misplaced a bronze bell [emblematic of his cultural identity] /somewhere to our intentions and our past. So that by the time the poem ends, the strange case of Robin S Ngangom does not appear strange or unique after all. His is the plight of many or most Manipuris of his generation: But where can one run from the homeland? One is greeted by some amazing phrases: We sowed suspicion in the fields./ Hatred sprang and razed the crops But such immaculate phrasing is more a rule than an exception in Robins inspired artistry. All through the book Robin keeps springing surprises, his way with words match the turn of emotions. Robins poetry here is deeply passionate, where the love of the land inextricably merges with the love of the flesh. The passion behind the poetry is indicated not only in the dedication, To my parents who in making love also made poetry, but also in the two epigraphs taken from Rilke and Neruda. In fact, Robins poetry is deeply indebted to the Latin American and Caribbean as well as African poetry, and strives to eschew the Anglo-American modernism that the earlier generation of Indian poets succumbed to. His heart bleeds as much for his homeland, as for its people, as much for his beloved. Kynpham Singh Nongkynrih (1964-) is a prolific poet, who is most direct in the articulation of identity politics, and therefore, furthest removed from the lyrical impulse of his peers. He steeped in folklore and local colour, and in his first two collections (1988) he deals mostly with his childhood relationships with Cherrapunjee, its mists, waterfalls,

gorges, as well as the myths associated with them. There is a sinological flavor in these naive story-poems: simple and direct narratives. Attempts to resurrect the dying myths, jostle with personal memories of childhood, and give us not only a window view of the picturesque place, but also a peep into the very heart of its people. He revisits the very spots of time with which Khasi folklore is inextricably woven: Dainthlen and Noh Ka Likai Fall named after the woman, Likai and Sngi Thiang (A Day in Cherrapunjee: II and III). Tabish Khair has recently pointed out how a funny lack of humour characterizes Indian poetry in English (Khair). He includes Robin S. Ngangom among the worthy defaulters. The accusation of Khair is debatable, if not baseless; and is certainly not true of Nongkynrih. Maybe my husband is jobless now, says a landlady in one of his poems, but he will get a job one day maybe after my fourth child, who knows ... (Only my Tenant) Listen to him, his commas are as big as buckets holes, and his full stops as unwieldy as shot-puts. (The New Professor) A mere college teacher, he hits back at those look-down-uponers who are materially better off than A poor teacher. Though less often, even Kharmawphlangs and Ngangoms poetry shows wit interspersed with serious poetry. Take the following lines of the latter, for example: I can make love to women and improvise. And when I kiss one we close our eyes. While you grunt and ejaculate prematurely within three minutes on your painted partner as she smokes during the act perhaps with a cigarette held between her toes. (Values) If this piece of satire is not funny, what is? Again, like Kharmawphlang, Nongkynrih laments the incursion of foreign cultures. As pears become metaphors for the irreversible conquest, that like them we shed our old ways/ and having shed them we find/ no spring to bring the flowers back. He admires their youthful forms but ultimately only strange flowers boss around and like flowers, only strangers and strange ways have come/ to bloom in this land (Only Strange Flowers Have Come to Bloom).

I have made a case for humour in his poetry, but this is the kind of humour that goes well beyond itself. Even in the lines quoted above the mood is one of anger, anger at his intellect being derided by the materialist. The target of the satire is the newly rich upstarts, maybe people of his own community back home in Manipur, who by being a corrupt government official or unscrupulous capitalist pities the likes of the poet: for all my acquired learning/ a mechanic, a clerk, class III officers/ earn more than me. Again and again Robin returns to his childhood years and contrasts them with the cruel present when a wicked war is... waged on our soil, and gory bodies dragged unceremoniously through our rice-fields. The irony is often cutting: I hear that freedom comes there, only/ if escorted by armed men (Homeland I left). His anguish springs from the history of Manipur; the contrast between the heroes of the past and the patriots now: the neglected freedom fighters of World War II (To a Valley Known as Imphal). Instead of sounding shrill notes, his poems sing songs of quiet protest: And I saw my self-selected pain, the entire history, unveiled by memory and thirst ... And the last reflection I saw, was my naked shame, my empty hands, a lifetime of silence. (Poetry) Silence, indeed, is the key to his poetry. In a poem written as early as June 1987 Ngangom declared: When you write you are silent silent with your thoughts, alone without your friends, silent without love, alone without joy or pain. (When You Write You Are Silent) Appropriately enough, the volume is dedicated to Mahapatra, who would declare in 1994 that Silence is a word which comes back over and over again into my life, and consequently to the poetry I write... (Mahapatra 283). But not all poems in Ngangoms first volume are personal responses to the condition of Manipur. One of his most touching poems is the one on his mother. Though a metaphor-hungry academic critic, like me, might feel inclined to see a mother-Motherland equation, one would rather not.

One ought to, instead, enjoy the touching self-deprecatory tribute to his Mother Apopki: Forgive me, for all your dreams of peace and rest during your remnant days I only turned out to be a small man, with small dreams and leading a small life. (A Poem For Mother) I had begun this review of the English poetry scene in the north-east with the modest aim of introducing unfamiliar readers to what is territorially, if not in the popular understanding of the term, Indian. But even from this sketchy account it may have become quite evident how, in spite of its inner contradictions, poetry in north-east springs from its mist and soil, and is deeply rooted in its ethos. I have attempted to show that the cauldron of cultural and political effervescence and resurgence that north-east is, is better understood through a greater attention to its poets and writers, than to its often corruptible leaders. Further, and in spite of its rootedness, this poetry strikes a sympathetic cord among a much wider audience in India and abroad, and is an integral part of the broad rubric known as Indian Poetry in English, and belongs to the category of the literature of real conflict. As I have argued, this is owing to its privileging of the lyric mode which, even though operates in an apparently personalized space, undertakes a sociological analysis by foregrounding an individuals mediation of subjectivity in a social , historical and cultural context.

References Adorno, Theodor. 2000. Lyric Poetry and Society. The Adorno Reader. Ed. Brian OConnor.Oxford and USA: Blackwell. Ali, Tariq. 1993. Literature and Market Realism, New Left Review, no.199, May- June1993. Dai, Mamang. 2004. River Poems. Calcutta: Writers Workshop. Jenkins, Nigel. 1995. Introduction, Khasia in Gwalia, Swansea: Alun Books. ---------------. 1995. Gwalia in Khasia. Swansea: Gomer Press. Jussawala, Adil. 1994. A Range of Poems. Times of India 20 Feb 1994. John, Binod K. 1994. Rhyme and Reason. Indian Express Sunday Magazine, 21 Aug 1994. Khair, Tabish. 1995. A Funny Lack of Humor in the Times of India, 31 Dec 1995. Kharmawphlang, Desmond. 1988. Touchstone/U Mawshamok, Shillong. Nongkynrih, KS and Robin S Ngangom, 2003. Eds. Indian English Poetry From North East. Shillong: NEHU. . 1992. Here, Ranchi: Writers Forum. Kynpham, Nongkynrih S. 1988. Moments. Calcutta: Writers Workshop. . 1988. The Sieve, Calcutta: Writers Workshop.

Mahapatra, Jayanta. 1994. Mystery as Mantra, World Literature Today, Spring 1994. Ngangom, Robin S. 1988. Words and the Silence. Calcutta: Writers Workshop. . 1994. Times Crossroads. Hyderabad: Orient Longman. Paranjape, Makarand. 1994. Romantic Lyricism, rev. of Times Crossroads, Business Standard, 11 March 1994. ------------------------. 1993. Ed. An Anthology of New English Poetry. Rupa: New Delhi. Paz, Octavio. Who Reads Poetry? The Other Voice: Essays on Modern Poetry rpt. in Partisan Review. Rowlands, Dafydd. 1994. Interview with Apphira, 28 August 1994.

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