Pradeep Biswal is a former senior member of the Indian Administrative Service and an illustrious bilingual poet publishing both in English and Odia and his many poems have been translated into many Indian languages. He has authored seven anthologies of poetry in Odia. In addition, he has published two volumes- collections of poems in English. Also, his two collections of poems have been translated in Hindi. His many poems have been published in many Indian languages, also these have been published by National Book Trust, Sahitya Akademi, and Odisha Sahitya Academy. On many occasions, he represented the Odia Poetry conference at the national level and received a Fellowship in Literature from the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of Culture in 1995.
Recently I had the opportunity to read his two publications i.e., collection of poems (written by Pradeep Biswal. One was “A House Within An Anthology of Poems” published in 2018 published by Authorspress, New Delhi, and another one was “Pilgrimage to Ayodhya: A Timeless Journey” published by AABS Publishing House, Kolkata (2019). Both volumes have ISBN. In the case of first publication altogether 38 poems have been included. And the second volume has included 42 poems. All are lucidly written in English and easy to understand both content and meaning. Some have focussed on nature; some have touched lives, emotional feelings, spiritual evocativeness, etc. From both volumes, I am presenting a few lines from some poems for the benefit of readers albeit all (a total of 80) are worthy to read.
From the publication “A House Within: An Anthology of Poems” a few lines from some poems, I am presenting. In the poem “The Wild Flower”, the last two lines depict many things.
“A mere tiny flower
It contains the whole universe”, a beautiful meaning hidden in the poem.
In another poem “When the Braid was Kept Open” a few lines may be mentioned here which contain wonderful meaning.
“Like the princess
From the paradise
She was beaming
With a radiant smile
The world laid bare
At her feet”
In the poem “The Lost Smile” these few lines mean its content.
“I don’t know
When I lost it
But it’s lost anyway.
Never ask me To Smile again
It may look
Other than a smile”
In the poem Monorona’s Eyebrows, the poet has beautifully presented the importance of
eyebrows when he writes,
Communicate in a flash
The poem “In Mourning” is a touchy one everyone on this earth will not survive as death is inevitable. In the poem “When we met”, the poet feels that “Life is juxtaposed”. In the poem “Where are You Now?” the poet has beautifully written,
We have many more
To discuss” In this poem “Where are You Now?” Biswal’s patriotic feelings have been reflected. All other poems viz., ’Dream Within”, The War Never Ends”, “Life in Recluse”, “Between Us”, “To My Son”, ‘Yayati”, “Lost Spring”, “The Liftman”, ‘The Void”, “Silence” etc., have been presented brilliantly keeping its essence in own ways.
Pradeep Biswal’s second poetry collection in English is “Pilgrimage to Ayodhya”, A timeless journey” which consists of 42 poems. All are excellent and carry wonderful/touchy meanings which can be understood from each poem’s title. Nature, love, patriotic feelings, Nero-like king’s behaviour importance of stone indicating human behaviour, etc. may be found in this volume.
In the poem “One Un-Starry Night” the poet makes an effort to romanticise a deep sense of loss and longing.
“In the midnight’s parlour
Full of broken promises
Like the bitten wings of an airy bird
I still crave for your tender touch
The naked curves of your body
Someday somewhere else.”
The meaning and expression in the poem “Invitation” are clear.
“Please descend the
stairs of the sky;
Let all anxieties
meet their dead end.”
His patriotic fervour has been reflected in the two poems, viz., “Bharat Varsh:1” and “Bharat Varsh: 2”. In both poems, after portraying Bharat (India) poet has concluded that “It’s my Bharat Varsh” i.e., my beloved country India.
King Nero’s character has been lucidly presented in the poem “Nero Isn’t Dead”. In the poem “Youth, Money & Power” the reality of life has been portrayed. According to the poet,
“Youth, money & power
Stay for a short while
But to realise this
Years of penance”
Similarly, in the poem “The Clouds” the behaviour of the clouds relating to human lives wonderfully has been depicted.
In “Do You Know?” poem, addressing the unknown listener, who could be a friend or any other or the entire human race, someone says that everyone fights war and may be wounded from the war. But all cannot win or lose the war but that does not prevent him from being a war veteran. So, the poet has presented
“Do you know
Like you I am a war veteran”
The poet has presented a symbolic journey that the soul embarks upon to achieve illumination in “The Pilgrimage to Ayodhya”, also the sublime smile on Ramlala’s face has an inspirational effect.
In the poem “Monalisa’s Smile” the poet tries to probe into the retreat of human consciousness hidden under the enigmatic smile.
“I don’t know
What they felt
But I see
Shadows of deprivation
And shallow dreams
Turning into a volcano
And lurking behind
Your synthetic smile”
All poems in this volume have been wonderfully presented with intrinsic meaning. Some of them are – “I Know It Well”, “Me Too”, “Fatima On The Facebook”, “The Kunduli Girl”, “Metamorphosis”, “You”, “Last Night”, “Sunflower” etc. some names which can be mentioned here.
After reading both volumes (38 and 42 poems), I congratulate from the core of my heart to him as a bureaucrat by profession and a poet by passion who lived about four decades in the realm of poetry. His collections of poetries are in Odia and English also translations in other languages are assets to Indians.
Dr Shankar Chatterjee, Hyderabad