Interviewed by Somenath Kumar Nag, Literary Critic
In an interview with me, Dhiraj Das, one of the prolific poets of contemporary time, shares his views on poetry, discusses in length how poetry can function around the socio-cultural milieu. While reviewing his anthology of poems, titled Walking with the Dead, I got the opportunity to take an interview. Here goes what he has to say.
Somenath: How will you define poetry?
Dhiraj Das: Poetry is simply an artistic reflection of thoughts on the mirror of intense emotion.
Somenath: What is the function of a poet?
Dhiraj Das: Oh! Very simple, writing poetry!
Poetry is an artistic tool to share thoughts as it is the reflexion of heart. So, heart to heart communication can be done through poetry. I do believe that poetry can literate or educate people worldwide. On a personal note, I believe as a poet I must have the ethics neither to hurt the reader nor to lead them to the path of destructive escape through my own vibrations or agony or emotions. A good poetry carries a message to leave a space to make the reader think in their own way. There should have a flexibility to let the readers think in their own way after educating them with some fact or happening. Now you can imagine the responsibility of a poet to function on the heart of the reader.
Somenath: Do you think poetry has any role to preach the readers on moral grounds?
Dhiraj Das: Preaching in poetry on moral ground is just a type of diversion without any conclusion. We can’t force our view or philosophy to anybody. If we do so then simply we are continuing with our dictatorship to build a Utopia.
Ethically a poet should not force his philosophy or opinion to the mass but he can educate the mass and let the mass think on their own way. Just imagine, as a poet I am against the society where an identity crisis is prime. But, think as a man I am a valuable part of this society. So I can’t blame the society because I can’t exclude myself from my own society as a poet. You know; a poet can literate or educate or share his own thoughts as a solution of certain problems but he can’t expect that others in society will follow his own philosophy.
Somenath: Do your poems corroborate to the eastern philosophy? If so, how have you synthesized it?
Dhiraj Das: Yes indeed. As a part of society, already influenced by the eastern philosophy, I personally believe that my poetry corroborate to the eastern philosophy. The most interesting part of this philosophy is to focus on the inner self and inner being and the acceptance theory. You know the process of denial is one type of conscious or unconscious acceptance. I have to accept first that I am going to deny.
In my Walking with the Dead series, I have worked on the universal emotions. If you gone through the Rhyme of Ill-heart, you will find what the Hermit said –
“Crap all happiness with no glum” or “Surplus emotions cause the ruin”. To understand the happiness you must have to accept pains, sorrows or glums. Emotions are the only thing that can influence our well-being. Even the western philosophy has already accepted eastern philosophy. If you have gone through the history then you will find eastern philosophy was accepted long ago in 3rd or 4th Century B.C. The philosophy of a free psyche of Dandamis convinced Alexander the Great and he was bowed to Dandamis. The history of Alexander would never be complete without the Indian philosopher Calanus who was with Alexander in Persia.
Somenath: What is the theme of your poetic consciousness?
Dhiraj Das: Literally, the theme of my poetic consciousness is Nature that includes all living and nonliving elements and their interactions with one another on the ground of intense emotions and feelings. Can you sense the Identity crisis in our society that is also an international issue? I can sense it very much. In my poetry Blood-Shade (5th Poem) in Walking with the dead series, you will find few lines –
“I had a dream last night,
Where the peace demands the war;”
From the international ground, you just think those above lines. Really, the earth is bleeding you know. Simply consider the last war in Iraq. Just think, to dominate single personality how many innocents lost their lives. Can you answer me why the innocents? On such ground, am I wrong if I dream of a warrior less society? Warriors are after all men like us. They have innocent family. But just think about them, for the baseless pride of country or nation they are killing the innocents.
There are several issues in our society that demands reformation. And a reformation is just not the task of social reformers. It requires individual effort from every ground.
Poet of Walking with the Dead