The Future of the Past: Modernity, Modern Poetry, and the Transformation of Two Indian Traditions

Dharwadker, Vinay

     In this study, I . . . bring a representative selection of recent Marathi and Hindi poetry to a larger audience in the English-speaking world, and to help readers unfamiliar with modern Indian literature to grasp some of its most important features. I . . . [deal] specifically with about twenty poets in the two languages, all of whom have shaped and reshaped modern poetry in their traditions to a very significant extent in the past few decades." "The poets include the fifteen writers I . . . [translate] . . . Of these, the seven Marathi poets, in chronological order, are: Bal Sitaram Mardhekar (1909-1956), Purushottam Shivaram Rege (1910-1978), Indira Sant ('Indira,' 1914-), Govind Vinayak Karandikar ('Vinda,' 1918-), Narayan Surve (1926-), Mangesh Padgaonkar (1929-), and Arun Kolatkar (1932-). The eight Hindi poets are: Satchidanand Hiranand Vatsyayan ('Agyeya,' 1911-1988), Gajanan Madhav Muktibodh (1917-1964), Kunwar Narayan (1926-), Sarveshwar Dayal Saxena (1927-1983), Raghuvir Sahay (1929-), Shrikant Verma (1931-1986), Kedarnath Singh (1934-), and Sudama Pandeya ('Dhoomil,' 1935-1975)."
     In addition, the work also deals "more broadly with the period from the late 1930s to the present, which includes the poetic movements called pragativad ('progressivism'), prayogavad ('experimentalism'), and nai kavita ('new poetry') in Hindi, and nava kavya (also 'new poetry') in Marathi. I . . . interpret, evaluate, and contextualize the poems, poets, and movements by treating them as a part of their respective traditions in the two languages. More importantly, however, I . . . [also treat] them as a part of modern Indian literature as a whole -- a 'national' tradition containing many 'regional' traditions -- and of the still larger phenomenon called modernity.