Book Review on Dr Dalip Khetarpal Sculptured Psyche

Dr Dalip Khetarpal, a prominent poet and a sculptor of our times  has  dexterously  chiselled  out  poetic  image  out  of human  nature,  behaviour  and  attributes.  He  also  has  the introspective  eyes  to  see  through  the  world  within  as much  as  the  globe  outside.  He  explores  human  psyche amazingly  and  touches  human  heart  silently,  but  with such words as remain to ring inside. His fourth anthology of  poems Sculptured  Psyche bears  out  instances  galore  of this    observation    which    makes    us    finally    face    the unavoidable question: “Sculpturing so much of nature’s gift/has led to forfeiture of all human attributes./So, what is left of man?

While exploring the anthology one finds that Dr Dalip’s aesthetic    vision    is    juxtaposed    with    his    absorbing mysticism.   It   gives   birth   to   a   poem   like A   narcissist condolence, revealing  the  truth  of  human  frailties.  “One may also be blown to bits/ While belling the cat./Once the gift  of  reflected  appraisal  is  imbibed,/all  narcissists  would be wiped out from this planet”.  In another poem Could re-incarnation   be   real? the   poet   questions   the   theory   of Karma  in  the  Hindu  theology,  compares  it  with  other schools   of   religious   thought   and   makes   a   humble confession:  “The  highest,  the  most  sublime  form/Of spiritual   state   that   could   even   be   illusional / Mystical   , psychological, para-psychological/Or    metaphysical    or some other truth /Which may or may not even be the real final truth/That I, perhaps, fail to imagine”.

 But  God’s  expertise  remains  quizzical  to  Dalip.  He parodies as he observes that the practice of religion in the present society is meant only for the fulfilment of human desires  and  precisely  this  “validates  the  credibility  and competency of Gods”, but ‘verily, even this exits only in fancy,  becoming  so,  nothing,  but  a  travesty’.    This realization  haunts  the  poet,  and haunts  as  a  dark  shadow of the mysterious rebirth failing to comprehend “whether the  dead  of  the  previous  birth  of  the  beggar  was  really bad”.

Unfortunately  ,  neither  religion  nor  education  shows  us the right way. What is the purpose of education? To makea ‘a human being complete and desirable’. In reality, not education  but  platitudinous  rants  are  witnessed.  We  are using masks, live on a fake life and see “a clash of two lies, two  cheaters  with  unmatched  masks.  But  one  knows  not how his true self “is perennially eclipsed by the mask”. As a  realistic  poet,  Dalip  explores  the  truth:  ‘and  the  final naked  truth,  however,  is    the  whole  world  survives  and thrives   on   lies/that   often   hold   their   sway   over   the truth/that    dismay    even    all    Gods    and    heavens/but redeemable  lies,  acting  as  a  panacea  here/should  dismay none’.

In Is  this  all  what  life  only  and  really  is? the  poet elucidates  how “From childhood, surreal to adolescent, material/To  final  old  age,  spiritual/We  keep  on  moving throughout  our  life”.  Is  meta-cognition   and   creativity fuelled only after facing loneliness, solitude and isolation?  The poet asks who are you and answers, –“Aesthetic truth discovered  by  psychologists/seems  to  reside  in  findings aesthetically  psychological/that  split  phenomenal  self into three me’s –material, social and spiritual.

As  a  superb  exponent  of  psycho –psychic  flints,  Dalip  is more  powerful  than  any  of  the  contemporary  poets  in elucidating  the  Freudian  concepts  of  the  unconscious, preconscious    and    conscious,    but    from    a    different perspective.  He  views  the  topographical  concept  from socio-cultural  and  conventional  backdrop  of  life  both –Indian   and   Western   to   reveal –“Fascination  and  the ardent    desire    to    enjoy    the    free/Unrestricted    open lifestyle/By   the   Indian   multitude/surely   connotes   their latent desire/To enjoy the same lifestyle’. But a pertinent question   the   poet   raises   is,   should   an   Indian   always ‘maintain a façade of the interior western and the exterior Indian?’

In Dalip’s poetry psychological spark sometimes mingles with metaphysical thoughts to cast and affect our mind so much  so  that  we  are  prompted  to  think  anew  of  our relationship  as  delineated  by  the  poem, Soul  mate.  The poet  makes  us  think  how  and  why  “no  relationship  is perfect/even     soul     mate     relationships –a     roller coaster/often face ups and downs.”

Strewn thus, with novel, realistic, enlightening, philosophical and thought-provoking ideas, the anthology stands out distinguished in the realm of modern literature and  will  surely  fertilize  the  psyche  and  widen  the mental horizon of posterity of all ages to come.

Title: Sculptured Psyche
Author: Dr Dalip Khetarpal
Publisher: The Poetry Society of India
Available: Amazon