An eminent poet and critic, Dr Dalip Khetarpal glitters like a polestar on the firmament of contemporary Indian English literary world. His poetic world is not one of imaginative flights or fancies, nor of rainbows or clouds, it is this real world we live in. The poems in this collection are a feast for the mind. He pursues truth like a maniac. These poems here explore the inner recesses of man’s psyche, uncover the masks of lies, craftiness and hypocrisy that man wears to hide his real self, and explodes the rotten traditions and myths.
The poet wonders why man should burden himself with all the meaningless, superfluous and self-deceiving baggage of traditions and conventions when he knows fully well that they have lost their meaning and relevance in the modern world. Like T. S. Eliot, Dr Khetarpal is a hard-hitting realist and exposes the hollowness of the priest in the temple chanting hymns while his lustful gaze is fixed on the” most captivating and covetous part / Of an exquisite woman’s anatomy.” A usual scene in the religious places—-the “oddest admixture” of “Spirituality and Sensuality”. But that is what man is–in the garb of spirituality, he satisfies his id, the animal instinct.
An iconoclastic like Bernard Shaw, Dr Khetarpal robs man of all the romantic masks and brings out his inherent selfishness in not only befooling people around him but also shaming God through his trickery and wickedness. The poet is pained to watch the helplessness of God, the Omnipotent God for not being able to trounce Satan. How can He when human consciousness has become a “seemingly fixed Abode for Satan.
“Dr Khetarpal is a superb intellect and has been gifted with an excellent insight, and like John Donne, he has a feeling mind and a thinking heart. ‘Soul vis-a-vis Eternity’ very poignantly exposes man’s obsession with the body which he always declares to be transient while he gives only lip-service to his soul which is eternal. Like Donne, he gives logical, analytical arguments to convince people that death, the greatest fear of man, is in fact a boon for the world. Think of old people living eternally!
Dr Khetarpal doesn’t spare God too; he even dared to ask Him a very unorthodox and gutsy question: ‘Isn’t He fed up with His eternity?’ It should be certainly painful and exacting for Him to manage the satanic animal called man, forever and ever. ‘Smashed in-between-ness’ completely smashes you and your popular notions about globalization. It distorts and splits the cultural personalities of the individuals and poses horrendous dilemmas which turn them into neurotics.
The poems in this slim volume are thoughtful and thought-provoking, both. They stir your slumbering soul. They make you think, liberally, open-mindedly, independent of all orthodox or rigid traditions and conventions. They also inspire you to think afresh and live your life in a better and psychosomatically more wholesome manner. That is the finest contribution a poet can really make in today’s world that has gone haywire.
Dr Dalip Khetarpal worked as a Lecturer in English at Manchanda Delhi Public College, Delhi. He worked in various capacities, as Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and H .O. D (English) in various academic institutes in Haryana. He was a Dy. Registrar and Joint Director at the Directorate of Technical Education, Haryana, Chandigarh. Dr Dalip has also started a new genre in the field of poetry, which he would like to call “psycho-psychic flints”.
Dr O P Arora worked as Professor of English in Delhi University for over three decades. A poet, novelist and short story writer, Dr Arora holds a distinctive position among contemporary writers in English, in India and abroad. Five volumes of his soul-stirring poems The Creeping Shadows, Embers in the Ashes, The Edge of the Cliff, Pebbles on the Shore and Whispers in the Wilderness explore the inner recesses of man’s consciousness and express the poet’s true and honest emotive responses to the ailing world infested with corruption and torn apart by strife and conflicts. His poems have been published widely with leading literary journals, magazines and dailies and have also been given an esteemed place in renowned anthologies. Dr Arora also has three published novels: A Bite Of Paradise, The Siliken Traps and Beyond the Mists in English and one novel and a collection of short stories have come out in Hindi. They all are his masterpieces.