Mangalesh Dabral (b. 1948) has been a literary editor for most
of his working life, handling tonnes of words on everyday basis.
It is remarkable that he hasn't got bored with them and continues
to write a language that has been nurtured with singular devotion
remarkable sophistication and restraint in the way he calibrates
his words and invokes a wide range of emotions and perceptions by
mixing the lived experience with the imagined one; beyond it lies
a whole world of reading and writing and and intense involvement
with the way culture breathes in everyday life. His is among the
most reflective and cultured voices in contemporary south Asian
and brought up in Kafal Pani, a village in Tehri Garhwal district
in the Himalayan hill region of Uttar Pradesh, he has spent all
his adult life in the cities of north Indian plains: Delhi, Dehra
Dun, Allahabad, Lucknow and Bhopal. He has always carried most resolutely
the mountain air with him. A certain 'urbane villager' persona that
he often donnes for himself in his poetry has always been with him.
It is a part of his survival kit as well as a way to relate to the
past and the tradition.
He is among those writers of his generation who had rebelled against
the revivalist and sectarian framework in which Hindi literary tradition
is often packaged by the establishment institutions and academia.
In this he represents the secular as well as syncretic cultural
and literary ethos, which has a much richer and longer history in
the Indian subcontinent than the rather exclusionist cultural agenda
of modern Hindi literature formed during the later half of 19th
and the earlier part of 20th century as represented in the Bhartendu-Mishra-Dwivedi-Shukla-Sharma
in the sociopolital turmoil of late 1960's and early 1970's, Mangalesh
represents a sensibility that links him to the classicism of the
older Indian literatures as well as the left radical modernism.
he has always been highly regarded as a poet by the literary establishment
but he has the instincts that have told him to keep his distance
Poems of Mangalesh Dabral
For a brief bio of the poet, click here.