If creating wordy garlands by blending aesthetics with realism may be considered as an abstract form of poetry then Vihang Ashokbhai Naik excels in it.
No wonder stanzas of his poems allow the imaginations of readers to take free flights, allow them enter into the worlds of wonders where nobody, so far, journeyed.
Interestingly, Vihang means a bird in Sanskrit. And a bird can have a wide-angle view the earth flying far above. When it comes down on the twig of a tree, it chirps.
At that time, it really appears it is telling it’s experience of having seen life on earth in its broadest spectrum with many hues and colours. Since Vihang takes up a wide angle in its bouquet of words, he really is fully justifying the meaning of his name: Vihang, the bird, the avian being.
Making the meaning of a poem understandable to the common folk is perhaps the most difficult task for a poet. But his sense and sensibility reflects so crystal clear in his poems that one can find they are just implanted in his or her mind.
Vihang A Naik Redefines the Modern Age Poetry
It is a different thing that your heart also acts in sync with the words of the poems. Whether it is City Times and Other Poems first published in 1993 or Poetry Manifesto published in 2010, you find both your heart and head are in perfect harmony with the meaning of the poems.
City Times and Other Poems has already emerged as an independent genre by itself portraying urban world’s gloom and glee, glory and condemnation and misery and plenty. It is a perfect admixture of human life.
Making A Poem, published in 2004, is yet another milestone in the literary history of the world in which union of aesthetics with realism is in its perfect equilibrium. One does not have to read between the lines. The words are simple yet their meanings are oceanic deep.
Making A Poem should really be a gospel for upcoming poets the world over as wonderfully reflects the imaginative faculties (of a poet) and process of converting such thoughts into words.
Poetry Manifesto is another gem of the Indian literature. As the very title of this book says, it is truly the manifesto of poetry.
The poems of Vihang touches the readers as they depict all aspects of a man’s many-faceted being neglecting not the negative side all-be-it positivity too. That is why he is being acclaimed globally for portraying mankind as they are.
Let us experience this in its real perspective. Just see how he puts in a very simple layman’s language the inner-being of a poet:
Poet, Philosopher Or a fool.
Doesn’t make Much difference!
Whatever it may be, but to find a real poet is as difficult as finding a philosopher’s stone. But some poets are real alchemists as far as their thoughts and mundane affairs are concerned. Is not experimenting a man’s goal in life as difficult as becoming a successful alchemist?
Vihang A Naik: A Poetic Gem
Vihang really is an alchemist, but in the realm of poetry where he tries to convert base metals into gold: suggesting mankind to attain higher stations in life, but with honesty.
It is here where the master craftsmanship of Vihang with words is visible. This, however, is an abstract art in which not many have gained mastery over. In fact, the greatest quality of a poet is to use minimum innuendoes to construe the maximum through the lines of the poem.
In this particular realm of creativity, Vihang’s performance is simply excellent. Let readers judge if Vihang’s creations should be categorized in the genre of songs of life that also offers certain psalms of life.
Incidentally, his anthology of poems in Gujarati has been named as Jeevangeet, published in 2001. It means songs of life. And what is song of life without humanity? Vihang composed Jeevangeet and dedicated it for the cause of victims of the Gujarat Earthquake of the 26th January, 2001.
Incidentally, painter Picasso too had dedicated his Guernica, an abstract paining, to the Spanish city by the same name on being destructed by bombing in the civil war in 1937.
Through Guernica, Picasso made an honest attempt to bid adieu to those killed. Jeevangeet also happened to be an act of tribute to those hapless souls who died in the earthquake.
Truly, some great minds think and act alike. Picasso and Vihang proved it through the outbursts of their sentiments through Guernica and Jeevangeet.
We do not know if the birth of a person indicates certain extraordinary things about a man or a woman. But the year 1969 in which Vihang was born also is the year of first landing of mankind in moon.
Incidentally, moon is associated with imaginations, and a lot of it in every language in every nook and corner of the earth. May be Vihang’s birth-year and travel of his imaginations are providence?
Vihang has made an indelible imprint in the minds of people world over no matter what language they speak. In any way, poetry is universal irrespective of the language they are written in.
Creativity Has No Limits
That is why his poems have been translated into Japanese, Spanish, Italian, German and Portuguese. This proves the axiomatic truth that the poets do not have boundaries.
Vihang’s poetry received critical appreciations globally. Vihang A Naik: A Study of his Mind and Art (edited by Dr.Sanjay P. Pandey) and The Poetry of Vihang A. Naik : New Literary Dimensions ( edited by Goutam Karmakar) are parts of such critical appraisals.
Beginning his professional career in 1996 as a lecturer in English, Vihang took retirement from employment as the Associate Professor of English in March, 2019. He lives in Gujarat.
Incidentally, he is a bilingual poet composing both in Gujarati and English. And he has made his presence felt in both the languages.
Vihang’s poetic genius has been well recognized. His creation City Times and Other Poems entered the Limca Book of Records in 2016 for the poem “Self Portrait:” composed of only five blank pages. In 1998, he had also received the coveted Michael Madhusudan Award.
The Surat-born Vihang also had received other accolades including IndiReaders Best Book, Beverly Hills Book Awards and Book Excellence Award.