Archive for November, 2008


This is to draw your attention to the book Discovering Stephen Gill: A Collection of  Papers and Articles, ed. Nilanshu Agarwal, Delhi: Authorspress, 2008. It is a tribute to the poet Stephen Gill, born in Pakistan, resident in Canada and a major exponent of South Asian diasporic poetry in English. Dr Agarwal   (email: is Senior Lecturer in English at  F.G.College, Rae Bareli, India.  Stephen Gill’s site is at:



Foreword by Asoka Weerasinghe

Introduction by Daniel Bratton


1. “Fissures And Fractures”: Identity Crisis In

    Gill’s Poetry                                


2. The Dialectics of Diasporic Experience: A 

    Reading of Stephen Gill    

    – D. Parameswari

3. Green Dove in the Shrine:

    Ecoconcerns  in Stephen Gill’s Shrine      

   T. Ravichandran

4. Sociation and Reghu Nath in Gill’s

    Immigrant: A Study     

    G. Dominic Savio & S.J. Kala

5. Stephen Gill’s Life’s Vagaries: A Critique

    – Ashok Kumar & Roopali

6. Seeking The Dove of Peace: The Poetry

    of Stephen Gill 

     – Sailendra Narayan Tripathy

7.  “In the Fire of Self”: A Critique of

      Stephen Gill’s Shrine 

     Kanwar Dinesh Singh

8.  Stephen Gill’s Immigrant: A

     Study in Diasporic Consciousness

    – Nilofar Akhtar

9. Paradoxes In The Works Of   

      Stephen Gill

   –Nikola Dimitrov

10. Cross-Cultural Conflicts In

      Stephen Gill’s Immigrant (1982)   


11. Angst of Alienation in Stephen Gill’s Poetry                          

    – Shweta Saxena

12. A Critique of Stephen Gill’s Literary Sensibility   

     – Nilanshu Kumar Agarwal

13. Stephen Gill On His Writing   And

      Diaspora: An Interview

       Nilanshu Kumar Agarwal

14. The Power Of The Written Word: A Note On

                      The Poetry Of Stephen Gill

      – P.Raja

15. Rainbow Strings:  Hope in the Poetry of  

      Dr. Stephen Gill

     – Ann Iverson

16. Stephen Gill: Poet and Protestor for Peace

     – John Paul Loucky

17.  Poet Stephen Gill: A Dreamer of Peace

      Aju Mukhopadhyay

18. Stephen Gill: A Time-Tested Person With

      A Time-Trusted Vision

      – Tholana Ashok Chakravarthy





            HOMAGE TO NIRANJAN MOHANTY (1953-2008)

                      by Dr Jaydeep Sarangi

(Head, Dept. of English, Seva Bharati College, Kapgari: 721505, Midnapore West, West Bengal, India) –


          All art is the expression of life in forms of truth and beauty.

                                             W.J Long


Niranjan Mohanty lived at Berhampur (Orissa) and Santiniketan, the abode of Rabindranath Tagore. His bulk of critical corpus includes articles, books, essays and reviews on Indian English Poetry and American Literature. He is the single largest contributor of critical articles on Jayanta Mahapatra and f the pioneers of Indian critics devoted to Indian Writing in English. His articles have appeared in Kavya Bharati, Chandrabhaga, Reflections, JIWE, Seva Bharati Journal of English Studies and many other reputed journals in India and abroad. Mohanty also served as a member of the editorial boards of various reputed journals like Dialogue, Prosopisia and Reflections. Mohanty was a true child of his soil; like Bibhu Padhi and Jayanta Mahapatra land and identity of his root tradition is the theme-song of his poetic lines.

He published seven volumes of poems (Silence the Words, On Touching You and Other Poems, Life Lines, Prayers to Lord Jagannatha, Oh This Bloody Game!, Krishna and Tiger and Other Poems). His poems have appeared in magazines in India, UK, USA, and Canada, such as Chandrabhaga, The Illustrated Weekly of India, Indian Literature, Journal of Literature and Aesthetics, Kavya Bharati, JIWE, New Quest, South Asian Review, Seva Bharati Journal of English Studies, Toronto South Asian Review, Hundred Words, Tandem, International Poetry Review, Suns Stone and Ucon Directory. He was Honorary Writing Fellow at the International Writing Program, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, USA in 1994. 

He translated from Oriya and Bengali into English and Bengali into Oriya. Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi published Nirjhar (2006), a volume of sixty poems of Jibananada Das in Oriya translation. His poems have been translated into Hindi, Spanish, Portuguese and Urdu. 


Niranjan Mohanty’s Tiger and Other Poems (2008) is a vintage image gallery, emotionally satisfying, that explores diverse facets of life. Mohanty’s greatest asset may be his ability to take the mundane and make it interesting. Rarely does a poet glow with grace on every page. Mohanty is no common poet; he takes utmost care and keeps us ‘busy and moving’: ‘Every page is an epic of meeting” (from “I Read a Book Printed Nowhere”) Richly meditative and at the same time rooted in cultural and religious realities in Orissa, his poems in this volume speak to us with beguiling simplicity and the theme-song of life come through the linguistic cadence of his poetical lines ; mystic and visionary.


In one of the poems of the anthology, ‘I Read a Book Printed Nowhere’, Mohanty considers the book as his ‘grammar book’ for poetic creation. This volume of poems dedicated to Dinanath Pathy and Rama Hari Jena evinces a significant departure from his two long poems: Prayers to Lord Jagannatha and Krishna. His Prayers to Lord Jagannatha and Krishna register the Indian mystery of love (as bhakti), the mystical element embodied in the man-woman relationship in the bhakti-cult. Mohanty’s Prayers to Lord Jagannatha is the longest prayer poem in Indian English Poetry.


Niranjan Mohanty’s poems register and celebrate ‘blue whispers of hearts, immaculate’:

    “the flavour of rice

     boiling on an earthen- pot

     under the thatched roof

     sheltering voices(.)”  (from Tiger and Other Poems)

Mohanty’s willing leap into the pool of nostalgic past creates a sense of ‘presence’ through the poetic metaphors of ‘absence’. The haunting presence of the metaphor of ‘death’ invests his poems with a sense of mystery, a sense that is indefinable, and non-negotiable by experience. An absence continues to haunt the poet since childhood which finds fitting expression in poetic texture. The fleeting nature of tempus fugit always chants a sweeping sense of absence in his recent tiger poems that concrete metaphors that describe the fuzzy zones of modern life.




(Dedicated to Professor Niranjan Mohanty)

-Jaydeep Sarangi


Your tiger runs in me

my youth blooms into a full Rhododendron;

pink and white:

the theme song of my rhythm.

When I touch a silent stone

in the vice-regal palace at Shimla

You sing in me.

 And I would rather have time to write lines on you ,

though my sad heart die of grieving

your absence.






On Friday, 14 November 2008 I had the privilege of being invited to witness
the ‘soutenance de thèse’ (doctoral viva) of the Brazilian scholar Everton
Machado, at the Maison de la Recherche (attached to the Université de Paris
IV – Sorbonne), in the heart of the Latin Quarter.

Everton Machado’s thesis concerns the novel Os Brahmanes (The Brahmans) by
Francisco Luís Gomes (1829-1869). Published in 1866, it is the only novel by
its Goa-born author, who was also a deputy representing Goa in the
Portuguese parliament. The book is currently in print in Portugal and
translations into English and French exist. Set in Lucknow at the time of
the Indian Mutiny, it offers a critique of both British (though, according
to Everton Machado, not Portuguese) colonialism in India and of brahminical
attitudes and the caste system.

The viva was conducted in French, the language of the thesis. The examining
board was chaired by Prof. Pierre Brunel (Paris IV-Sorbonne), the other
members present being Prof. Sandra Margarida Nitrini (São Paulo), Prof.
Nalini Balbir (Paris III), Prof. Daniel-Henri Pageaux (Paris III) and Prof.
Maria Cecília Queiroz de Moraes Pinto (São Paulo).

The intellectual level of the three-and-a-half-hour debate was extremely
high and the candidate justified his positions with all confidence and
aplomb. After the debate, the board withdrew for five minutes and then
returned to congratulate the new doctor.

It is now to be hoped that the award of this doctorate will increase the
visibility of a hitherto neglected area of literature, namely Goan literature
or Indian Literature in Portuguese, which reveals itself to be at least as
old as the much better-known Indian Literature in English. I extend my
thanks and appreciation to Dr Everton Machado for kindly inviting me to this


LINK: For an on-line text (in Portuguese) on Francisco Luis Gomes, by Everton Machado himself, see:


Note added 3 March 2010:


The full text of this thesis (in French) is now available on-line at:


For those who read Portuguese:
now available at:
– full text and free of charge –
are Nos 1 to 76, starting from June 1978, of the journal
REVISTA CRÍTICA DE CIÊNCIAS SOCIAIS (University of Coimbra, Portugal).
You will find a very wide range of articles on social sciences and also
on humanities.
The articles include my own:
‘Ideologia da Vontade, Sexualidade e Forças Produtivas em Poe e Balzac’, 4/5 (Oct 1980), pp. 215‑242
(my first ever publication!)
‘Bob Dylan: Do Radicalismo à Reacção’, 13 (Feb 1984), pp. 45-75
(sorry, neither is available in English!)


On election night, 4 November 2008, Bob Dylan played the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, his alma mater in his home state. The setlist included, surely not by chance, THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’, MASTERS OF WAR and BLOWIN’ IN THE WIND. The last-named song was the encore, played by Dylan when the outcome of the voting was already coming through and the crowd knew that Barack Obama would be the 44th President of the United States.
Just before ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’, Dylan told the audience: "I guess things are really going to change now".
I wish I had been there. If this isn’t history, I don’t know what is. That night Dylan and audience were living in a political world indeed!
And then the next day, Obama’s victory speech quoted the words ‘It’s been a long time coming’, from Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ … the song Cooke wrote as a response to ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ …


Folowing Barack Obama’s historic election victory –
from the site: THAINDIAN NEWS,  two articles which I reproduce without further comment.

Obama tributes from India’s most acclaimed women in films

November 6th, 2008 – 2:13 pm ICT by IANS –

New York, Nov 6 (IANS) Barack Obama’s election as US president is historic not just for Americans but for people the world over, say three of Indian cinema’s best known women – Deepa Mehta, Mira Nair and Shabana Azmi. Tributes to the president-elect who will be the first African American in the White House poured in Wednesday at the the opening of the five-day MIAAC Film Festival of Indian Independent and Diaspora films.

“It is an amazing, amazing victory for people of all colour, for people who have been disenfranchised,” said Indian Canadian director Mehta, who was in New York for the screening of her newest film “Heaven on Earth”.

“Obama as (US) president is the best news of the century,” Mehta told IANS.

India-born New York-based Mira Nair, who campaigned for Obama, said emphatically: “Anything is possible”.

Last month, Nair had organised a literary meet in support of Obama. It was attended by literary giants of Indian origin like Salman Rushdie, Kiran Desai, Jhumpa Lahiri, Suketu Mehta and Manil Suri.




Rushdie, Jhumpa, Kiran Desai rally for Obama

October 4th, 2008 – 8:49 pm ICT by IANS –

Half a dozen celebrated authors of Indian origin, including Salman Rushdie, were scheduled to speak here later Saturday in support of Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama at an event organized by the South Asians for Obama (SAFO) group.Rushdie, a British citizen now living in the US, was to join Indian American writers Jhumpa Lahiri, Kiran Desai, Suketu Mehta, Manil Suri and Akhil Sharma at the event, to be emceed by filmmaker Mira Nair.

“It is a rare occasion that such eminent writers, winners of Bookers and Pulitzers, are coming together to speak about politics – and they obviously support Senator Obama,” an event spokesperson told IANS.

“They will be free to read passages relevant to the occasion from their own or others’ work or speak about why they support Obama,” he added.

About 400 people were expected to attend the ticketed event, with the funds going to Obama’s campaign.

The year-old SAFO works to mobilise South Asians in favour of Obama.