R K Bhushan Sabharwal, The Invisible Visible. New Delhi: Adhyayan Publishers & Distributors. 2012. ISBN: 978-81-8435-320-4. Pages 106, 125.00
Reviewed By: Dr Shamenaz, Associate Professor (English),
Dept. of Humanities, Allahabad Institute of Engineering &
The Invisible Visible is the fourth book of poetry by Prof R. K. Bhushan Sabharwal (1947) of Kartarpur (Jalandhar), who is a powerful voice in Indian English Poetry and Criticism. He has been teaching English language and Literature at different Institutes of higher learning for the last forty years. The poet has humbly dedicated the poetry collection to his Supreme Master, Shiridi Sainathji Maharaj, who is his ever-flowing source of love, light, happiness and inspiration.
The poetry collection is divided into two sections- ‘The Invisible Visible’ comprises of 35 poems and ‘Scattered Leaves and Petals’ consists 32 poems woven beautifully and with craftsmanship. The poems in the volume are based on many themes like religious, social, cultural, and political and personal history.
The very first poem, ‘Design of the Dark’ is based on increasing terrorism in the present times as it deals with terror attack and the perpetuators of naked violence. So, in this way, he highlights a grave issue of international importance, terrorism, which has become a threat for mankind all around the world. There are some other poems in the collection which are based on problems existing in our country like- ‘Killing the Kins, ‘Cowardly Ruins’, ‘Twist of Time.’ This shows that poet has deep concern for the problems existing in our country. By showing his concern on these problems the poet is in line with Plato’s opinion: ‘poetry and literature are inextricably tied up with the values and ideologies of culture as a whole; art is not separate from the socio-political sphere.’
He has used metaphor of spinning in poem, ‘Spinning Destiny’ which is quite similar to the use of metaphor by American poet, Walt Whitman. In the poem ‘I Saw the City in Flourish’ poet gives description of the city of Konark, which is a place of marvellous Sun temple but it is now overshadowed by the people misdeeds. Poems like ‘Drunk-1’, ‘Drunk-2’, ‘Drunk-3’ and ‘Hell Seeker’ are symbolic in nature. It can safely be concluded that unless different symbols used by the poet are not decoded his feelings and thinking cannot be deciphered.
There are some poems which are purely personal or subjective in manner viz, ‘Poem Purely Personal-1, Poem Purely Personal-2, ‘I Also Live, ‘Roots’, ‘Range Deranged’ & ‘Quest Relentless’ expressing poets own grief, sorrow and hope of life. Some other poems like ‘The Beauty and Richness of Life’, ‘Life’s’, ‘Shadowed Vision’ and ‘Lyric of Life’ are based on meaning of life in various aspects as felt by the poet. Life is very beautiful according to the poet which he has expressed in the following lines of Poem Purely Personal-2:
But life is always looks up
Who dare and live.
Then he has also expressed his views on harsh realities of life in ‘Song of Life’ as he says in the poem that life is not a lullaby, nor a hymn:
Life is a war song,
To be heard and sung
With marital tunes…
Then there are poems namely, ‘Reflections Gone- Astray’ and ‘Lost Dawns’ in which poet has express his loneliness.
There are some poems which are based on the note of hope, optimism and positivity like, ‘Dreamy Shades in the Desert’, ‘Life’s’, ‘Lovely Lore.’ Then there are some others poems based on despair, solitude and melancholy viz. ‘Lost Dawns’, ‘A Wish’, ‘Bludgeoning of Chance’ and ‘Handcuffed.’ There are many poems dealing with personal loss or death namely ‘Lost Dawns’ and ‘Reflection Gone-Astray. He wrote this lamenting the grief of somebody dearer’s death and in ‘Glowing Dawn to Dusty Noon’, he is missing somebody who was very closer to him.
Prof Bhushan is an ardent follower of Shri Sainathji, and he has written many religious poems in the collection which he has devoted to him. We can see his love and devotion in the poems namely, ‘Greetings for the Day- Everyday- 1, 2, 3 & 4, ‘Ecstasy of His Will’, ‘In All Fairness’, ‘Holy Shiridi’, ‘Oceanic Graces of Shirdi Sai Baba’ and ‘Marching to Retreat.’ He was also inspired by Shri Sai Satcharitra and has dedicated to of his poems to him viz, ‘Master in my Mission’ and ‘Shall I Remain Thirsty.’ Besides these, there are other religious poems which he has devoted to the Almighty God, like- ‘A Journey to Eternity’, Eternal Spectrum of Life’, ‘I Remember’, ‘, The Governing Truth’ and ‘Let Me Narrate.’ In the following lines of ‘Let Me Narrate’, he is praying to God:
Let me narrate my woes
To my heart’s content
To the Maker and Keeper
Of our lot in this world
And in all worlds. (66)
Poems like ‘Lost Dawns’ and ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’, reveals his pessimism and helplessness, while in poems like, ‘A Single Stroke’, Zeitgeist’ and ‘Cross Not the Crown’ he reflects the poet’s feeling towards loss of faith in this world in the present scenario.
In the poems like ‘Love’ and ‘Forever Love’ poet has laid stress on the significance of love in an individual’s life. Then there is also love for motherland reflected in ‘Motherland’, and ‘the Trial of Mother India.’ Some poems like ‘Live the Heaven’, ‘Stumps and Stubbles’, ‘Charming Endurance’ are nature poems. While the poem, ‘Live the Heaven’ is about coming of monsoon. It shows that the poet derives his inspiration and motivation from nature poets like Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley and Yeats.
In poem, ‘Blissful Idol’, he compares a woman’s body with that of natural objects, which seems to be an inspiration of great poet Kalidas. The last poem, which is ‘Gaming God’, he has tried to express his concern about the commercialization of emotions by the show-makers of the reality shows to gain profit. Now-a-days it has become an effective means to gain popularity as he indicates in the following lines:
Face of the populace
while waving mace-
the miracle of hypnotizing
the small into sublime!
This shows his concern for changing scenario of growing commercialization in our society.
Poet has used diverse themes and crafted each poem beautifully showing his intricate emotions. There is a note of melancholy in most of the poems. Prof Bhushan’s use of alliteration in the poetry collection is a relevant and beautiful quality of his craftsmanship. Many poems in the collection are written in free verse and the poet’s use of diction is quite admirable. The poet has tried to show his innermost feelings on many issues related to our existence and survival on this universe and has dealt successfully with some religious, social, cultural, and emotional themes in the book. There are many examples in the poetry collection of his being a devotee of Shri Sai Nathji of Shirdi. All the poems reflect his creativity, intellect, sensitivity and craftsmanship. The poetry collection is forwarded by Dr T. Sai Chandra Mouli, who has very beautifully and artistically examined most of the poem.