LAL SINGH DIL:Selected Poems: Exclusion, Deprivation and Nothingness
This collection of about 100 poems by Lal Singh Dil (1943-2007), a Punjabi revolutionary poet, represents a distinctive voice in the Punjabi poetry inspired by the Naxalite (Maoist) movement in the early seventies of the 20thCentury. Belonging to a ‘low caste’ tanner community, Lal Singh Dil grew up facing isolation, indignities and insults heaped upon the ‘low castes’. He joined the Naxalite movement hoping that the revolution would bring about social and economic equality, liberating him, and millions like him, from the curse of social exclusion and economic deprivation. But the revolution never happened, the movement died down, and he lived and died excluded and marginalized. Apart from singing of the revolution, its hopes and defeat, these poems bring out the nothingness of the lives of the low caste landless labourers and daily wagers, and nomads of all varieties.
T C Ghai(b.1937) has taught English language and literature at Deshbandhu Evening College (now Ramanujan College), University of Delhi. He has published two short novels,The Stricken Moth(1984) andAlone in the Wilderness(2000), poems in theJournal of the Poetry Society(India) and also done poetry reviews (1991-94) for the same journal. He has translated two Punjabi poets into English, Dr Puran Singh Knawar (A Season of Nights, 2006) and Avatar Singh Sandhu Pash (Pash: A Poet of Impossible Dreams, 2010); and short stories of the Hindi fiction writer Premchand, which are available on his blog INTERACTIONS at http://ghai-tc.blogspot.in/