POETRY, it is said, flows from deep pain. Diaspora Indians, participating in the satyagraha campaign under the leadership of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in early 20th-century South Africa, used the medium of poetry to express the pain of humiliation in the colonial context as well as a hope for the movement. While the moral and political foundations of the first experiments in satyagraha have been frequently discussed, few have paid attention to the way Gandhi incorporated popular literary focus on his publication, Indian Opinion which he founded in 1903. The poems published in the Indian Opinion, which provided cultural support for popularising the movement, have remained virtually unknown. But Bhana and Shukla Bhatt manage to retrieve from the major source the poetic voices that aided Gandhi’s non-violent resistance against injustice.
This book carries select poems published in Indian Opinion along with their translations. The poems lead us to see the development of the satyagraha campaign as a dynamic process to which a large number of individuals and diverse types of texts contributed.
The book will hold special interest for poets and freedom fighters.
(Promilla & Co., Publishers & Bibliophile South Asia, C-127, Sarvodaya Enclave, New Delhi – 110 017; www.biblioasia.com)