J. S. Ahluwalia
Dr. J. S. Ahluwalia (b. 1937), one of the harbingers of experimental poetry in Punjabi, has explored the subconscious mind and the stream-of-consciousness technique in his works. Influenced by the imagists like Ezra Pound, he attempts to express himself by using exotic symbols and images. His five poetry collections, Main Kagaz da Ravan, Kur Raja Kur Praja, Sack di Bela, AdhunikKarBodh, Bahron Sarape, Andron Guache and Kaia Kappar Tuk TukHosi are not only introspective in mood, and imbued with intellectualism, but are also deeply emotive.
In the poem Main Kaghaz da Ravan (I, a Paper Ravan) taken from the collection of this name, he points out the frailty of ego, primal in Man, which looms demonic and powerful as a Ravana.
I, a Paper Ravan
The glimmering of the stars
the hustle and bustle of the streets
and the colourful company of the friends-
these bandits make away with my fortune
in the twinkling of an eye.
With a view to protecting myself
I take refuge, broken and defeated,
In the primal cave of my mind.
When I find the shadow of a giant,
repeating 'Adam-bo, Adam-bo.'
I settle down,
in the primal cave of my heart,
with bated breath
like a pigeon in front of a cat.
In the world of the primal cave
dreams keep my company
and Ego talks about me and
they respond to my intentions.
Let this mystery be cleared a
and my query answered.
In a train disaster
the travellers were cut into pieces.
Why shouldn't I search for myself
in the list printed in bold letters ?
Or in a fair like that oiChhappar
Why should I show my skill,
perform cycling feats before a crowd,
revolving like a wheel ?
Or in the Kumbhmela
I slip down from the steps of
I die by drowning
I drown myself after death.
My death will be a matter for investigation
why should I slip down
the steps of Har-Ki-Pauri ?
'It's a death-wish.'
This reply of yours
0 my friend ! hurts my ego.
1 demand an answer to my query Or,
after the lila,
spanning nine navaratras,
on the tenth day,
in front of a large crowd,
dress me in a black attire and
bury me in the earth up to the ankles-
so that I,
the paper Ravana,
Attain immortality for ever.
I may, after all, give away in alms, my ego,
Kept chained for centuries.
Answer my questions
or bury me on the stage up to my ankles. Main Kaghaz da Ravan (1965)