Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Indian English Poetry by M. K. Naik | Book Review

M. K. Naik's book Indian English Poetry: from the beginnings upto 2000 is a widely regarded book among English literature students. This is, perhaps, the only credible book by any Indian literature scholar that critically summarises the poetry of many Indian English poets right from the beginning to the present time. This present time, however, is relative here. It is roughly around 2000, one year before and after and the book needs a major update. However, for the purposes of research and studies, the book by M. K. Naik is a perfect piece of critical writing that can be very valuable for any student of Indian English literature.


The book is not a voluminous piece of critical writing with so much content. It is precise and it deals with the subject of Indian English poetry precisely. The author has begun with Derozio and the initial English poetry in India in the hands of the Dutt family and around. It moves to Aurobindo, Tagore and likes of them in the subsequent chapters. It moves to the poets like Sarojini Naidu, Nissim Ezekiel, Mahapatra and other figures of post-independence Indian English poetry in chapters that are beautifully divided on the basis of poets' special features. For example, the poet associates the phrase 'search for roots' with A. K. Ramanujan and it aptly suits the poet and his writing style in many dimensions.

M. K. Naik's book is a critical, an informative and very precise study of Indian English poetry through various phases. However, there has been much in Indian English poetry post-2000 and the book stops right there. It will be further extending its greatness if the publishers could update the book and make it more contemporary. Without this addition, the book is a wholesome package for the readers who are interested in knowing the phases that Indian English poetry has been through in the past 2000 years. The most attractive feature in this book is the concluding chapter of it. I will say so. It describes the concept and the connotations of Indianness in Indian English poetry. The author has been at his best in fetching the best examples from the best sources and offering them to the readers without much fuzz.

To conclude, I would like this book to be read by those who are interested in Indian English Poetry's growth over the years and also knowing about the special traits that Indian English poets showed over time. It is a very useful help-book if you see it that way. The author has also given a list of the references at the end of chapters wherever necessary. 

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