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A Mandala of Words

Cultural Realities in the Poems of Ashok Vajpeyi


Renata Czekalska

This book is a hermeneutic analysis of the main poetic spaces in the work of Ashok Vajpeyi, a poet and a critic recognized among the eminent contemporary Hindi writers. The four parts of the book are devoted to major anthropological questions, instrumental for the poet who – while searching for the principle of unity with the world – causes language to become an extension of existence. The author shows how, by combining both the Indian and Western cultural traditions, Vajpeyi locates his poetry «between civilizations», where it remains a self-contained projection of discourse taking the form of original and engaging patterns of poetic communication. The book portrays a significant case of the cultural encounter of East and West in the modern globalized world.

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A Note on Transliteration and Abbreviations

Introduction: Patterns of Poetic Communication

Part I. Internal Geography of the Poems

I.1. Polyphonic structures

I.2. Polyphony of an individual poem

I.3. Polyphony of one theme

I.4. Polyphony of the entire structure of all the texts

I.5. A place among civilisations

I.6. The Indian continuum

I.7. European coincidences

I.8. Models of artistry

Part II. Identity of the Empirical Subject

II.1. An individual poem as the area of observation

II.2. A miniature poem for a single metaphor

II.3. A poem as an evocation of the ‘self’

II.4. The three-fold role of home

II.5. Shapes of the nearby landscape

II.6. Emblems of presence and consciousness

II.7. The universe as the voice of poetry

II.8. The metaphor of knocking

II.9. The symbolism of hands

II.10. The question of time

II.11. The sphere of social sensitivity

Part III. A Cosmogonical Form of Love

III.1. Categories of nudity

III.2. The meticulous grammar of love

III.3. The love poems of Ashok Vajpeyi and the Indian literary tradition. Prolegomena

III.4. A historical outline with commentaries

III.5. The dancer

III.6. Diptych of long poems

III.7. Names of love

III.8. Names of absence

Part IV. The Real and the Mythicised Function of Word

IV.1. Language as home

IV.2. Word as the carrier of meaning

IV.3. Word as the epistemological sense

IV.4. The discourse of existence and the semantic fields of words

IV.5. Word as the axiological sense

IV.6. The uniting Time of Raza

IV.7. The universe in the rhythms of words

IV.8. The instrumentality of word

IV.9. Metathesis

Conclusion: A Mandala of Words

Quoted Sources

Index of Original Titles of the Quoted Poems

Appendix: Ashok Vajpeyi’s Abbreviated Biodata