Home Book Review Ajay Jugran’s poems carry the fragrance of Doon’s Basmati Rice

Ajay Jugran’s poems carry the fragrance of Doon’s Basmati Rice

Ajay Jugran’s poetry collection ‘Antrang Satrang’
By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 11 Mar: Dehradun born Ajay Jugran is a highly successful corporate lawyer who currently lives in Delhi. His father has his origins in district Pauri, while his mother belongs to district Tehri. Apart from being a highly successful corporate lawyer, he has himself trained more than a hundred lawyers through his firm Law Combine established in 1998. However, despite being a lawyer by profession, he is a writer and a poet by heart. His writings include a book of Hindi poetry titled “Antrang Satrang”, which translates to ‘Intimate Seven Colours’ and a collection of short stories titled ‘The Runway Suitcase and Other Stories.’
‘Antrang Satrang’ is a Hindi poetry collection filled with a range of emotions, insights, thoughts and ideas. Its beautiful introduction is written by the Bollywood film writer, Akshat Ghildial, of films ‘Badhai Ho’ and ‘Badhai Do’ fame. A few of Ajay’s poems (Tum Zinda Ho, Swapn Dekho) have been recorded by Dehradun based voice artist and film actor, Atul Vishnoi. Quite a few of his poems have been illustrated by Dehradun based or associated artists like Dr Sanjay Saxena, Sanjay Nainwal, Maushmi Ghosh, Jahanvi Kala, Mishika Kala, Shobha Uniyal and Anju Dhaundiyal.
The book has found rave reviews from many leading critics including former NCERT Professor Lalchand Ram, Arun Hota and Sanjeev Kotnala amongst others.
The book has 70 poems divided over 7 chapters in a collection that extends to 160 pages. Many of these poems (14 in the first two chapters) are set in Dehradun where Ajay has grown up and nearby Garhwal hills. These poems have references to the people, flora and fauna of Uttarakhand. In particular, poems ‘Dehradun, Dehraduni Mohabbat, Puranmaasi Mein Tendua Darshan, Panchkuti Ka Langur, Palaayan, and Ik Boond Ki Niyati have the fragrance of Dehradun’s famous basmati rice as well as the sweet and sour taste of Doon’s litchi and pomelos. These poems that are included in the first four chapters, nostalgia that Ajay has felt or his gratitude and human relationship experienced by him come out very beautifully. These poems are more personal in nature. But as the reader delves deeper into that core and further into his book, the poems start reflecting humanity at large, compassion for animals, environmental concerns and patriotism. 7 poems in the 6th chapter in particular call for change and improvement through action in varied circumstances.
Well known writer, literary critic and considered to be a leading expert on legendary poet Muktibodh, NCERT’s senior Hindi Professor Lalchand Ram has written (translated into English for the purpose of this article) in his extensive review of “Antrang Satrang” that, “Neither did the poet, Ajay Jugran, need any training for writing poetry nor is it possible to write poetry by undergoing some training. His feelings, upon passing through the gulf of knowledge and experience, became poetry. He is so full of cognitive sensitivity and sensitive cognition that his feelings keep overflowing on paper in the shape of poems.”
“These poems – so diverse in theme, colour, shape, form and beauty – are written and live evidence of the world around us. The poet has become a witness by the beautiful images and forms sculpted in his words. His poems are not restricted by any convention; they are completely free, just like the free sky, the free heart and the free verse.”
In what establishes the poet’s lifetime relationships, his book opens with “Guru Ashish” by his 90 year old Dehradun based art and theatre teacher, Jitendra Pal Singh, and his primary school Hindi teacher from the mid 1970s in Hyderabad, Ramadevi Joshi Kakkad, writes (translated into English for the purpose of this article) in her review of his book:
“Overall, Ajay‘s poems are a free verse collection of experiences, his own philosophy and thoughts embedded in relationships. There is a sense of intimate heartfelt remembrance and gratitude, as well as a rainbow of intellectual philosophy and thought in his poetry. He has drawn many beautiful word pictures and captured many interesting stories reliving his childhood, relationships and life experiences in an intimate way. By reading “Antrang Satrang” written in simple, easy Hindi, every reader can easily find something of his own, some familiarity within it, and this is the foundation of the book’s popularity.”
Well known critic and Hindi Professor at West Bengal University Arun Hota writes, “Antarang Satrang’ penned down by Ajay Jugran appears to be the rainbow-like reflection of the human mind as is also reflected from the title itself. Despite being a lawyer by profession, a lucid flow of emotions from the poet’s heart can be felt in each of his poems. In the increasing order of life development, the personal experiences of the poet have become the format of this work. He has put the experiences related to different stages of life under sub-headings. Hindi ‘Swaras’ have been presented sequentially in the form of numbers for these subtitles. This is a unique and an interesting effort. The presented collection is undoubtedly a highly readable work for the lovers of Hindi poetry. Readers get a sense of satisfaction by passing through the expression of colourful experiences contained in the intimate expression of the poet. Jugran’s poems are multicoloured and are of varied sentiments. These characteristics give new dimensions to his poetic form. The feelings of all of us become in the words of the poet, after being heated in the flame of thoughts and experiences, accumulated over the years. In fact, the architecture of this book has been arranged in such a way that it is a diverse chapter of the entire life cycle’.
In his review of Antrang Satrang, Mumbai based Media expert, writer and critic Sanjeev Kotnala writes, “The language is simple. There is no attempt to force a point of view or reiterate the observations. Sometimes, you even miss if you were reading a poem or the pages from someone’s intimate diary, as the poet is transparently naked with emotions and feelings. The words just flow, and the meanings emerge within the lines. There is no need to read between the lines. It is what it is on the face and right upfront presented to you.”
Ajay’s poems have thus come to the fore through the sieve of the light and dark experienced first hand by him, hence they resonate in the heart and mind of the reader. These poems lay bare the intimate as well as the empirical nature of the poet.