Pradeep Biswal: PILGRIMAGE TO AYODHYA (Published by “AABS Publishing House”, Kolkata – Sunita Paul) / Review by Madhur Singh Pradhan


It was an absolute delight to go through Mr. Pradeep Biswal’s ” Pilgrimage To Ayodhya”, a collection of 42 beautiful poems . Just like in his previous anthology, ” A House Within”, the poet has also touched upon various themes and subjects in this anthology making it a rewarding experience to read. Refraining from using very bombastic words, the poet has penned down his emotions in words that are genuine, profound and most importantly, relatable.
The poet shares an affinity with things that are afar: the stars, the sun, the moon, the clouds and beyond. The expanse of the universe mirrors the unfathomable emotions that the poet himself carries. Going through the lines, one can feel that he’s aware of the vast emptiness of the universe and is constantly trying to bridge this emptiness. Many of the poems start with description of moons and stars and with that he is trying to talk about things that are beyond human control, all powerful and supremely Enigmatic.

“I welcome
to make your presence felt
like the moon-blanched night
in the autumnal, cloudless skies” ( Invitation)

Opening many a poems with “I”, the poet has held on tightly to his past, however painful it might have been. He has celebrated his victories and at the same time has addressed his painful memories. His description of love is very sincere and devoid of any pretense. He has not missed out on the simple details as well.
He has also addressed the changing facets of modern life. In his ” Metamorphosis”, he talks about Data theft, a contemporary concern. He talks about how modernity has stolen his individuality, something that he holds very dear.

“….I am turned to data
Nothing else
It’s subject for anything
Multiple studies
And analysis
It’s like a cadaver
In the laboratory
To be dissected
And studied.”

Man has been rendered helpless amongst the dominance of algorithms and numbers and the poet slowly and silently watches this “metamorphosis” of humankind.

The poet depicts spirituality in a blissful, meaningful way. The lines below are the most befitting lines in the current, unsettling times of turmoil. The poet is trying to make his readers understand that humanity is above all and must prevail.

“Without humanity
No shrine is sacred
Without benevolence
The myriad dreams
Have evaporated
Like water in Sarayu” ( Pilgrimage to Ayodhya).

In the poem ” A Man beyond the Door”, the poet is comparing a man with the melting wax of a candle, thereby indicating about the transiency of human life, and how with time, the human body decays away. But with that he also tells us about the undefeated spirit of a human being who is constantly and tirelessly fighting darkness.

“a man beyond the door
like a candle-statue
melting away every moment
in glowing fire.
Every moment he melts away
throwing in silence
arrows and spears of light.”

His poem ” Chandipur” remains one of the best poems in the collection. Starting his poem by painting us a picture of a sleepy sea, he then finds himself amongst the glorious nature. In his path to self-realization, we see that his individuality and existence is not an isolated self, but rather an expanded self. He tries to create a link, a parallel world with the nether word and goes to a timeless zone where he probably hopes to get some answers.

“I ask the tiny crabs
if my blood was red or blue.
They hide themselves
Oblivious of my relation with them”

The poet is not seeking to establish his identity rather it seems as if he has already become one of the tiny creature, thereby becoming one and all with Nature.

In this anthology he sees the extraordinary in the ordinary of things. The poet is a great lover of the abundant nature enveloping him, his lines are profound, sensitive and impactful and stays with the reader for long even after reading them. I am sure this work of art will reach a larger number of audience and will garner a lot of praise for its mesmerizing and vivid portrayal of human thoughts, social reality, mysticism, the day to day life that the poet himself sees and deep insight into the delicate emotion of love.

Book Publishing details-(Published by AABS Publishing House, Kolkata, West Bengal, India in 2019, Price Rs 299/- / $10, Pages-91)



Madhur Singh Pradhan is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in English and Comparative Literature in Pondicherry University, Puducherry. She is from Bhubaneswar, Odisha.

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