LUSTUS: THE MEGA-EPIC OF POSTMODERNIST THOUGHT, LIFE AND TIMES
It has been a pleasure for me to read and review Dr. J.S. Anand’s latest poetic composition titled LUSTUS. An Ultra Modern Poem of epic proportions, it is highly inventive, innovative, creative as well as a great meeting-point of the ethos and civilizational processes of the Orient and Occident. It may also be considered to be a Mega Epic of our Post-postmodernist thought, life and times. I consider it the final estuary delving into an ocean of poetic philosophy and a convergence of varied streams of Human Ideals, Ideas, and Evolution. As Eliot states a non-negotiable truth that a Poet is never born in a vacuum but in an endless consciousness which connects Individual Talent with an ongoing Tradition, so does the poetic flow of Dr. Anand’s LUSTUS which evinces, invokes and evokes a ceaselessly ongoing trajectory and history of Humanity.
At the very outset Anand’s cosmic consciousness (as manifest in his dramatis personae, poetic characters and outflow) spans centuries of literary history from the Ancient Indian and Homeric Epics through Dante and Milton to Keats and Eliot’s vision of the Modern Wasteland to delineate the causes of the final degeneration of our human race in contemporary times. His Invocation followed by the Cantos traces the rise of Lustus’ kingdom of darkness and the extreme possibilities of the annihilation of Man for his overwhelming avarice, materialism, sensuality and lust for power. However the most interesting part of this Postmodern Epic is its ingrained Binaries, which catch one’s imagination. I would wish to say that Dialectic forms the sub-text, meta-text and fulcrum of this poem LUSTUS. Most of the characters in the poetic text (like Ravana, Faustus, Lucifer or Satan, Adam and the chief protagonist Lustus) have dichotomous traits of both positive and negative forces, of light and darkness, of knowledge and ignorance inextricably wound together, though they choose imperatively the latter, for ultimate, inevitable destruction. Hence my reading of this Epic Poem has also prompted me to think of the essence of Duality and Dialectics propounded by most great philosophers like Aristotle, Plato, Hegel, Heidegger as also poets like Milton, Keats and Shakespeare. In this poem we witness this quintessential combat of the Ego and Alter-Ego, of the Divine and the Ugly, of Heroes and Monsters, of Gods and Titans embedded as variegated colours in the same totality of Being and Nothingness. These are the embattled forces of Nature which remain inexorably entwined through expansive temporal spatiality. LUSTUS reinforces Dichotomy as a fact of Existence and hence may be termed as a Post-postmodernist Mega Epic which triggers a debate in the human mind to read, interrogate and then perhaps resolve or arrive. I feel it is this subterranean dialectical perspective that may influence a deeper reading and appreciation of this Mega Epic.
Dr. Jernail S. Aanand
In the Indian Puranas we see this Duality with Goodness and Virtuosity embodied in Vishnu,
(pg. 1 of 2)
being born from the Creator Brahma’s navel and the Evil demoniac forces of Asuras Madhu and Kaitav being born from Brahma’s ears, or both intangibly birthing from the same source. To cite another example like Satan or Lucifer, we find the Miltonic and Biblical connotations / resonance in LUSTUS in which the Archangel of Light or Lucifer is soon transmuted into the powerful Lustus, a symbol of satanic/ serpentine power. In fact all the characters, names and motifs of Anand’s poem, are remarkable signifiers of Living Reality or the Dialectics of Life and Existence. To me, this appears to be an extremely motivational text of poetry which inspires our Imagination, engages our Mind and Intellect and stokes our Perceptivity to make the right choice or weigh out the balances and bridges between good and evil. Anand’s Universalism is evident in the connectivities he builds between the static and the dynamic, the cosmic and the ephemeral, the divine and the human, the supra-natural and the natural, to strike the right “Balance” in order to avoid decay and dissolution. In one such context Adam, one of the protagonist cries—-“If I am born a part of this struggle/ And fail to make both ends meet/ If just keeping alive is my ultimate business/ I wonder if I am relevant or an irrelevance….” It is a remarkable feat of Dr. Anand as he plays around with jigsaw patterns, as well as reaches out to solve this perpetual tangle of the Divine and the Human through poetic weavings and constructions of “balance eternal” and “planet’s poise”. In Dr. Anand’s poetic space (as created in LUSTUS) he swirls through vast temporalities and disruptive forces as much as transcendental realms forbidding that decadent Lust which could lead to the final dissolution of our Super- Human human race. This is an Ultra-Modern Epic Poem of extraordinary Multi-Dimensionality. We should surely await a Counter-turn or a Sequel to LUSTUS like Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound or Milton’s Paradise Regained.
A Review by Prof. Dr. Laksmisree Banerjee