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Book review: Mahatma Gandhi by Sreedharan Parokode
The book 'Mahatma Gandhi' is mainly a collection of poems and observations that detail the movement of the man's principles. P.L Sreedharan Parokode will make you fall in love with literature again.

IF YOU never liked poetry, you’ll love Mahatma Gandhi - a collection of poems. If you haven’t read much poetry then you’ll fall in love with it because he has re-established the metaphor as a grave element in poetry and takes the post-modern concept of free verse to a new form. Sreedharan Parokode is not a newcomer in poetry. 

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He has composed a number of poems and lyrics. His poetry has received commendations from Federation Roma of Serbia; Belgrade in 2007. He was selected for Bharat Excellence Award and Gold Medal in2010, Great India Citizen Award and Golden Personality award2011. 

A great poet Matthew Arnold said that ‘Poetry is simply the most beautiful, impressive, and widely effective mode of saying things and ideas and the poet selected the same form to express his thoughts and ideas.

The book runs into over 120 pages, full of poems about Mahatma Gandhi and his work. Each chapter deals with a specific aspect of Gandhi’s life - i.e. spiritual, father, and educator - with the other poems based on many themes like - terrorism, corruption, friendship, unity, poverty marginalization, defense, pains, birth and death, etc. His poems commence the modern era by emphasizing feeling, nature, and pleasure above custom and gesture. His poetry gives expression to tentative human emotion.

All poems are excellent. Some are less than good while most are probably in the average range. But the best part is the words and ideas in between. From the simple lines of the title poem, He, The Direction, the first poem in the book, he captures the straightforwardness of language and rhythm. Here's a taste:

“He

Wanted

Life to be simple and

Exhibited an

Example.

Liked his 

fellowmen

Follow him”.

Sreedharan is capable to take an ordinary theme and make it exceptional by surprising us with his language and unpredicted comments. His writing is beautiful and brave. As we know that Gandhiji’s life was devoted to the ideals of Truth, Non-violence and adore. Some of the poems in this book describe Gandhiji’s life like the poem “Bappu Kuti’:

“Feet thrilled

As I put softly

On the pavements of

Matri Nivas’. 

The collection of poems makes us melancholic for some time when faith was admired completely, but assigns us to relax in the reality of today's post-modern realities. Another poem “The Mahatma” also describes about the greatness of Gandhiji:

“There was

A

Star on

The sky of

Earth.

It’s Brightness

Spread

Across

The globe”.

His writings about nature started to contrast the ruin of mankind. You can see the influence of post-modernism in his work and he is one of the few poets of today who has strong feelings about life. An example is the poem titled, “Life’s Cycle”:

“Songs of

The heart of

Branches

Woke

Flowers up.

But their

Silence in

Summer

Shed

The eyelids

Of branches

Along with

Tears…”

Here the poet tries to describe each and every aspect of life. He offers not just a beautiful picture of nature but also exemplifies the curative power of nature on the strength of man. Sreedharan has tried to make us rethink about our priorities in life. Much of the poetry in this book bravely deals with the starker realities of life. Here is one of my favorite poems from Mahatma Gandhi, titled “Friendship":

The poet has shown his apprehension for the beautiful relation of friendship in the poem “Friendship”:

“Is it not

To see

The dancing

Leaves

Breeze makes

Frequent

Visits...to

The garden,

To appreciate…?”

His poetry avoided high-flown language and style. In this poem “Friendship’ he also uses another concept that becomes a theme throughout his poetry; the importance of friendship. First, it should be said the poems are wonderfully crafted.  He tells stories.

I still find the poem moves through a natural rhythm that is appropriate for the subject matter. The collections of photos throughout the book are a polite touch, but somewhat unprofessional. He opens each section of the book with portrait of ‘Bappu’s’ character. Sreedharan’s imagery is stunning, not just for the power of the subject, but his description: the ‘elbows, like crickets’ legs’. 

According to Robert Frost, writing free verse is like playing tennis with the net down and the poet has done the same. All the poems have been written in free verse.

I greatly enjoy reading his works. The poet wanted to bring a more individualistic approach. The modern age has been described as the age of examination. The present work is a fine example of modern age. He has shown all feelings related to human beings. As a young poet he has given us a marvelous piece of literary work and it is clear that he has to go a long way. I strongly recommend you to purchase this book and read it. You will not be disappointed after reading it for sure.

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