Mahfil, vol. 1, no. 2 "1 SOME PRAYOGVADI POEMS OP HINDI
It was in the decades immediately after the first World War that Hindi poetry took a radical turn and stepped into its modern period. Mahadevi, Prasad, Pant, Nirala, these were some of the major poets of that new generation. Their detractors called their poetry CHAYAVAD, pursuit of a shadow, or, according to some well-wishers, vision of an universal truth. But the name caught on and soon became a sign of literary virtue. These new poets saw their world as transitory; they were affected by what they saw around them. Yet their resolution of the problems which faced them •was highly personal, and not social. They sought solace in nature and moved to discover in it something Unknown and Supreme. These poets were not concerned with political and social causes* At least not to any significant degree. But those who followed their in the forKes, reacted against the romantic lyricism of the CHAYAVAD and wrote poetry of political defiance and social revolt^ They organized themselves into a group and called themselves PRAGATIVADI, the Progressives. These poets through their organization were part of a nation-wide movement which grew and took form in all the languages of the sub-continent during that periods But all during that time there were some poets who still considered. poetry a personal experience rather than a social tool. They were as much against the 'milk and honey' tone of the CHAYAVAD lyricists as they were against the strident slogans of the Progressives. They did not believe in that aspect of the ancient theory of Rasa which required that the poem must arouse an emotion in the reader's mind identical with what was originally in the mind of the poet;
something which necessitated the use of a restricted series of shared motives and images. For these poets their poems were pieces individual experience and were to be kept free of any kind of compromise that participation by the audience might demand. Everything they saw they accepted as being suitable for their poetry;
no subject was taboo, no object too common. They were cognizant of the revolution brought into the ways of human thought by the discoveries of Freud. They chose to probe into the subconscious and sought out new themes. Many of them played with the device of free association. And because they experimented with form and revolutionized the content their detractors named them PRAYOGVADI, the Experimentalists. But as in the case of the CHAYAVADI poets, the detractors' term soon became synonymous with literary virtue a:id modernity. The younger contemporary poets in Hindi have gone further in their exploration of the universe of poetry. For them PRAYOGVAD is somewhat dated; they call their poetry NAYI KAVITA, new poetry. The new generation is well aware of what is happening around i/b and outside .its country and ha^ kept its place in the sodern world of alienation, anxiety, and existentialism.
This brief note is simply to provide some historical perspective for the poems which follow. All the poets belong to the PRAYOGVAD group. The selection, however, is by no means representative; neither all the poets are included, nor their best poemso That we hope to do at some other time,