It is a hundred years since Rabindra Nath Tagore won the Nobel Prize in Literature. He was conferred the Honorary Membership of the Serbian Writers Association and invited as a Guest to the Literary Conference in 1926. These details become important and relevant as well when we look at the literary trajectory of Dr. Jernail Singh Anand, the great Indian, who has authored 150 plus books and was recently in the news for being nominated an Honorary Member of the Serbian Writers Union, and then, invited to Serbia for Writers Conference in October 2023. It sets the bells ringing as Dr. Anand appears to be treading forward in the footsteps of Guru Dev Tagore towards the Nobel in Literature.
What catapulted Dr. Anand to international fame is not only his staggering volume of work, which includes poetry, fiction, non-fiction, philosophy, spirituality, political theory, critical theory and environment but his 9 epics which make a record of sorts. Dr. Anand’s Mahakaal Trilogy, which includes Lustus: The Prince of Darkness, The Dominion of the Netherworld and The Ultronic Age, has created a wave of critical appreciation for his work, and his contemporaries like Dr. Maja Herman Sekulic consider him the greatest satirist of our times, comparable to Daniel Defoe. According to critics of Dr. Anand, ‘Lustus: the Prince of Darkness stands in the same relation to the 21st century as Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’ stood in relation to the 17th century. If Milton created Satan, Dr. Anand creates Lustus, who represents the Corporate Evil of modern times.
Dr Anand’s poetry has found great favour in the land of Rumi, i.e. Iran, because of the spiritual elements in his work. Prof. Nargues Mohammadi, from Univ of Mashad, translated his book ‘Bliss: The Ultimate Magic’ and ‘I Belong to You’ into Persian. His novel ‘The Broken Narrative’ and his epic Lustus have also been translated into Persian. Dr. Anand hit upon the theory of Biotext in critical appreciation, assisted by Iranian scholar Dr. Roghayeh Farsi, who compared his book ‘Beyond Life Beyond Death’ to T.S. Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land’ and his book ‘Bliss; The Ultimate Magic’ to Kahlil Gibran’s ‘The Prophet’. Dr. Farsi has written around 15 scholarly articles on his work, apart from spearheading a Research Project comparing his poetry with two Iranian Poets, Sohrab Sepehri and Forugh Farrokhzad.
Dr. Anand hails from Punjab, India. He has published 7 books of poetry in his mother tongue Punjabi also. His poetry has been translated into more than 20 world languages, and he has the distinction of introducing nearly 30 world poets by publishing their works, independently or jointly.
Dr. Anand’s love for the environment showed forth in his collaboration with Commandant, NDRF, to plant around 20000 saplings. He came up with a slogan: Ik Rukh Sau Sukh which means One Tree gives us One Hundred Blessings.
Dr Anand has inspired and mentored hundreds of young poets in the art of poetic creation. He believes that poetry is like a painkiller. In fact, all literature is like an antioxidant, which helps fight the toxins in our thought stream and relieves us of our mental and emotional pain.
Dr. Anand shot into international fame with the establishment of the International Academy of Ethics [a precursor to the University of Ethics, which the Aazaad Foundation is planning to set up]. The Academy has started on its mission: E for Ethics. Dr. Anand believes that Education is not only incomplete but also dangerous in the absence of Ethical Orientation.
Dr. Anand visited Italy and Nigeria in 2016 and represented India in literary conferences. He was nominated Chairman of the Board of Directors of the World Institute of Peace, Nigeria. He served as Secretary General of the World Parliament of Literature and was conferred the Cross of Peace and Cross of Literature by the World Union of Poets, Italy. Dr. Anand received the Kafka Literary Prize 2022, Dr. M.S. Randhawa Award in Literature and Culture, and Art4Life Lifetime Achievement Award from a US-based Foundation Art4Life.
Dr. Anand believes that Knowledge and AI have disturbed man’s mental, physical, psychological and spiritual balance, and it is important that we start the process of re-naturalization of mankind. He thinks that Original Intelligence helps vegetation, animals and birds to lead normal lives, which is denied to human beings.
Dr. Kul Bushan Razdan, Retd Professor and Head, Dept. of English, Jammu Univ, sums up the literary genius of Dr. Anand in the following poem:
Dr. Anand’s creative spark is astounding,
astonishing, eclipsing, awakening,
Calliopse’s darling, Saraswati’s chosen one,
O Jernail, Poems come to thy pen as pins to a magnet,
Thy diversity, felicity, simplicity, hall-marks
of thy diction, mesmerize thy readers,
Thy humility, innate goodness, ingrained in thy nature,
Add magnetic resonance to thy essence,
The essence of a born genius, a poet in whom,
the Creative Poetic Cosmos
Becomes akin to a Galactic expanse!
May the Almighty endow thy Poetic Power
with an unfathomable mix of Diversity and Simplicity.
Dr. Anand’s literary prowess, coupled with the immense magnitude of his creations comprising 150 books, distinguishes him as an eminent figure in world literature, placing him in the league of great masters such as Rabindra Nath Tagore and John Milton. It is our ardent aspiration that he becomes the next laureate from India, achieving the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature.
[Dr. Shiv Sethi is a renowned critic and reviewer from India. The views expressed are his personal.]