Experiences of Desertion: Locating the Works of Harinder Singh Mahboob

by Prabhsharandeep Singh
Citation
Title:
Experiences of Desertion: Locating the Works of Harinder Singh Mahboob
Author:
Prabhsharandeep Singh
Year: 
2008
Publication: 
Sikh Formations
Volume: 
4
Issue: 
2
Start Page: 
115
End Page: 
131
Publisher: 
Language: 
English
URL: 
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DOI: 
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Abstract:

 

This article introduces the work of the contemporary Punjabi poet and thinker Harinder

Singh Mahboob. A prequel to a closer reading of Mahboob’s work, this article examines

the nihilistic undertones that have come to suffuse recent Punjabi poetry through its interaction

with the modernist thought process. This is examined by exploring the experiences

associated with the 1947 partition of Punjab and the events leading towards it. Starting

with a biographical account of Harinder Singh Mahboob, the article attempts to contextualize

his poetical/philosophical experience. Mahboob’s sense of desertion, in his earlier

poems, and the metaphysical transformation in the experience are discussed in light of

prominent trends in modern Punjabi poetry. An analysis of his positioning in contemporary

Punjabi literature provides a way to understand some of the ambivalent trends in the

development of Sikh studies. His writings incorporate a strange combination of Western

metaphysics, Sufism, and creative imagination that distinguishes his work from that of

mainstream contemporary Punjabi poets and writers. The nihilistic suggestion of his

work provide a fresh perspective on his creative impulse, simultaneously revealing a

broad vision as well as unresolved inner conflicts.

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