Anoop Singh (1910 – 1989) was a lawyer by profession, hailing from the North-West Frontier Province of undivided Punjab. A lover of every good thing in life, he came to writing poetry seriously very late in life but his output compensated his late-coming both quantitatively and qualitatively. The most striking feature of his verse is his thought-content. Evidently, he owes this to his age; maturity of outlook on life, wealth of experience, and the asset of erudition that he gathered over the years. An admirer of Saadi and Hafiz, Meer and Ghalib, Iqbal and Faiz, he was equally knowledgeable about the Vedas and the Upanishads, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
The poet in Anoop Singh refused to tread the trodden path. Krishna had no attraction for him, nor did he devote attendance on Radha. His destination was beyond the so-called heaven. An angel for too long, he wished to be human for once. According to the poet, Man is supreme. A human being is greater.
He goes a step further and confronts God immodestlyâ€”\’Why had Guru Arjan to be carried away by the waves of the river Ravi?\’, \’Why was Guru Tegh Bahadur slaughtered in Delhi?\’, \’For what fault did the entire family of Guru Gobind Singh have to be wiped out?\’, \’People die with our name on their lips! How is it that the prayers of your devotees are never heard?\’ Says the poet: Those who love You suffer With Rama on their tongue they die How do You explain it all? What type of God are You? Similarly, he finds fault with Heer. Why could she not embrace death the way Sohni and Sahiban did when separated from their lovers? He would not have the erotic figures at Konark mar the exquisite beauty of its architecture. An angry old man, no doubt! However, what is gratifying in him is the remarkable mirror-like portrayal of the subtle in the beauty of nature. When face to face such poignant charm, the rebel in Sardar Anoop Singh is subdued.
He submits to the Divine Reality for its uncanny creativity. The rivers sing nursery rhymes And the mountains are asleep Who is the creator of all this The one who lives in every particle? He has half a dozen are: Aad Aneel, Roop-Anup, and Akhar Birkh. He maintains the idealism and the excellence of expression typical of a senior poet. And he is bewildered since no reply seems to be forthcoming even at his advanced age, with his vast and varied experience: The more I cover the distance,the more the path is involved.
Anoop Singh\’s regret is that he is too simple and too straight-forward, while the world around him has grown much too sophisticated. Nobody seems to be available any more on his wavelength. He makes an endeavour to carry his reader back to Nature, to its original, unblemished, pristine purity, where he can embrace trees and lie on the naked earth with a rock as his cushion. Where relaxing on the bank of a river under the shade of trees he can drink its water to his heart\’s content. Where singing with birds and swimming with fish, he can wash away the squalar of life.
1. Kohli, S.S., Punjabi Sahit da Itihas, Ludhiana, 1955.
2. Mohan Singh, A History of Punjabi Literature, Amritsar, 1956.
3. Sekhon, S.S. and K.S. Duggal, A history of Punjabi Literature, Delhi, 1992.