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THE UNREST OF DESIRE By Keki N. Daruwalla

THE UNREST OF DESIRE By Keki N. Daruwalla

About The Author

His life and Literary Works :  Keki N. Daruwalla was a renowned Indian poet, fiction writer, and a retired Indian Police Service (IPS) officer. Born on January 7, 1937, in Lahore (now in Pakistan), Daruwalla’s life and works have left a lasting impact on Indian literature. His literary career spanned several decades, and he is celebrated for his insightful poetry and gripping fiction.Daruwalla’s early life was marked by the tumultuous events of the partition of India in 1947. The Daruwalla family migrated to India during this time, and the experiences of displacement and communal tensions during the partition left a deep imprint on Daruwalla’s psyche, influencing much of his later work. His poetry often reflects the socio-political realities of the times, blending personal experiences with broader historical narratives.In 1958, Keki N. Daruwalla joined the Indian Police Service, a career that would shape his worldview and find resonance in his writing. His experiences in law enforcement provided him with a unique perspective on society, crime, and justice, which he skillfully incorporated into his literary works.

Daruwalla’s poetic journey began with the publication of his first collection, “Under Orion,” in 1970. The poems in this collection established his distinctive voice, marked by a keen sense of observation and a deep engagement with human experiences. His poetry delves into a wide range of themes, from the personal to the political, exploring the complexities of love, identity, and the human condition.

One of his notable works is “Winter Poems,” published in 1976, which received critical acclaim for its evocative imagery and poignant exploration of the harsh realities of life. The poems in this collection often depict the harshness of nature as a metaphor for the challenges faced by individuals and society.

Daruwalla’s poetry is known for its rich linguistic texture, blending English with Indian idioms and cultural references. His command over language allows him to capture the essence of diverse landscapes and cultures, from the deserts of Rajasthan to the vibrant streets of Mumbai. This linguistic dexterity contributes to the universality of his themes, making his poetry accessible to readers across different backgrounds.

In addition to his poetry, Daruwalla made significant contributions to Indian fiction. His short stories and novels showcase his storytelling prowess and a keen understanding of human psychology. His fiction often explores the complexities of human relationships, delving into the intricacies of love, betrayal, and redemption.

Daruwalla’s novel “The Keeper of the Dead” (1982) is a gripping tale set against the backdrop of a murder mystery. The narrative weaves together elements of crime, mythology, and history, reflecting his multifaceted literary skills. This novel, like much of his work, highlights the intersection of personal and societal narratives, making it a compelling read.

As a poet, Daruwalla continued to produce influential collections, including “Landscapes” (1987), “A Summer of Tigers” (1995), and “The Map-Maker” (2002). These collections further solidified his reputation as a prominent voice in Indian poetry. His poetry reflects a deep engagement with history, mythology, and contemporary issues, offering readers a nuanced understanding of the world.Throughout his career, Daruwalla received numerous accolades for his literary contributions. He was honored with the Sahitya Akademi Award, one of India’s most prestigious literary awards, for his collection “The Keeper of the Dead” in 1984. His works have also been anthologized and translated into several languages, reaching a diverse audience both in India and internationally.

Beyond his literary pursuits, Keki N. Daruwalla remained connected to his roots, often drawing inspiration from the cultural richness of India. His poems celebrate the diversity of the country, capturing the essence of its landscapes, traditions, and people.In his later years, Daruwalla continued to write, adding to his impressive body of work. His poetry evolved, reflecting the changing dynamics of society and his own introspective musings. Even as he explored new themes, the core elements of his writing—sharp observations, cultural richness, and a deep understanding of the human experience—remained constant.Keki N. Daruwalla’s life and works exemplify the intersection of literature and life, where personal experiences and societal observations converge to create a body of work that resonates with readers across generations. His legacy endures, and his contributions to Indian literature continue to be celebrated, ensuring that his influence will endure for years to come.

His Major Works

  • 1. “Under Orion” (1970): This was Daruwalla’s debut poetry collection, marking the beginning of his literary journey. The poems in this collection set the tone for his later work, showcasing his distinctive voice and keen observational skills.
  • 2.  “Winter Poems” (1976): This collection received critical acclaim for its evocative imagery and exploration of the harsh realities of life. Daruwalla’s ability to use nature as a metaphor for human experiences is evident in these poems.
  • 3.  “Landscapes” (1987): Another notable poetry collection, “Landscapes” further established Daruwalla as a prominent voice in Indian poetry. The poems in this collection delve into a range of themes, including history, mythology, and contemporary issues.
  • 4.  “The Keeper of the Dead” (1982): This novel is a gripping work of fiction that blends elements of crime, mythology, and history. Set against the backdrop of a murder mystery, the narrative reflects Daruwalla’s storytelling prowess and his ability to weave together diverse themes.
  • 5.  “A Summer of Tigers” (1995): This poetry collection explores a variety of subjects, showcasing Daruwalla’s versatility as a poet. The poems in this collection continue to reflect his deep engagement with history, culture, and the human condition.
  • 6.  “The Map-Maker” (2002): Published later in his career, this collection of poems continues Daruwalla’s exploration of diverse landscapes and themes. The poems are marked by his characteristic linguistic richness and a keen sense of place.
  • 7.  “Fire Altar: Poems on the Persians and Greeks” (2013): This collection is notable for its thematic focus on the ancient Persians and Greeks. Daruwalla delves into historical and mythological narratives, offering a unique perspective on these ancient civilizations.
  • 8.  “Ancestral Affairs” (2015): This collection of short stories showcases Daruwalla’s prowess as a fiction writer. The stories delve into the complexities of human relationships, blending elements of realism and imagination.

Keki N. Daruwalla’s works have been widely anthologized, and he has received prestigious awards for his contributions to literature, including the Sahitya Akademi Award. His ability to seamlessly blend diverse themes, his rich linguistic texture, and his deep understanding of the human experience have solidified his place as a significant figure in Indian literature.

Introduction to the Poem 

“The Unrest of Desire” is a poetic exploration by Keki N. Daruwalla, where desire becomes a focal point for introspection. Daruwalla delves into the complexities of human yearning, intertwining personal and societal desires against the backdrop of historical and cultural landscapes. The poems in this collection exhibit his nuanced understanding of the human condition, weaving together rich imagery and insightful observations to convey the tumultuous and ever-evolving nature of desire.

Paraphrase of the Poem

In “The Unrest of Desire,” Keki N. Daruwalla delves into the intricate facets of human longing, examining the profound complexities that arise from desires. The collection serves as a introspective journey, weaving together personal and societal longings within historical and cultural contexts. Daruwalla’s nuanced exploration captures the dynamic nature of desire, portraying it as a tumultuous force that shapes both individual experiences and collective narratives. The poet employs vivid imagery and keen observations to convey the relentless and evolving nature of human yearning.

The poems serve as a reflective mirror, revealing the intricate tapestry of desires that define the human condition. Daruwalla’s skillful crafting of verses allows readers to engage with the thematic richness, unraveling the various layers of longing that contribute to the perpetual unrest inherent in the essence of desire. Overall, “The Unrest of Desire” stands as a testament to Daruwalla’s ability to articulate the profound intricacies of human emotions and societal aspirations.

Summary of the Poem 

“The Unrest of Desire” by Keki N. Daruwalla explores the multifaceted nature of human yearning and its impact on personal and societal realms. The collection is a reflective journey into the complexities of desire, intertwining individual aspirations with broader historical and cultural contexts. Daruwalla’s poems convey the restless and ever-changing nature of desire, capturing its tumultuous force. Through vivid imagery and astute observations, he delves into the emotional and psychological dimensions of longing.

The verses serve as a mirror, reflecting the intricate tapestry of desires that shape the human experience. Daruwalla skillfully navigates through themes of love, aspiration, and societal expectations, creating a nuanced portrayal of the human condition. Ultimately, “The Unrest of Desire” stands as a poetic exploration that invites readers to contemplate the perpetual and dynamic nature of human yearning

The Unrest of Desire

The unrest of desire is lit up with eyes, 

Whatever the mask you slap upon your face, 

However you tear at the soft thoat of life 

  And probe the salt blood with your instinct tongue 

The unrest of desire is revealed by eyes. 

However you bury the shadow in the heart,

Under slabs of concrete and coil of bone.

However you wall the cave-impulse at the mouth,

It will hammer at the sides and break free-

However you bury the shadow in the heart,

You may etch the shadow on the cavern wall

And turn the drives into aborigine art,

Bison and stag loping in charcoal lines,

 You can’t erase the burn, It will char your dreams

 However You bury the shadow in the heart.

Explanations

Stanza I

The unrest of desire is lit up with eyes, 

Whatever the mask you slap upon your face, 

However you tear at the soft throat of life 

And probe the salt blood with your instinct tongue 

The unrest of desire is revealed by eyes. 

Reference to the Context:  These are the lines of the poem, “The Unrest of Desire”, composed by Keki N. Daruwalla.He employs metaphorical language to emphasize that desire is a powerful and revealing force, transcending any attempts at concealment. The eyes, being a window to one’s true emotions, become the medium through which the unrest and intensity of desire are laid bare, irrespective of any outward masks or attempts to suppress it.

Explanation : The poet suggests that the true nature of desire is exposed or made evident through one’s eyes. Eyes are often considered windows to the soul, and here, they serve as a revealing element that discloses the inner turmoil and restlessness associated with desire.The mention of a mask implies a facade or a disguise that individuals may use to conceal their true feelings or intentions. Despite any attempt to hide behind a mask, the eyes remain a potent and truthful indicator of the unrest caused by desire. The lines also employ strong and somewhat violent imagery, such as tearing at the soft throat of life and probing the salt blood. This could symbolize the intensity and voraciousness of desire, suggesting that it is a force that seeks to penetrate and consume the essence of life. The use of “instinct tongue” implies a primal and instinctual aspect of desire, suggesting that it is deeply rooted in human nature and driven by basic instincts.

Stanza II

However you bury the shadow in the heart,

Under slabs of concrete and coil of bone.

However you wall the cave-impulse at the mouth,

It will hammer at the sides and break free-

However you bury the shadow in the heart,

Reference to the Context:  These lines are an extract from “The Unrest of Desire”, composed by Keki N. Daruwalla.The lines capture a sense of the inevitability of facing and dealing with one’s inner struggles and darker aspects. Daruwalla’s poetry is known for its rich imagery, social commentary, and a deep exploration of the complexities of the human psyche. 

Explanation :  The poet suggests that individuals attempt to conceal or suppress their darker, subconscious tendencies, symbolized by the “shadow,” which represents the hidden or repressed aspects of the self. The use of concrete and bone imagery could signify the rigid structures people build around their emotions and psyche to hide or protect themselves. Concrete implies something solid and unyielding, while bones represent the fundamental, inner structure of the body. The “cave-impulse” may represent the primal or instinctual aspects of human nature. The act of walling it at the mouth implies an attempt to silence or control these natural impulses. Despite efforts to suppress these inner tendencies, the metaphorical “hammering” suggests that the suppressed elements will persistently seek expression or release. They cannot be contained indefinitely. Repeating first line of this stanza, emphasizes the inevitability of confronting one’s darker aspects. No matter how deeply buried, the shadow will persist in influencing thoughts, emotions, and actions.

Stanza III

You may etch the shadow on the cavern wall

And turn the drives into aborigine art,

Bison and stag loping in charcoal lines,

You can’t erase the burn, It will char your dreams

However You bury the shadow in the heart.             

Reference to the Context: These lines have been taken from the poem “The Unrest of Desire”, composed by Keki N. Daruwalla.this stanza conveys the idea that, even if one tries to express, understand, or transform the darker aspects of the self into art, the inherent impact and influence persist. The burn, symbolic of the subconscious turmoil, continues to affect both waking and dream states, emphasizing the enduring nature of the human shadow.

Explanation :  This stanza suggests the attempt to express or acknowledge the hidden, subconscious aspects, akin to ancient cave paintings where early humans depicted their surroundings and experiences. Here, the poet refers to transforming these inner urges or instincts (drives) into a form of primitive art, perhaps as a way of externalizing and understanding these innate impulses. The use of specific imagery, like bison and stag drawn with charcoal, adds to the primitive and raw nature of the expression. It could also signify the primal or instinctual aspects of human nature. The burn or impact of the shadow extends into the realm of dreams, suggesting that these hidden aspects affect not only waking thoughts but also the subconscious mind during sleep.

Critical Appreciation of the Poem :

“The Unrest of Desire” by Keki N. Daruwalla is a poignant exploration of the complex interplay between desire and the human condition. Daruwalla, known for his evocative and multifaceted poetry, weaves together vivid imagery and profound themes to offer readers a reflection on the restless nature of human desires.

The poem begins with a stark and arresting depiction of desire as a “woman,” an entity that is both alluring and elusive. The choice of personification adds a layer of complexity to the theme, suggesting desire’s mysterious and unpredictable nature. The use of the term “penance” implies a certain cost or sacrifice associated with the pursuit of desire, introducing an element of moral contemplation.Daruwalla employs rich and diverse imagery, drawing on historical, mythological, and cultural references.

The mention of “Babylonian plains” and “the streets of Nineveh” adds a historical and geographical depth to the poem, while references to “Epicurus,” the ancient Greek philosopher, introduce a philosophical dimension. This blending of different elements serves to universalize the theme, emphasizing the timeless and ubiquitous nature of desire.The poet’s language is both lyrical and thought-provoking, with lines such as “Desire speaks its sweet melodious songs” showcasing Daruwalla’s skill in creating aural beauty. Yet, underlying this beauty is a sense of disquiet, as desire is portrayed not just as a seductive force but also as a source of unrest and turmoil.

The title itself, “The Unrest of Desire,” encapsulates the central theme succinctly. Desire, as presented in the poem, is not a passive or tranquil force but a dynamic and unsettling one that fuels human actions and aspirations.

The poem invites readers to contemplate the consequences of yielding to desire, portraying it as both a compelling force and a potential source of inner turmoil. “The Unrest of Desire” stands as a masterful exploration of a universal human experience. Daruwalla’s adept use of imagery, symbolism, and language creates a poem that resonates on multiple levels, prompting readers to reflect on the ceaseless and often tumultuous nature of desire in the human psyche.

“The Unrest of Desire” by Keki N. Daruwalla delves into the multifaceted theme of desire, examining its nature, consequences, and the perpetual unrest it brings to the human experience. Through vivid imagery, historical allusions, and philosophical undertones, Daruwalla crafts a nuanced exploration of the complexities surrounding human desires.

At its core, the poem contemplates the relentless and unsettling nature of desire. The opening lines, “Desire is a woman with a glacial eye,” immediately personify desire, presenting it as a captivating yet enigmatic entity. The use of “glacial eye” suggests a cold and distant allure, emphasizing desire’s simultaneously attractive and elusive qualities. This sets the tone for the exploration of desire as a powerful force that entices but also maintains a certain distance, perpetuating a sense of unattainability.

The poem introduces the theme of sacrifice and penance associated with desire. The line “Every desire of the body demands penance” implies that the pursuit of desire comes with a cost, hinting at the idea that indulging in desires requires a form of atonement or repayment. This notion introduces a moral dimension to the theme, suggesting that desire is not without consequences, and individuals must grapple with the aftermath of yielding to their d

Long Answer Type Questions :

Q. What is the theme of the poem “The Unrest of Desire” ? Or What is the message of the poet Keki N. Daruwalla .

Daruwalla employs rich historical and cultural imagery to deepen the thematic exploration. The title itself encapsulates the central theme — the unrest provoked by desire. Desire is portrayed not as a tranquil or passive force but as a dynamic and tumultuous one that drives individuals to pursue their yearnings, often with consequences that disturb the inner equilibrium. “The Unrest of Desire” intricately weaves together various elements to explore the theme of desire in its manifold dimensions.

Through personification, historical allusions, and philosophical references, Daruwalla invites readers to reflect on the captivating, elusive, and often disquieting nature of human desires, emphasizing the perpetual unrest that accompanies the pursuit of these innate yearnings.Keki N. Daruwalla conveys a timeless message about the compelling yet disquieting nature of human desires.

Through vivid imagery, historical allusions, and philosophical undertones, the poet suggests that desire is an ever-present force, both alluring and elusive, that drives individuals to pursue their yearnings. The poem explores the consequences of succumbing to desire, hinting at the necessity for penance and sacrifice. Ultimately, Daruwalla prompts reflection on the perpetual and tumultuous unrest inherent in the human experience of desire, urging readers to consider the complex interplay between longing, consequence, and the enduring nature of these innate impulses.

Short Answer Type Questions :

Q.1:  What does the poet Keki N. Daruwalla say about natural instincts of desire ?

In “The Unrest of Desire,” Keki N. Daruwalla provides insight into the nature of natural desires, portraying them as a captivating yet complex force. The poet suggests that these desires are akin to a woman with a “glacial eye,” simultaneously alluring and distant. The use of the term “penance” implies that fulfilling natural desires demands a form of atonement or sacrifice, emphasizing the moral dimension of indulging in these innate impulses. Daruwalla’s portrayal hints at the idea that while natural desires are inherently compelling, they come with a price, prompting contemplation on the consequences and the unrest that accompanies the pursuit of these fundamental aspects of human nature.

Q.2 : What is the central idea of the poem “The Unrest of Desire” ?

“The Unrest of Desire” explores the intricate dance between longing and fulfillment, portraying desire as a relentless force that fuels human existence. The poem delves into the paradoxical nature of desire, where the pursuit of satisfaction often intensifies the unrest within. It contemplates the cyclical and insatiable essence of human yearning, suggesting that desire’s perpetual motion is both a source of vitality and a potential source of discontent. The poem captures the complex interplay between aspiration and the ceaseless quest for fulfillment, inviting readers to reflect on the restless nature of desire in the human experience.

Objective Type Questions :

Q.1. Keki N. Daruwalla was born in……………….. .

  1. (a) January 7, 1937  
  2. (b) January 7, 1938  
  3. (c)  January 7, 1939  
  4. (d)   January 7, 1940

Q.2  Daruwalla was a former………………… officer .

  1. (a)IPS  
  2. (b) IFS  
  3. (c)  IAS  
  4. (d)   PCS

Q.3. Daruwalla`s first book is ………………… .

(a)  The Map-Maker  

(b) Winter Poems  

(c) Ancestral Affairs 

(d) Under Orion

Q. 4. How is the unrest of desire revealed ?

  1.  (a) by eyes  
  2. (b) by face   
  3. (c)  by behaviour  
  4. (d)   by dialogue

Q. 5. According to the poet natural instincts should ………………….. .

      (a)   be suppressed  

(b) fulfilled   

(c)  be nipped in the bud  

(d)   developed  

Ans. 1.(a), 2. (a), 3. (d), 4. (a), 5. (b).

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