Stephan Gill : A Poet of Peace and Harmony. By Professor Antaryami Sahu

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Stephan Gill, a poet of international repute, has many collections of poems to his credit. The Dove of Peace, Shrine, and Songs of Harmony are notable collections. The titles and the dedications in these collections signify that the poet's m

In many of these poems, the poet warns us about the horrors of war. War is destructive by nature. Moreover, it cannot solve human problems. War will not be able to solve human problems in the days to come. War can do harm but no good. Those people who believe war is for "winning glory" . . . "boosting Pride" . . . "settling disputes" are really wrong. War is only a fraud and senseless killing. It makes women widows and children orphan. It makes many people maimed and handsome persons handless. It pollutes air and water. The innocents suffer most during and after war. They are deprived of their basic needs, including food, shelter, sanitation and medicine. The places of worship are endangered. The poet says that the whole world will be destroyed completely, if a third world war breaks out. The world is in the teeth of destruction because of the nuclear weapons. In the words of the poet the people who fought in the war condemn it. The poet echoes the words of those people when he says: "war chokes the joy of life/ victor and loser suffer/ it kills man's hope/ bringing destruction to all.@ Thus the poet hates and condemns war. By this condemnation he suggests that he hopes and aspires for a war?free world where peace and harmony reside hand in hand.
Some of the poems in these collections reveal that politicians, leaders and rulers are damaging world peace and social harmony. They talk of peace but possess nuclear-powered marines, missiles and other lethal weapons. They also make a lot of promises which they don't
keep. These rulers, leaders and politicians give statements against drugs but they don't do anything for banning the use of drugs. They also can't see the danger ahead and can't hear the distressing cries of the innocent though they have good eyes and ears. In addition to these rulers, leaders, politicians, police are also responsible for damaging peace and harmony. Often police fail to identify criminals, and sometimes they help criminals escape. Sometimes they let the innocent suffer for the crimes committed by others. The drug lords are also responsible for damaging peace and harmony. The poet also says that terrorism which the present day world is facing is a major factor which endangers world peace and social harmony. In the words of the poet, "terrorists profess / their targets are not innocents / yet they engineer sneaky devices/ to awaken the dogs of gloom.@ They talk of harmony /but plan genocide. According to the poet, we must find out the root causes for which darkness is prevailing in the world and eliminate them. The poet also says that we should subdue the progenitors of darkness for the betterment of mankind.
One of the major causes for the disturbance of world peace and social harmony at present is religious fanaticism. According to the poet "It breeds / the daughters of fire / storm / sword and wound" and "It leads / the adders of dread / destruction/ disdain and distaste.@ Again in the words of the poet "the night of racial prejudice / chews peace" and "In the sea of politics/ harmony tosses on the wild waves / trapped in rays of racism." We must fight against racism and bigotry for peace and harmony in the world. The obvious message is that people of different religions or cultures are one-- they are all humans. The poet says "every branch of humankind / stems from the same tree.@ By this he means that the people of different cultures or religions are the branches of the same tree, thus their origin is the same. The poet says that his poetry "wants to assemble flowers of all hues / into a single bouquet.@ Here he means that people of different religions or cultures are the flowers of different colours. The bouquet here refers to the world. Here the poet's desire is clear. He wants people of different religions and cultures to live in harmony to preserve the beauty of the world.
Patriotism and nationalism are two good qualities. They are essential for the development of all nations. They are also not out side humanism. But sometimes in the name of patriotism and nationalism the peace of the world is hampered. The poet is against these sorts of patriotism and nationalism.
In several poems, the poet prays God for the betterment of mankind. He prays God to give wisdom to humans so that they are able to save the world from destruction. He also prays Him to bless children, the future of mankind. He says, "Far from evil and greed/ let them grow/ as soldiers of peace.@ The poet also prays Him to provide him the divine light so that he will be able to write better poems through which he can guide mankind for a better future. In some of the poems the poet expresses his desire for a war?free world directly and forcefully. The poet says, "I despise evil/ war greed/ social commands/ and the relief of a home." He also says "I aim to lead/ an epoch of peace." Modern men are deprived of peace and harmony because of war, hatred, illusions, ignorance, injustice, bigotry, lust, despair, pollution, and starvation. The poet suggests his readers to lead a life of friendship, corporation, help, mercy and hope, so that there is peace in the world. The poet also says that all the problems such as pollution, ecology, diseases, war, and bigotry which humanity is facing cannot be solved by one nation. All the nations of the world should fight together against these problems. According to the poet the United Nations is one of the major forces which can fight against these problems and will be able to eliminate these scars from the world and be able to establish peace and harmony.
The poet is full of love and praise for Canada, the country where he is living. According to him "Canada is a United Nations in microcosm." This is a united country with diversity. People of different cultures and religions live with peace and harmony in this country. There are corporation and coexistence between the minorities and the majority in this country. The poet wants that the
people of other countries of the world to follow Canada. This can help those countries to achieve peace. The poet has also complete faith in democracy as a form of government. It teaches us the quality of tolerance. With this form of government in all countries, the world would become a better place with abundant peace and harmony.
The poet is full of love and admiration for Martin Luther King. According to the poet, King was really a great man. He worked hard for the betterment of mankind. The poet says King "was among those/ who are born once in decades" and "He laboured in the narrow alleys/ of the bumpy orbits of bigotries/ to raise a stage/ for the goddess of peace/ to dance." The poet's desire is that there should be more Kings in the world and those Kings can work for peace and prosperity of mankind.
In these collections, there are poems on a heroine addict, abandoned child, an amputee and so on. The poet identifies himself with them and feel their pain. He also wants us to feel and understand their pain and treat them with sympathy to console their hearts. This will also lead mankind towards peace and harmony. The poet says "I consider myself a citizen of the world, a trait that is obvious from my poems." The poet wants us to feel like him. If we feel like the poet, we will be free from all sorts of narrow?mindedness and can contribute towards peace and harmony of the world.
Antaryami Sahu is a lecturer in English at Mahatma Gandhi Degree College
Bhukta,Bargarh, in Orissa, India. He writes also poetry and critical articles.

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