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The Dance of the Peacock
An Indo/English Poetry Anthology

bio pic - Jha
Editor - Dr. Vivekanand Jha

Dr. Vivekanand Jha is a translator, editor and award winning poet. He has a diploma in Electronics and Communication Engineering, Certificate in Computer Hardware and Networking, MA and Ph. D in English. He is a contributing poet to Wavelengths – 2011 Savant Anthology of Poetry (USA) which has won first place in the 2011 London Book Festival. He receive 3rd place winner for the poem “Hands Heave to Harm and Hamper” conducted by Beginners®, a documentary, graphic, nonfiction book series (USA). He is the author of five books of poetry. He has also authored one critical book on the poetry of Jayanta Mahapatra and edited nine critical anthologies on English Literature. His works have been published in more than ninety magazines round the world. Moreover his poems have been published in more than twenty poetry anthologies. He has more than twenty research and critical articles published in various national and international anthologies and referred journals. He is son of noted professor, poet and award winning translator Dr. Rajanand Jha (Crowned with Sahitya Akademi Award, New Delhi).

Website: http://poetvjha.wordpress.com

Available on Amazon.com
around the world or other well known e-stores.
520 pages
6 X 9 inches


The Dance of the Peacock is an imaginatively chosen title for this book showcasing contemporary Indian poetry, for the beautiful peacock is India’s national bird and its dance is a spectacular display.

This anthology, focused as it is on poetry in English by Indians and diasporic Indians, is also a celebration of diversity. The poets whose work is included, represent many diversities: they hail from the many different states of India and have different mother tongues, a fact that also shapes the different ‘Indian Englishes’ that they employ; and the poets of the diaspora are globally spread, with most residing in the United Kingdom, United States and Canada. The 151 poets range in age from 15 to 92, and there is an eclectic mix of poetry from both male and female writers. Another egalitarian feature of this anthology is the common platform that it offers its contributors: well-known and established poets share its pages with newer, unknown or neglected names.

Having edited such landmark anthologies as The Redbeck Anthology of British South Asian Poetry (Redbeck Press) and Masala: Poems from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka (Macmillan), I am only too aware of the complexities posed by the term ‘representative’ and the tough editorial decisions that must be made with regard to what to include and what to omit. The Dance of the Peacock will dissatisfy some readers who have preconceived ideas about what is Indian poetry in English and who are the poets who should be deemed eligible for inclusion. Indian poets who write in English now constitute an ever increasing galaxy of talent and there will inevitably be stellar poets who have been missed. However, poetry is subjective and not everyone will agree with the editor’s choice of poems. But the reader who approaches this publication with a receptive mind will find much to appreciate. This anthology is a brave attempt to capture something of the Indian English global poetry scene at this moment in time. It does not pretend to be a comprehensive collection; rather it is a genuine and rewarding sampler for the reader who would like an introduction to its riches.

The Dance of the Peacock is a labour of love on the part of its editor Vivekanand Jha, but also of its publisher Hidden Brook Press of Canada and of its 151 contributors in various parts of the world. The Indian and Canadian co-operation that it represents is itself a testimony to the international presence and the vibrant range of modern Indian poetry in English. I congratulate the publisher for devoted effort and my fellow-poets for their contributions.

Dr. Debjani Chatterjee, MBE
Sheffield, UK


The anthology in your hands is the result of my attempt, as editor, to salvage the legacy, tradition and pride of English poetry of India. We have profound national, emotional, natural, spiritual and physical affiliations with the title of the anthology, The Dance of the Peacock. One of the interesting facts about this anthology is that the poets featured herein are from all walks and talks of life. This book showcases a homogenous amalgamation of legendary figures, the established and promising poets. Even though the majority of them now stand on the verge of their literary career they remain ignored despite the large number of qualitative volumes of poetry to their credit. I can only hope that this collection will help to shine light on their work.

Besides poets from the milieu of English language and literature, we have the poems of doctors, engineers, diplomats, bureaucrats, politicians, film makers, management professionals, scientists, bank employees, accountants, journalists and many more who carve out some time in their tight schedule crowded with their occupations for livelihood. With their poems they breathe a sigh of relief from the onslaught of day to day drudgery.

There has been a tremendous response to the call for submission of this anthology. After cudgeling the brain for six months a list of 151 poets has now come to the surface. As usual the work of some good poets could not be accommodated due to theme and size restrictions of the book. This in itself is a testimonial to the fact that the final selection of poems featured here is accomplished solely on merit and aptitude of the poets.

The final decision on the title, subtitle and issues of putting the poets in order has been decided after sharing opinions with all the 151 contributing poets. This collection represents some of the most leading poets of Indian origin right from 15 years old to 92. In the end the decision was to position the poems in alphabetical order by author’s first name, without dividing them under any headings. The support from contributors on these matters was valuable to me.

It can’t be claimed that this anthology is all inclusive and showcases all the leading Indian poets writing in English. If one would compare this with those that have been compiled and edited in the past, one would certainly find some of the poets in the limelight are missing their representations in this anthology. This reveals two palpable facts pertaining to Indian English Poetry. On the one hand it authenticates an expanding trajectory of contemporary Indian English Poetry; on the other it tells a tale of previous anthologies embodying the saying, the same wine inside the bottles of different labels.

In the light of these specifics, this anthology is a book that serves as a podium to share, explore and discover hidden talents in the cerebrum of the contemporary Indian English poets and their poetry. Thus this compilation of poems will give a rich variety and freshness to poetry lovers. I don’t know how others will receive this anthology, which is now left to the ravages of time, but to me it is a dream come true though, I admit, am a mere instrument of representing to a galaxy of coveted and legendary poets in the worldwide panorama of Indian English poetry.

To be brief, I would like to convey my sincere appreciation and obligation to all the contributors for sending their worthwhile poems for this epoch anthology. I convey my regards and gratitude to Dr Debjani Chatterjee for writing pithy but all pervasive foreword for this anthology. I convey my heartfelt thanks to fellow poets and authors who indefatigably helped in disseminating the call for submissions regarding this anthology. I am, no less, indebted and obliged to the publisher of Hidden Brook Press, Richard M. Grove, whose warranted suggestions and ongoing help made this anthology possible and promising. Finally, let us hope that this anthology would be a new mile stone in the chronicle of Indian English poetry and cater to the expectations of readers and contributors alike.

Vivekanand Jha

Reviews on line at:





Comments From Individuals:


Dr.Vivekananda Jha's book is an outstanding effort to cull the flowers blooming in diverse gardens for making a fabulous garland . 

Dr. Ratan Bhattacharjee 

Dr. Vivekanand Jha deserves encomiums for studding the jewels of poems in the necklace of the anthology, 'The Dance of the Peacock'. The anthology generates interest in the minds of readers as it represents India. As a contributor and lover of poetry, I congratulate Dr. Vivekanand Jha on his success in bringing out the anthology. Rob Harle has rightly reviewed it.

Dr. Katta Rajamouly 

Hats off to Dr. Vivkanand Jha for bringing out such a magnificent collection, rich in quantity and quality! It is as beautiful as the peacock is! One can sense the beauty of India through these poems. Thanks to Dr. Rob Harle for the superb review! 

Prof. Dr. K. V. Dominic

Vivacity of imagination shoos away a doggerel.Writing a good poetry is no mean job ,and only a gift of imagination coupled with an extra-ordinary literary bent of mind could bring out an anthology of this sort.Rob Harle is simply outstanding. 

Sanju Das

After reading this review I am now desperate to get my hands on the anthology. I feel like a pin in the haystack but a pin nevertheless...to imagine that I am hard to find among people of such caliber yet having a separate entity as a poet. Thanks to everybody involved in bringing out the anthology and to you Rob Harle for being so kind in your review. 

Sreelatha Chakravarty

Dr. Vivekanand Jha has really done wonders for us!This volume generates meaning out of dry and prosaic terrains of life’s daily acts where imagination defamiliarises a familiar subject and conjures up more mysteries.I'm glad to see my name in the anthology among the luminaries who honed my skills.Wishes, 

Jaydeep Sarangi

All I can say is "Gosh!"  This is a massive and splendid compilation




A Review:


From the moment you open this collection you can see how wonderful the title, The Dance of the Peacock, fits this beautiful poetry collection. Just as a peacock’s feathers blend with all different colors, each of the 151 poets included in this anthology brings something diverse and exciting to the collection. As Editor Dr. Vivekanand Jha writes in the introduction, “the collection represents some of the most leading poets of Indian origin… from 15 years old to 92… from doctors, engineers, film makers, bank employees…” At a length of 518 pages, the collection may seem daunting at first glance, but as you flip through pages and poets, you find yourself dancing in a world as wonderful as the title suggests.


With an anthology of this size, it would be impossible to acknowledge every single poet, but to give you samplings of what to expect inside, we can look at a few poems in particular, which have stuck with me even after finishing the collection. First, Amol Redij’s “Word(l)y Mess” (42) is a fantastic play on grammar function. Reddij writes:


“Question mark finally defeated

His dear fellow exclamation Mark.

Spilling tornados of semicolons,

and firing rounds of commas.”


Reddij’s use of metaphor here is fresh and playful, yet the poem in its entirety seems to be making a comment on how grammar and language, or lack there of, are being used in today’s society.


The reader is certainly not at a loss for form variation within The Dance of the Peacock. Lakshmi Priya’s “Wet Streaks Damp” (229) is a perfect example of this. Priya writes:


“yellow shade


through velvet strings

of day light GLOW


                                                          sun-tan baths



kites and birds


of narrowed beauties

soaked up


in            open air breaths


of wanton ecstasy”


Apart from the freedom of form displayed through out “Wet Streaks Damp,” the poem’s real beauty lies in the amazing images Priya creates. When you read it, you can feel the sting of “spicy” and the lightness of “the kites and birds” is reflected in the effective use of spacing.


Finally, we come to “Destiny” (261) by title contributor Mona Dash. One of the great things about this collection is that with its vast themes and subject matter readers can find a poem or rather many poems in which they feel a strong connection to. Dash writes:


“Seeing others do

I too rushed to fill my Life

Families, jobs, marriages, babies

Gifts given to all.


Not knowing that

A one legged man walked on graves

Ghosts cackled in trees

White geese turned red

On the day I was born.”


In this poem, the reader is confronted with a surprising change between these two stanzas. While usually the association of “Families” or “marriages” is a happy one, in the case of “Destiny,” Dash presents a stark contrast, but these dark images are still hauntingly beautiful.


I could name many, many other brilliant poems from the collection, but I will save them for when you open up the collection yourself. With The Dance of the Peacock, Dr. Vivekanand Jha has pieced together a collection of poetry that anyone can pick up and get lost in.



Review by Caren White


Caren Starry White is a Creative Writing professor at London Metropolitan University. Her poetry has been published in various journals, such as Cutaway Magazine and In Stereo Press. For more reviews and poems, visit her site: www.carenstarry.com.


A Book Review:

by Rob Harle


An Anthology of English Poetry from India

This anthology is a wonderful smorgasbord for poetry lovers. Delicious morsels tempt the reader on every page. Regardless of personal taste you'll find plenty to satisfy your appetite. One hundred and fifty poets are represented in this extensive anthology which weighs in at well over five hundred pages.

Dance of The Peacock does not claim to be a comprehensive collection, “rather it is a genuine and rewarding sampler for the reader who would like an introduction to its riches.” (p. xv) I do not envy Vivekanand Jha’s Herculean task as editor of this important addition to the literature of Indian, and in turn, global literature. As Dr. Chatterjee notes in the Foreword, “This anthology is a brave attempt to capture something of the Indian English global poetry scene...” (p. xv)

Much to his credit he has included well known established poets alongside little known or neglected ones to create a book that is to my mind truly representative of Indian English poetry both in style and subject matter. Poets selected come from all corners of the Indian diaspora, many now living in the UK, Canada and the USA.

The evocative title was chosen because of the deep significance and connection of the peacock with Indian culture, and of course the peacock is the national bird of India. The spectacular display of the peacock is also a subtle metaphor referring to the dazzling variety and ‘display’ of poetry under the delightful cover. The book has a Foreword, Introduction, List of Authors followed by the poems themselves, these are then followed by Acknowledgements, Editor’s Bio. and Author Bios.

This is a brief general review of the publication, not a critical literary review of the poems per se. The latter would be nigh impossible given the hundreds of different poems presented. However, having said that, the literary quality of the poetry is generally excellent. I find a somewhat gentle and soft tone pervades much Indian poetry even when the subject matter involved is quite brutal.

Shaikh’s poem - Kamathipura (p. 7) chilled me to the bone on both first and subsequent readings. It deals with the subjugation of women, accidental incest and the seedy side of life – a few lines:

Fair girl! He orders, a fair girl he will have,
Stumbles into the room, three by four,
The paint wearing down the walls,
And one side of the ply-board, he hears
Thumps from the bitter side,
The room smells of stale perfume,
Of sperm, of sweat of healthy thighs.

Clearly in a volume of such numbers I can only give a few examples to ‘tempt’ the prospective reader.

Sharma’s poem – A Beach Dawn (pp. 437) also includes a young maiden but in very different circumstances, she experiences the dawn breaking on the beach:

From the nearby fisherman’s village,
A flower garland in her black hair
Kohl-lined eyes darting here-n-there,
Like a frightened rabbit crossing a road,
The dawn breaks light and crimson,
Over the silent seascape.

The wonderful imagery and subtle use of metaphor is evident in Abhay K’s poem – Delhi, here’s the entire poem:

My smell
my nakedness
hordes of human flesh
from faraway lands
up on the hill
the feast of eagles-

Wonderful lines such as in Sarangi’s poem - My Dream express an almost bitter-sweet desire to recognize young and marginalized individuals, again a few lines:

I can arrange the dreams
Of Indian youth
In indigenous ink,
A narrative that lay bare to readers.
I don't know what you feel
And what makes you weep.
I only reconstruct your stories
And flimsy history.

The Dance of the Peacock will not only give hours of reading pleasure but also serve as an important reference work for contemporary Indian English poetry. The “indigenous ink” of this volume will stay with you for a long time to come. Highly recommended!



Table of Contents

Foreword – p. xiv
Introduction – p. xvi

List of Authors:

A. J. Thomas – p. 1
Abhay K. – p. 5
Aftab Yusuf Shaikh – p. 7
Aju Mukhopadhyay – p. 9
Akhil Katyal – p. 12
Akshat Sharma – p. 14
Allabhya Ghosh – p. 18
Amalan Stanley V – p. 20
Amarendra Khatua – p. 23
Amarendra Kumar – p. 27
Ambika Ananth – p. 31
Ami Kaye – p. 37
Amol Redij – p. 41
Ananya S. Guha – p. 43
Anita Nair – p. 46
Anju Makhija – p. 49
Anna Sujatha Mathai – p. 53
Aparna Kaji Shah – p. 58
Arbind Kumar Choudhary – p. 61
Archna Sahni – p. 64
Arman Najmi – p. 67
Arundhathi Subramaniam – p. 71
Asha Viswas – p. 76
Ashoka Sen – p. 78
Ashoke Bhattacherjee – p. 82
Asoke Chakravarty – p. 85
Bibhu Padhi – p. 90
Binod Mishra – p. 95
Bipin Patsani – p. 97
Bishnupada Ray – p. 99
C. D. Norman – p. 102
C. L. Khatri – p. 107
Chandini Santosh – p. 110
Chandra Shekhar Dubey – p. 112
Charu Sheel Singh – p. 115
D. C. Chambial – p. 118
Debjani Chatterjee – p. 123
Deepak Thakur – p. 128
Devashish Makhija – p. 132
Durlabh Singh – p. 136
Geetashree Chatterjee – p. 139
Gopa Nayak – p. 143
Gopal Lahiri – p. 146
Gopikrishnan Kottoor – p. 150
H. K. Kaul – p. 156
Harish Kumar Thakur – p. 159
Hazara Singh – p. 162
Hiranya Aditi – p. 166
Jayanta Mahapatra – p. 168
Jaydeep Sarangi – p. 175
Keki N. Daruwalla – p. 178
K. Pankajam – p. 179
K. Satchidanandan – p. 181
K. Srilata – p. 190
K. V. Dominic – p. 193
K. V. Raghupathi – p. 196
Kanwar Dinesh Singh – p. 200
Karan Singh – p. 203
Katta Rajamouly – p. 207
Kavita Jindal – p. 211
Khurshid Alam – p. 216
K. K. Srivastava – p. 217
Krithika Raghavan – p. 219
Kulbhushan Kushal – p. 220
Kumarendra Mallick – p. 225
Lakshmi Priya – p. 227
Lalita Noronha – p. 231
M. V. Sathyanarayana – p. 234
Malay Roy Choudhury – p. 237
Mani Rao – p. 240
Menka Shivdasani – p. 245
Michelle Cahill – p. 250
Mihir Chitre – p. 254
Mohineet Kaur Boparai – p. 257
Mona Dash – p. 260
Monika Pant – p. 262
Mukta Sambrani – p. 264
Mustansir Dalvi – p. 267
Naina Dey – p. 270
Nandini Sahu – p. 273
Nikesh Murali – p. 275
Nuggehalli Pankaja – p. 277
O. P. Arora – p. 283
P. C. K. Prem – p. 286
P. K. Joy – p. 290
P. K. N. Panicker – p. 292
Pashupati Jha – p. 295
Poornima Laxmeshwar – p. 300
Prabhanjan K. Mishra – p. 302
Prabhat K. Singh – p. 305
Prahlad Singh Shekhawat – p. 309
Pramila Venkateswaran – p. 312
Prathap Kamath – p. 315
Pravat Kumar Padhy – p. 318
Preeta Chandran – p. 321
Priscila Uppal – p. 324
Pritha Kejriwal – p. 326
Puneet Aggarwal – p. 329
R. C. Shukla – p. 331
R. J. Kalpana – p. 334
Ram Krishna Singh – p. 337
R. Raj Rao – p. 340
Raja Nand Jha – p. 343
Rajashree Anand – p. 347
Ramendra Kumar – p. 350
Ranu Uniyal – p. 353
Ravi Shankar – p. 355
Rizvana Parveen – p. 359
Romi Jain – p. 362
Rudra Kinshuk – p. 364
Ruth Vanita – p. 365
Samartha Vashishtha – p. 367
Sarada Purna Sonty – p. 370
Satish Verma – p. 372
Seema Aarella – p. 374
Semeen Ali – p. 377
Shamsud Ahmed – p. 379
Shanta Acharya – p. 381
Sharad Chandra – p. 386
Shefali Shah Choksi – p. 388
Shloka Shankar – p. 391
Shobhana Kumar – p. 394
Sindhu Rajasekaran – p. 397
Smita Agarwal – p. 400
Smitha Sehgal – p. 406
Sneha Subramanian Kanta – p. 410
Sonjoy Dutta-Roy – p. 412
Sonnet Mondal – p. 415
Soumyen Maitra – p. 418
Sreelatha Chakravarty – p. 421
Stephen Gill – p. 424
Subhash Misra – p. 432
Sukrita Paul Kumar – p. 434
Sunil Sharma – p. 437
Sunita Jain – p. 439
Syed Faizan – p. 443
T. Vasudeva Reddy – p. 446
Tejdeep Kaur Menon – p. 449
Usha Akella – p. 453
Usha Kishore – p. 456
V. V. B. Rama Rao – p. 461
Vandana Kumari Jena – p. 463
Vasuprada Kartic – p. 466
Vibha Batra – p. 470
Vihang A. Naik – p. 473
Vinay Capila – p. 475
Vinita Agrawal – p. 477
Vitasta Raina – p. 479
Vivek Narayanan – p. 483
Vivekanand Jha – p. 487
Yasmin Sawhney – p. 495

Acknowledgement – p. 498
Editor’s Bio – p. 500
Contributors Bios – p. 500 - 518