SETHNA, K.D.(AMAL KIRAN)
Amal Kiran (K.D. Sethna is a polymath knowing many arts and sciences. But he stands tall above everyone as a literary critic, particularly English poetry. The Poetic Genius of Sri Aurobindo and Sri Aurobindo - the Poet are two of his significant books dealing with the Master's poetry.
Near to us is the smile of Apollo flashed by Amal Kiran whether in his study, or on a hospital bed or at the Samadhi. Near to us is the Ananda Yogin of Aurobindonian Yoga, one who laughs away pain, disabilities and disappointments and shows us how to work ceaselessly and to work hard. He may be trussed up in a sick bed after multiple fractures but the Greek god of sunlight, poetry and prophecy is the reality in the room. For, he would draw our attention to the file series spread out before him: “Issues of the Mother India for another six months are ready here, planned, edited.” Near to us is the young man from Bombay who was drawn to Pondicherry and surrendered to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. The surrender may not have been complete at that time, but the acceptance by the Gurus was total. The Mother wrote to Amal Kiran on 24.4.39: “…remain there (Bombay) until the necessity of being here (Pondicherry) will become so imperative that all else will completely lose all value for you. My answer now is exactly the same. I want only to assure you that we are not abandoning you and that you will always have our help and protection.” So, like the bird circling around and then returning to the mast of the ship sailing in the high seas, K. D. Sethna returned to Pondicherry and has remained there for half a century. Therefore near to us is the poet who was nurtured by Sri Aurobindo, who could exchange banter with the Master and coax him to comment on his own Savitri. But then, far away lies the immense scholarship of K. D. Sethna. Is it the same poet skating on the uncertain slopes of imagination in ‘Nocturne’ and ‘Green Tiger’ who also wrestles hard with historiography in Karpasa in Prehistoric India? The literary critic who uses Holmesian finesse in indentifying the Youth, the Dark Lady and the Rival Poet in Shakespeare’s Sonnets? The researcher who coerces the available archaeological evidence to yield the truth about the origin of the Aryans?