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Poetry: Nobel link with Calcutta - Pachauri's verses published in 1991

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By ROMILA SAHA in Calcutta
  • Published 13.10.07

Calcutta, Oct. 13: Rajendra Pachauri’s poetic side might not be known to all.

The chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), this year’s joint winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace, Pachauri is also a poet who, between working for the environment, finds time to brush up on Kipling and Wordsworth.

In 1991, Writer’s Workshop, a publishing house owned by scholar P. Lal in the city, brought out a collection of poems co-authored by Pachauri and his daughter, Rashmi Pachauri-Rajan.

The collection was titled Moods and Musings with the superscript, A First Book of Verse.

Pachauri’s publisher seemed unmoved by the author’s rise to fame: “We published him because he showed merit. Who would have asked to know about his poetry were he not famous today?”

Lal describes the poems as “lyrical, with a marvellous sense of rhythm and an idealistic frame of values”.

The collection of 70 poems — divided into categories like religion, confusion, love and ambition — comes for Rs 150, but it is doubt- ful whether it sold many copies.

Bound in cloth, like all Writer’s Workshop publications, the book was sourced from a tiny outlet near the publisher’s house in Lake Gardens.

Idealism is the dominant theme of the collection. In Attempt at Revival, Pachauri writes: “I have to find a plain my own/One higher than before/To no longer just stay afloat/One higher than before.”

City Locals is about a journey by local train where he says: “A station, now another jerk/More people, pushes, manners shirked.”

“My father had been writing poetry for years,” Rashmi recalls. “As I too had been writing, we decided to publish a selection jointly.”

It was not a commercial venture, and Rashmi does not remember the number of copies sold.