Kolkata: He has been a lawyer, a politician, and now the governor of West Bengal, but Keshari Nath Tripathi on Sunday confessed having a long-time lover - poetry.
"I have a confession to make, since my student life, I have a lover - its poetry. No matter how much I have ignored her, she has never deserted me," the veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader said at the launch of "Sanchaita" - a compilation of six of his books.
Published by Vachan Publishers, Sanchaita is a compilation of six compendium of his Hindi poems published under the titles "Manonukriti", "Aayu Pankh", "Chirantan", "Unmukta", "Maun Aur Shoonya" and "Nirmal Dohey".
The compilation has been dedicated to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee - also a well-known poet.
"I believe poetry comes to you naturally, spontaneously. You don't have to make efforts for it. That's why even being engrossed in a charmless profession like law, I could find out time for my beloved. During breaks, I would often jot down my thoughts on some blank papers or behind the court files," said Tripathi, who practised for long at the Allahabad High Court.
"Impressed by one of my writings, one day a man came to me enquiring if I have written some more. I laughed at him for finding my poetry impressive but I did give him several of the papers on which I had jotted some lines," said Tripathi, who was elected to the Uttar Pradesh assembly multiple times and also served as its Speaker thrice.
"To my utter surprise, some days later he came out with a compilation of my poetry which I had described as nothing but trash," said Tripathi about his first book "Manonukriti".
Published first in 1999, "Manonukriti" has now been translated into several languages including in English as "The Images" and in Bengali, where it was christened "Kabya Bithika".
"After my first two books were published, I realised that I needed to devote some more time to my beloved. But I could not devote as much time as I should have but my love story with poetry has continued," added Tripathi.
Noted Hindi critic Surya Prasad Dikshit, who released "Sanchaita" hailed Tripathi for ushering in positivity in Hindi poetry.
"For quite some time Hindi poetry has been only about negativity, outrage against the system and pessimism. But Tripathi's poetry are like a breath of fresh air injecting much needed optimism," said Dikshit.
"At a time when the culture of the country is being threatened by western influences, poetry by people like Tripathi which are full of nationalism and deep rooted to our rich culture and tradition, are the need of the hour," he added.
On the occasion, Tripathi recited several of his poems including one of his favourite - "Bihaan" (dawn).