Onto the Next Millennium by Shahryar Rashed: Summary & Analysis

Read our complete notes below on the poem, “Onto the Next Millennium”, written by Shehryar Rashed. Our notes cover Onto the Next Millennium summary, themes, and analysis.

Onto the Next Millennium: The Poem

Now that primates have been photographed

(nay photocopied)

now that birds have been preserved

(nay formatted)

and dinosaurs classified and disliked

(nay re-animated)

now that the edges of rampant civilization

have been measured and outer space rubbled

seas embittered with wrecks forests cut and dried

(into a thousand tables)

rivers rendered slow and sullen

(by dissection and dams)

now that cities are shivering

wrapped in woolens of pollution

(nay dying)

and now that morals have gone faint

enveloped in holy books faint

(nay discarded)

we’re set to enter the next millennium

clothed in hate drenched in blood eyes

blind ears clogged nose in the air aware

of race and creed breeding like rats red

brown black and blue dipped in white

without fear of ever turning back.

Onto the Next Millennium Introduction:

The poem ‘On to the Next Millennium’ is a mirror to the man of twenty-first century. The poet tells us that the man of this century has overcome every problem and issue but he has forgot humanity. This man is bringing an end to every object of nature. He is trying to temper with the natural laws of nature and in this whole process, he is shutting the doors of humanity as well. The poem is a very harsh criticism on mankind. The poet is mocking us that we are entering in to the new millennium with all the follies and vices of last current millennium and the irony of ironies is that we are not ashamed of our deeds. As Ghalib has rightly put:

KaaBey Kis Munh Se Jaogey Ghalib,

Sharam Tum Ko Magar Nahi Ati.

Onto the Next Millennium Summary:

The first stanza (line1-6) deals with all the extra ordinary achievements of mankind which humans always expound in a boastful way. In the first line, the poet says that now we human beings have become successful in creating the exact carbon copies of every object of nature. Now that we have exactly made the same thing which exist in nature through scientific laboratories so we have do not appreciate the natural course of life. He then says that now we have also preserved the birds which are becoming extinct. He is of the view that humans have preserved those birds with so many chemical processes, with cameras and we see them as they are the creatures of this era. He then says that even the dinosaurs are preserved in the videos, they are given new life in animated movies and 3d effects. Shahryar Rashid gives a very brief view of the success mankind has achieved with technological advancements as mankind has revived everything which is gone by.

In the second stanza (line 7-12), the poets says that mankind has even measured the exact number of ,day by day, increasing population which in deed is  a great success. He calls this increasing civilization an uncontrollable and untamable civilization. He, by detailing this, tries to give the point that human beings have gone to such meticulous detailed achievement which was once only a fancy. He in the same line says that not only the population has been measured but the outer space has also been exploited and used through air space technology and man is trying to accomplish its jurisdiction over the space as well. Human beings for the sake of advancement and other selfish benefits have even ruined sees. They have contaminated the waters of seas by throwing the wastes of different chemical processes into these waters making them extremely poisonous for the human beings. This modern man, in the greed of exploring more and more, has perished not only the forests by cutting the trees but has also finished the wild life associated with these forests. These forests which are the greatest source of favorable weather have been cut down and now human beings are suffering from less rain fall. He says that these forests can be seen in shape of tables and chairs lying in every house. He laments over such acts of human being who has damaged the natural flow of this earth. This modern man, according to the poet, has also turned the flow of the seas by making different dams etc. which are making the life of human beings miserable.

In third stanza (line 13-18), the poet taunts human beings very harshly and clearly comes the very point of his discussion of the poem. He says that human has gone to such extreme levels of advancements that everything that we see is wrapped in the pollution emitted by different factories. He says that human has become an easy go person and wants luxuries in life at any cost even at the cost of pollution which in turn will take their lives. He is mocking the human beings that they do not give any notice to this increase in pollution because they are being facilitated by the factories and everything is available to them via one touch option.  He then taunts that human beings, in the race of getting more and more advanced and equipped with modern technologies has forgotten the morals of humanity. He is of the opinion that now money has become the religion of mankind and the scriptures and other religious books are outdated for them. These holy books are wrapped in the holy clothes somewhere away so that they can only see them. He is of the opinion that humans have no interest in morality and faith because now their faith is in material objects.

In the last stanza (line 19-24), the poet says that now we are to enter in to the new millennium. We need to move ahead with the new vows of making the life better and this world a better place to live in. but instead enter with hate and being thirsty for the blood of fellow human beings because we want to win the race and as it said ‘all is fair in love and war,’ so this race is a war and we want to win at any cost be at the cost of others` life. He thinks that now we human beings are in this race in such a way as rats and cats are in enmity. He thinks that we all human beings, living in different regions of this world belonging to different casts and race have worn one dress of white color- hate. He in the very last line mocks human beings that these humans have forgotten that are to go back to Creator of this world and over there how will they justify their deeds because they have come so far away from the threads of humanity.

Onto the Next Millennium Themes:

Pessimism:

The very first theme of this poem is pessimism. The poet is very pessimistic in depicting the conditions of human beings.  But he is justified because what he depicts is very true. The picture of modern man is very bleak and gloomy because his deeds are unworthy and dangerous for humanity. He is tone is even harsh because he is lamenting the situation of human beings who are getting ruined by their own efforts.

Modernism:

The second theme of this poem is modernism. The poet seem to be against this wave of modernism because in the wake of getting modern, humans have forgotten the very basic foundation of humanity. The poet thinks that this wave of modernism has made human beings robots; they only strive for money and they their humanity is no more alive.

Materialism:

The third theme of this poem is materialism. The poet thinks that man has become a materialist animal. His every move is motivated by material advantage and where there is no material benefit, he bothers not to go there. The poet is lamenting over the being materialist situation of human beings because this has devoid human beings of emotion, feeling and love which are the basic tenants of humanity.

Onto the Next Millennium Analysis:

  • The poem deals the major issue of identity crises. The poet is of the opinion that this modernism which, in fact is a new kind of barbarism, has destroyed everything. He thinks that human needs humanity more than these material things but the attraction and charm of these things have gripped the humans of this era in such a way that their values and norms are nowhere to be found. For getting successful in the race of this modern, human beings have forgotten their real identity and now they live in meaninglessness because they are dying for the worldly things which are all mortal. He points out that in this race of getting modern, humans have left the essence of this life which is in spiritual value. The identity of being human is lost and that is the reason that modern man fights for material object even with his brother.
  • The repetition of word ‘nay’ in the first and third stanza shows that the condition of human beings is more than worse and that the poet is unable to find the suitable words for depiction. The word nay is used when the person tries to replace the previous used word with more accurate word. In this poem we see that the poet has tried to use the accurate words but the phenomenon behind the words tell more than what is depicted in the poem.

To sum up the poem, the lesson of this poem is very straight that humanity should never be lost and we must live according to our ideals of religion and true self.