Posts Tagged ‘Hindi poetry’

Saturday Poem: तोड़ती पत्‍थर by Suryakant Tripathi ‘Nirala’

In Poetry on November 7, 2009 at 5:26 pm

Back to blogging after a prolonged hiatus. A combination of summer break, travels, conferences and the ensuing “catching-up” kept me away.

Today a well-known poem by a well-known poet. I grew up listening to anecdotes about Nirala and his antics in Allahabad from my father who studied there. A recurrent aspect was his excessive random altruism, especially remarkable given that he himself was supposedly penniless and bore a famously mercurial temperament. How many of these fables are true, I don’t know. But the dearth of serious biographical research and writing in India is a grouse for another time.

“तोड़ती पत्‍थर” and Nirala were almost always mentioned in the same breath. Its not hard to see why. Its perhaps his most well known poem in the popular imagination – accessible compared to his other work, deals with a scene that is familiar to most Indians, and evokes tremendous empathy while avoiding pity – not an easy thing to do. For me personally, the lines, “देखा मुझे उस दृष्टि से/जो मार खा रोई नहीं,” are among the best poetic lines ever penned. These lines sting in the deepest wells of our empathy, and the sting lingers just long enough till the wells overflow.

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Saturday Poem: बनारस by Kedarnath Singh

In Poetry on July 26, 2009 at 5:22 pm

Dashashwamedh_99 (Early morning at Dashashwamedh Ghat, Benares, Jan 2003)

pt_sep3Writing poems specifically for an occasion, an historical event or place is a tremendous challenge all by itself, but to attempt a poem on a city like Benares, is to invite outright failure. Any description of this vast, ancient, holy city (there ! I’ve said it) can only begin by a descent into a mire of cliches. It is unimaginable that any poem on this city will not have the word “ghat” in it, and yet, it’s impossible to come up with a more cliched association to this city! This predicament is simply inescapable.

And though Kedarnath Singh’s, “Benares” fails – very early, infact, the use of महान पुराने शहर is so irksome precisely because it is so unnecessary – it does begin to get inside the skin of the city as it progresses. The many rythms in the poem feed off the polyrythms of the city itself, from the early invocation of धूल का एक बवंडर, to madhya-laya of “शाम धीरे-धीरे होती है” and finally the eternal stillness of, “कि वहीं पर बँधी है नाँव/ कि वहीं पर रखी है तुलसीदास की खड़ाऊँ/ सैकड़ों बरस से”. There is perhaps no other way to poeticise this city, but to grapple with the many rythms, sounds, sights and smells and, – here is the difference – the mysterious way in which they all merge into one singularity, a coalescence of truth and beauty, to make Benares what it is.  All of this is enveloped in an extreme unselfconsciousness in the city, that is captured so beautifully in the closing lines, “अपनी एक टाँग पर खड़ा है यह शहर/ अपनी दूसरी टाँग से/ बिलकुल बेखबर!” And yet no poem can truly convey the totality of essence of this city –  not because we reach the limits of language in such a monumental exercise, but rather because what the city offers is at the very limits of what can be experienced. Read the rest of this entry »

Saturday Poem: दिनचर्या by Shrikant Verma

In Poetry on May 30, 2009 at 3:51 pm



एक अदृश्य टाइपराइटर पर साफ सुथरे
चढ़ता हुआ दिन,
तेज़ी से छपते मकान,
घर, मनुष्य

और पूछ हिला
गली के बाहर आता
कोई कुत्ता |

एक टाइपराइटर पृथ्वी पर
छापता है,
दिल्ली, बम्बई, कलकत्ता |

कहीं पर एक पेड़
अकस्मात छप,
करता है सारा दिन
स्याही में
न घुलने का तप | Read the rest of this entry »

Two poems by Shrikant Verma

In Poetry on May 9, 2009 at 4:12 pm


युद्ध के बाद एक-एक शव के सिरहाने
बैठी है शान्ति,
सभी शान्ति-प्रिय थे|

एक और ढंग

भागकर अकेलेपन से
तुम में, मैं गया |
सुविधा के कई वर्ष
तुममें व्यतीत किए
कैसे ?
कुछ स्मरण नहीं |

मैं और तुम ! अपनी दिनचर्या के
पृष्ठ पर
अंकित थे
एक संयुक्ताक्षर !

क्या कहूँ ! लिपि की नियती
केवल लिपि की नियती
थी –
तुममें से होकर भी
बसकर भी,
संग-संग रहकर भी.
बिल्कुल असंग हूँ |

सच है तुम्हारे बिना जीवन अपंग है |
– लेकिन क्यों लगता है मुझे
अकेले होने का ही
एक और ढंग है |