Posts Tagged ‘Suryakant Tripathi Nirala’

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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