Saturday, December 28, 2013

Ab Bas Karo

Ab bas karo, in aankhon se sharaarat si behti hai
Yeh makhmali neend, humein so jaane ko kehti hai

Tharraatein labon ki chahat se waakif hain hum
Yeh muskaan tumhari adhoore armaan sehti hai

Chand se muhabbat, sunehri kirno se bair
Andhera tham jaaye, aankhon mein khwahish si rehti hai

Ek raat hi toh hai paas, jisse neend ne nishaane par rakha hai
Ehsaas badnaseeb, umeedein khaare paani si behti hai

Aur un aankhon se kehdo ishaare karna band kare
Yeh nasheeli zubaan, zaalim, bhoole armaan sulga deti hai

Ab khush ho, is nashe se baandh jo subah tak le aaye
Makhmal se ishq ki chubhan sone hi kahaan deti hai

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Hum Aapki Kyun Karein? - Guest post by Neelkamal Pandey

Hum aapki kyun karein?
Aapne humein paida kiya, toh kya?
Aapne kiya, hum hue! 
Hum humaari sehmati se toh nahi hue.

Hum aapki kyun karein?
Aapne humara laalan paalan kiya, toh kya?
Aapne kiya, humne liya!
Humein karke zimmedaar toh aap hue.
Hum humaari sehmati se toh nahi hue.

Hum aapki kyun karein?
Kehte ho bahut suvidhaayein di hain, toh kya?
Aapne di, humne li. 
Arre suvidhaayein thi tabhi toh di na. 
Ismein hum kahaan kasurvaar hue?
Hum humaari sehmati se toh nahi hue.

Hum aapki kaahe karein?
Doosre se tulna kyun karte ho?
Har race mein kyun bhagwana chahte ho?
Aur usmein bhi awwal number lavana chahte ho.
Ghode toh hum hain nahi, 
Kiya toh aapne manush hi hai. 
Aur who manush aaj niraash hai.

Tulna karna, race bhagwana hi hai
Toh bhai ghoda paalo na.
Manush par kaahe apna daav laga rahe ho?
Woh toh khud sansaarik jue mein vyast hai.
Us se kyun aas laga baithe ho?

Dekho, tulna karna band karo.
Ghadi, ghadi shikaayatein band karo.
Aapne kiya, ab hum ho gaye hain. 
Apne pairon par – ladkhada hi sahi – 
Par khade ho gaye hain.
Hum ab jad-buddhi nahi hue.
Hum humaari sehmati se toh nahi hue.

Vishwaas rakho, who bhi dridh.
Karenge hum kuchh adbhut, yeh kar liya hai pran. 
Parajay sweekar karenge nahi
Jeevan ki aapa-dhaapi mein ghoomenge nahi
Karenge, nishchit karenge
Vilamb hoga, samay lagega, nishchit woh bhi
Ban-na hai peepal ka ped,
Jhaad patte nahi.

Apne diye hue sanskaaron par vishwaas rakho
Thoda hi sahi, par dil ke paas rakho
Sanskaaron ke diye se bahut se aeb jalaane hain.
Atah sansaar ko apna loha manwana hai.
Aur phir,
Phir aapse wahi prashn poochhna hai.
Ki kyun kare hum aapki? 
Aaj tak nahi hare jeevan ke jue
Hum humaari sehmati se toh nahi hue. 

- Neelkamal Pandey

The poet

About the poet - Kamal, as he is known to me, is one very unique and talented kid. I have not known him for long, but in that brief period, I have seen him grow and mature - in manners difficult to put in words. He has overcome inhibitions - and the above poem is one big and priceless example of the same. Even though it begins with a strong statement, lets all understand, this poem seeks not to disrespect or subvert any established notions  - it merely is a plea, which reveals the heart which many of us felt heavy with while growing up. It is an expression, to let out that which is stifling and restricting. It is a request, a sensitive one, to be trusted for one's abilities. It is that which  most of us can relate with.

This kid is a beautiful addition to my life - and discovering him, and knowing about him has been a process I have enjoyed a lot. Among his many facets now known to me, another is that he is a prolific painter along with being a poet. Below is a painting he made as a dedication to Nirbhaya - the braveheart whose imprint will remain on our collective psyches. I only wish Kamal keeps exploring himself and the world around him, and is able to arrive at a destination which does justice to his talents. 

Ode to Nirbhaya by Neelkamal Pandey

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Looking Through Glass by Mukul Kesavan

They say, fiction triumphs where history and historiography meet failure. True enough. Through imagination and innovation, fiction tries to recreate those stories which are of little concern to historians - for history is not much but a political chronology, or a tale written about civilizations lost to time, or a record of battle won and lost. However, fiction is different. Fiction  seeks to carve out stories where to a non-curious, non-keen eye exist none. Even better is the experience when you see the confluence of a historian and fiction writer of great merit, as I happened to notice in Looking Through Glass by Mukul Kesavan. Mr. Kesavan is a professor in the Department of History in my university itself, though I never have had the good fortune of meeting him. I know it clear in my head what I have to say upon coming face to face with him - a simple thank you for giving me the best magical ride through the devastating annuls of Indian pre-independence history, from a post-independence vantage point.

Looking Through Glass is a novel that looks to recreate history, though not in a manner as simple as you would deem. The narrator, on a journey to Benaras to immerse his deceased grandmother's ashes in the holy Ganges, finds himself fall off a bridge into another time zone. He falls into the year 1942 from India of the 1980s and begins an amusing, but revealing tale of inevitabilities that were taking place in that period of struggle, where divisive tendencies had not only taken firm root, but were also raising their heads at ugly junctures in public and private life. The narrator, a Hindu, stays with a Muslim family - with a story and history of its own - passing off as an amnesiac. He almost acquires the role of the man of the house, till he starts on his way to Benaras, joining an anti-British rebellion en route. His travails in Benaras include meeting and dealing with a aspiring porn-film-maker, and rescuing an unwed, pregnant girl, Parwana - all this while being under the tutelage of a local wrestler giving regular sermons on the importance of celibacy for conserving strength. His journey continues to Delhi, Simla and perhaps back to Delhi (has been long since I read this beautiful work of fiction) - spanning the most crucial years of political wrangling regarding cartographic surgery of India and on ground violence devouring the peace of entire communities to forever leave them embittered. All this, being seen through the surreal lens of a photographer, who is an anachronistic observer in the setting.

This novel makes use of the technique of magic realism in a rather sudden way, at the very beginning. Its is not a very simple narrative, for it is a fusion of genres of fantasy and historical fiction. The novel is rich with rhetorical ploys where the author, in essence a historian, is conveying his hardened perspective on India's historical development to his audience, perhaps focussing on giving voice to the one community whose collective opinions had been drowned under the persuasive influence of its leader toeing a rigid separatist line. These tendencies of the author are distinctly noticeable in the way he creates his rather strong characters, ordinary citizens, supporting ideas which are in contravention of what was historically ascribed to them.

Mukul Kesavan
This novel doesn't stop at being a fantastical lesson on history. Besides telling you plainly that independence as partition were affairs larger than the exchange between Congress and the Muslim League, it also encompasses other interesting sub-plots, one of which is crude kind of sexual comedy. This is made visible in the section about Gyanendra, a film-maker aspiring to remake Kama Sutra, victimizing a woman, who can also be looked at as a victimizer in a way. One can, of course, not forget the fact that sexual violence was inextricably linked to the physical violence in the years leading up to Partition. By evoking lesser known streams of ideological thoughts on the idea of India and its various communities, the novel also makes a sincere attempt at political rewriting of historical facts. For throwing light on all this, the narrator has made use of flashback as well as flashforward. He has both, the retrospective and the prospective tools of analysis in his hands, because he picks up a nameless protagonist who has fallen into the lanes of history from a very contemporary reality. This narrator is in a position to see people struggle, but by the virtue of his temporal vantage point, sees how futile these struggles are because he knows precisely what turn history will take.

Lastly, the novel is so dearly loved by me because of the lightness of tone with which the author is able to convey the seriousness of matter. It is a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable novel, which does not leave you sombre or depressed. And this is not to say that it is not hard hitting, or that it does not send its message home. 4.5 stars from me, and absolutely, highly recommended!

Book Details -
Author - Mukul Kesavan
Publisher - Penguin India and Ravi Dayal Publishers
Published - 1995
Book Source - Part of a course on 'Literatures of the Indian Sub-continent', Department of English, JMI
Genre - Historical Fiction/Fantasy Fiction
Price - Rs. 325
Pages - 378

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Chalo Ab So Jaao

Jab aankhein moondein let jaati hogi tum,
Toh pariyaan thoda kam mehsoos karti hongi khud ko, 
Pariyon ki duniya ki shehzaadi lagti hogi na tum,
Aankhein band kiye, ek muskaan chehre par liye,
Apna ana ko tumse bachaane ki koshish mein,
Yeh neend liye baithi hain tumhaari
Chhed rahi hain laakh khayaal
Tumhe dekh jal rahi hain baari baari

Par meri baat suno,
Inhe jeetne mat do,
Subah intezaar kar rahi hai tumhara
Aankhein moondo
Dil ko shaant karo

Aur chalo, ab so jaao...

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

And Then...

And then,

A silkworm cocooned and marooned on a leaf, 
Would know of its power with which to weave,
Silk that would last more than a century,
Silk to change grotesque into pretty.

And then,

A butterfly flapping its large wings vibrant,
Hurriedly pursuing nectar and scents,
Would know of the power encased in its form,
The power to unleash a mighty storm.

And then, 

A man caught unaware in the grind,
Burning within with a will to drive - 
Darkness out and light a candle, 
Would know of the power with which to handle
The desire to change the world as we know,
Into a land where virtues flow. 

And then, it glowed!

Naive in thought, and usage of words, the above poem had to make it here because it was the first time I composed something during an exam! Yes, so, a souvenir from there.

Picture credits - Madhurjya Saikia. I have already told you guys he is a superlative photographer, not something to forget.