Friday, August 28, 2009

Mind the gap

She is not what she says
sometimes she falls through the gaps between the words,
slips between them
although she tries to cling to the curl of the g, grasp the hook of the t
she slips...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Jis desh mein Ganga behti hai

Prompted by some vague impulse, I dusted off this song today to hear it again. The words are by Bhupen Hazarika, translated to Hindi by Pt Narendra Sharma. The lines are clunky, the thoughts disjointed, the syllables awkward to sing, but Hazarika manages to get hordes of singers to join him in his sentiment and somehow raises it to an operatic pitch.

But I was very moved at one time by the content, the plea in this song. Ganga is, of course, only a river. Already burdened by her considerable responsibilites and treated so shabbily by the plains she services. She has rather a lot to contend with, a mother who keeps the food coming, cleans out the junk, gets dumped on... a mother who simply isn't thanked enough. To make such lofty demands of her as this poem does seems unreasonable. But also pathetic. Who else can we ask?

गंगे जननी, नवभारत में
भीष्मरुपी सुत, समरजयी जनती नहीं हो क्यों?

The song is here and the whole text is here:

विस्तार है अपार, प्रजा दोनों पार करे हाहाकार
निःशब्द सदा ओ गंगा तुम...
गंगा, बहती हो क्यों?

नैतिकता नष्ट हुई, मानवता भ्रष्ट हुई
निर्लज्ज भाव से बहती हो क्यों?

इतिहास की पुकार करे हुंकार
ओ गंगा की धार,
निर्बल जन को सबल संग्रामी, समग्रो गामी
बनाती नहीं हो क्यों?

अनपढ़ जन अक्षर रहीं
अनगिन जन खाद्य विहीन
नेत्र विहीन देख मौन हो क्यों?

व्यक्ति रहे व्यक्ति केंद्रित
सकल समाज व्यक्तित्व रहित
निष्प्राण समाज को तोड़ती न क्यों?

श्रुतास्विनी क्यों न रहीं,
तुम निश्चय चितन नहीं...
प्राणों में प्रेरणा देती न क्यों?

उन्मद अवनी कुरुक्षेत्र बनी...
गंगे जननी, नव भारत में
भीष्मरूपी सुत समर्जयी
जनती नहीं हो क्यों?

इतिहास की पुकार करे हुंकार
गंगा की धार,
निर्बल जन को सबल संग्रामी, समग्रो गामी
बनाती नहीं हो क्यों?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ragni Pilu and such thoughts

Isn't it odd what people will take on themselves to do? Some will save lives, some will save music - their inner compulsions mysterious and... well, compelling.

Aren't some destinies beautiful? Such fabulous patterns, such large arcing themes.
But most of us, we live lives of quiet desperation. A struggle, a little pinching here, a small tuck in the fabric there. Without that one great talent, without that insistent call of one purpose... making do, marking time.