तू अब भी है

Dr. Omendra Ratnu


About The Author

Dr. Omendra Ratnu

Dr Omendra Ratnu is a Jaipur based ENT surgeon who runs his own hospital. Survival and blossoming of Hindi Bhasha by enhancing its use and promoting Hindi literature are one of his core passions. He has been writing poetry and articles in various newspapers and web portals of Bharat. He runs an NGO by the title of Nimittekam, with the ...

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Dr. Jagannath Prasad Das

Put away the road maps now.
To go there.
You do not need helicopters any more:
wherever there is hunger, Kalahandi is there.
The god of rain turned away his face.
There was not one green leaf left on trees to eat.
The whole village a graveyard
The ground, cracked 
River sand, dried up.
All plans failed;
the poverty line receded further.
Wherever you look,There is a Kalahandi:
In the sunken eyes of living skeletons,
in rags which do not cover frail bodies,
in utensils pawned off for food,
in the crumbling hutswith un thatched roofs,
in the exclusive prosperity
of having owned two earthen pots.
Kalahandi is everywhere:
in the gathering of famished crowds before charity kitchens,
in market places where children are auctioned off, 
in the sigh of young girls sold to brothels,
in the silent processions of helpless people leaving their hearth and home.
Come, look at Kalahandi closer:
In the crocodile tears 
Of false press statements, 
in the exaggerated statistics 
Of computer print-outs,
in the cheap sympathies 
doled out at conferences, 
in the false assurances presented by planners.
Kalahandi is very close to us:
In the occasional contrition of our souls,
in the unexpected nagging of conscience,
in the rare repentance of the inner self.
In the nightmares 
appearing through sound sleep,
in disease,
in hunger,
in helplessness,
in the abject fear
of an impending bloodshed.
How could we then walk
Into celebrated portals 
of the twenty-first century,
leaving Kalahandi behind?

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आज एक आकाश नीचे उतर आया

Dr. Omendra Ratnu

आज एक आकाश नीचे उतर आया
करने आच्छादित मुझे, मेरे उपरान्त भी,
अस्तित्व हुआ तरल झीनी चादर सा,
चित्त हुआ सरल, जो था कातर सा,
तन मन हुए भारहीन ,
निज पर की सीमा मिटी,
संकल्प विकल्प सारहीन ,
चेतना की सब धाराएं अंतर को प्रवाहित सी,
कुण्डलिनी ज्यूँ स्वयं की धुरी पर समाहित सी,
प्रेम बना दृष्टि, संवाद भी !
प्रतीक्षा बनी स्वभाव...
आज एक आकाश नीचे उतर आया...

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An Indian Love Song

Sarojini Naidu


Lift up the veils that darken the delicate moon
of thy glory and grace,
Withhold not, O love, from the night
of my longing the joy of thy luminous face,
Give me a spear of the scented keora
guarding thy pinioned curls,
Or a silken thread from the fringes
that trouble the dream of thy glimmering pearls;
Faint grows my soul with thy tresses' perfume
and the song of thy anklets' caprice,
Revive me, I pray, with the magical nectar
that dwells in the flower of thy kiss.


How shall I yield to the voice of thy pleading,
how shall I grant thy prayer,
Or give thee a rose-red silken tassel,
a scented leaf from my hair?
Or fling in the flame of thy heart's desire the veils that cover my face,
Profane the law of my father's creed for a foe
of my father's race?
Thy kinsmen have broken our sacred altars and slaughtered our sacred kine,
The feud of old faiths and the blood of old battles sever thy people and mine.


What are the sins of my race, Beloved,
what are my people to thee?
And what are thy shrines, and kine and kindred,
what are thy gods to me?
Love recks not of feuds and bitter follies,
of stranger, comrade or kin,
Alike in his ear sound the temple bells
and the cry of the muezzin.
For Love shall cancel the ancient wrong
and conquer the ancient rage,
Redeem with his tears the memoried sorrow
that sullied a bygone age.

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The Love Poem Unwritten

Prof Makarand Paranjape

The poem he wished to write began this way:
Is it come to this
That I am reduced to writing love poems
To you....
There he stopped. A heavy onus
Of unresolved emotions
Seemed to gag him.
He wished to say:
How ironic it was that separation
Had revived their love,
How she still defined his existence
By absence, as she had once done
Through her presence;
How distance generated intimacy,
So that now they were in love again.
And how corny, how odd, how unusual that felt.
Like nothing they'd felt before,
In fact, almost like in the movies,
Their romance was beginning to dramatize itself.
Yes, this was the intoxication
Of not just being in love,
But of being in love with being in love.
He wanted to say: I love you.
I love myself when I love you.
I love what you do to me.
I love what my love does to you.
When I think of us, there's a tremor
Not in my heart, but in the pit of my stomach,
It's a dull fire that spreads upwards,
From my loins. It's a hormonal high
When I remember how we lie side by side,
Naked, and how we make love.
Unlike the past, now we don't even need foreplay.
We are so hot just being next to each other.
And we are so serene when we join,
We even talk and smile.
But as I push into you, in, in, in,
All words are stuck in the throat.
I feel myself dissolving into you,
My self sinking lower and lower,
To vanishing point.
By entering you, I give you back to yourself.
There you are, your face flushed, but calm.
And then there's neither you nor me,
But only a warmth, throbbing and vital,
Which says: Love, love, love,
Or Om, Om, Om--just the primordial note.
We look at each other like this,
And an eternity passes away
As time forgets itself.
He wanted to say:
Now that we're apart once again,
I think, how strange it is to be in love
And to write about one's love,
To write poems to you,
Telling you how much I miss you,
How I am pining away,
And yet how delicious the pain is,
How exciting, inviting, welcome.
To reinvent language to say all this
To call back to oneself the sighs and tremors
Of love, to talk of your eyes and lips,
To celebrate your face, to get lost
In your fragrant tresses, to seek refuge
In the shade of your eyelashes, to praise
The softness and warmth of your touch,
To talk of the scent of your breath,
To remember your intimate gestures,
To cup your breasts in my hands
Like two panting doves,
To nestle my face between them,
And to remember all the noises you make,
And how you clown around, making faces,
And how we invent silly names for each other...
To talk about all this and much more.
In words, words, words, to project myself at you.
Then after this burst of verbal energy, fear:
To think that the person I am in love with
Is not you, but something that I have created myself,
An image of what I love. To think that I have made
An idol of you which in my loneliness I adore.
And how such love fills me with both
Ecstasy and dread, lest you interrupt these effusions,
Breaking through the image, declaring
Your real self, shattering the mirror of dreams.
How all this fits in with the poetry reading
In which I read love poems to you,
Thus becoming a poet in love,
Wooing you with my poems,
Making public our passion,
And in the process, making you my dream, my love, my muse,
Always passive, the recipient of all this homage,
The silent deity to which the priest-poet
Lights his lamps, pouring out his devotion.
And so the recurrent fear:
It's so easy to love one's own creation,
But how difficult to love a real person.
O God, how scared I am of loving you.
He wanted to write all this,
But how awkward and unconvincing it sounded,
And a silent onus seemed to gag him.
He felt saddened at his inability to love.
He thought: being in love is easy,
But to love someone so difficult.
He wondered if he could ever love,
If there was any hope for him,
If his heart heart would melt,
If he would be saved.
How important it was to find love:
It was the perfume of existence;
And life was arid without it.
He examined himself and his own life,
His compulsions to write,
To project things, to become something else,
To alter life, to change reality,
Always the drive, the ceaseless flow of words, words, words.
And now, the onus on his heart,
The inability to write, to express
His stirring love for his own wife,
The inability to force all this into words,
The fear of being found out as a liar,
The anxiety of being exposed and branded,
The dread of discovering his own changeability,
To find out, alas, that he couldn't, didn't,
Was unable to love, to love her.
At last he wrote:
There are those who love;
And there are others who only write poems.
It is you who love;
And I only write poems.
Did he then realize
The simple release of love
And the bitter doom of having to write only poems?

Poem from "The Serene Flame"
Read More at www.makarand.com

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Manoj Krishnan

जब भी मौत आएगी मेरी, मैं उसे चूम लूंगा,
उसकी बेचैन आँखों को चोरी से देख लूंगा।
जिनसे दुनिया, सहमी हुई, फिरती दिखेगी,
उनमें समा कर, शायद थोड़ी ख़ुशी मिलेगी।
थोड़ा तो ज्ञात है मुझे, उसकी भी मनोदशा,
उसे क्या पता इस आंलिगन का भी है मज़ा।
कब से प्रतीक्षा है मुझे इस अंतिम घङी की,
उसके स्पर्श एवं उसमें विलीन हो जाने की।
रह जाएंगी मेरी यादें और मेरे कुछ अवशेष,
अति सुखद होगा इस एकांकी का पटाक्षेप।
इस तरह मेरी ये कहानी समाप्त हो जायेगी,
पर, अल्पविराम के बाद कथा नयी आएगी।
संभवतः आपके लिए ये वदनापूर्ण विषय हो,
हो सकता है थोड़ी असमंजस एवं संशय हो।
परन्तु, इसको मैं परमोक्ष की प्राप्ति मानूंगा,
मृत्यु का वरण कर, जीवन का अर्थ जानूंगा।
जब भी मौत आएगी मेरी, मैं उसे चूम लूंगा,
उन होंठों की कम्पन को, हौले से पढ़ लूंगा।
मृत्यु के चेहरे पर आती ये शिकन बताएंगी,
इक अल्पविराम के बाद कथा नयी आएगी।

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अफ़सोस कहाँ हम आ पहुँचे

Dr. Omendra Ratnu

अब प्यार हुआ इलज़ाम यहाँ, है मक्कारों की पौ बारह,
नफरत में जीना आसान है, अफ़सोस कहाँ हम आ पहुँचे !
क्या शोर हुआ, क्या ज़ोर हुआ,यूँ मर मर के मैं और हुआ,
बस बाकी होश ज़रा सा है, अफ़सोस कहाँ हम आ पहुँचे !
कोई आँख भरी ना ठंडक से, कोई हाथ नहीं है कंधे पर,
हर शख्स यहाँ घबराया है, अफ़सोस कहाँ हम आ पहुँचे !
ना सत्य सुना,ना वाद सुना, ना कल कल जल का नाद सुना,
इक कर्कश स्वर भर आया है, अफ़सोस कहाँ हम आ पहुँचे !
करुणा की गंध भी महकी थी, मुक्ति की हवा भी बहकी थी,
खुदगर्ज़ी ने भरमाया है, अफ़सोस कहाँ हम आ पहुँचे !
तलवार उठा और बाँध कमर, अब आँख उठा और देख सहर,
आने वाली नस्लें न कहें, अफ़सोस कहाँ हम आ पहुँचे !

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आप और जी की सम्बोधन औपचारिकता से होते हुए
अर्द्धांगिनी और स्वामी तक के हमारे आत्मीय सफर में
मैंने जाना कि,
जीवन की तमाम अनिश्चिताओं और
वैचारिक भिन्नताओं के बावजूद
प्रेम, तमाम विसंगतियों को पार करते हुए
अंत में सरोवर में खिले कमल की भांति प्रतीत होता है :
मनोरम, मनोरम बस मनोरम।

लेखक परिचय:
उत्तर प्रदेश के बाँदा जिले के निवासी वैभव जी कुमार वैभव नाम से कविताएं लिखते है। वैभव जी ने अंग्रेजी साहित्य से पोस्ट ग्रेजुएशन किया है, और उन्हें सभी भाषाओं के साहित्य से प्रेम है।

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आज उस पक्षी को फिर देखा

Kedarnath Singh

आज उस पक्षी को फिर देखा
जिसे पिछले साल देखा था
लगभग इन्हीं दिनों
इसी शहर में
क्या नाम है उसका
मुझे कुछ भी याद नहीं
मैं कितनी आसानी से भूलता जा रहा हूँ
पक्षियों के नाम
मुझे सोचकर डर लगा
आख़िर क्या नाम है उसका
मैं खड़ा-खड़ा सोचता रहा
और सिर खुजलाता रहा
और यह मेरे शहर में
एक छोटे-से पक्षी के लौट आने का विस्फोट था
जो भरी सड़क पर
मुझे देर तक हिलाता रहा।

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हजारों ख्वाहिशें ऐसी


हजारों ख्वाहिशें ऐसी कि हर ख्वाहिश पे दम निकले
बहुत निकले मेरे अरमाँ, लेकिन फिर भी कम निकले
डरे क्यों मेरा कातिल क्या रहेगा उसकी गर्दन पर
वो खून जो चश्म-ऐ-तर से उम्र भर यूं दम-ब-दम निकले
निकलना खुल्द से आदम का सुनते आये हैं लेकिन
बहुत बे-आबरू होकर तेरे कूचे से हम निकले
भ्रम खुल जाये जालीम तेरे कामत कि दराजी का
अगर इस तुर्रा-ए-पुरपेच-ओ-खम का पेच-ओ-खम निकले
मगर लिखवाये कोई उसको खत तो हमसे लिखवाये
हुई सुबह और घर से कान पर रखकर कलम निकले
हुई इस दौर में मनसूब मुझसे बादा-आशामी
फिर आया वो जमाना जो जहाँ से जाम-ए-जम निकले
हुई जिनसे तव्वको खस्तगी की दाद पाने की
वो हमसे भी ज्यादा खस्ता-ए-तेग-ए-सितम निकले
मुहब्बत में नहीं है फ़र्क जीने और मरने का
उसी को देख कर जीते हैं जिस काफिर पे दम निकले
जरा कर जोर सिने पर कि तीर-ऐ-पुरसितम निकले
जो वो निकले तो दिल निकले, जो दिल निकले तो दम निकले
खुदा के वास्ते पर्दा ना काबे से उठा जालिम
कहीं ऐसा न हो याँ भी वही काफिर सनम निकले
कहाँ मयखाने का दरवाजा 'गालिब' और कहाँ वाइज़
पर इतना जानते हैं, कल वो जाता था के हम निकले

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नया साल

Amrita Pritam

जैसे सोच की कंघी में से
एक दंदा टूट गया
जैसे समझ के कुर्ते का
एक चीथड़ा उड़ गया
जैसे आस्था की आँखों में
एक तिनका चुभ गया
नींद ने जैसे अपने हाथों में
सपने का जलता कोयला पकड़ लिया
नया साल कुछ ऐसे आया...
जैसे दिल के फिकरे से
एक अक्षर बुझ गया
जैसे विश्वास के कागज पर
सियाही गिर गयी
जैसे समय के होंठों से
एक गहरी साँस निकल गयी
और आदमजात की आँखों में
जैसे एक आँसू भर आया
नया साल कुछ ऐसे आया...
जैसे इश्क की जबान पर
एक छाला उठ आया
सभ्यता की बाँहों में से
एक चूड़ी टूट गयी
इतिहास की अँगूठी में से
एक नीलम गिर गया
और जैसे धरती ने आसमान का
एक बड़ा उदास-सा खत पढ़ा
नया साल कुछ ऐसे आया...

This is one of the rare examples in literature ushering in a new year with a resolute melancholy, written by Amrita Pritam, a prominent Punjabi poet.

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Radha's Geet: At The Golden Shore

Dr. Pariksith Singh

At the golden shore
I have lost all meaning
Among nameless things
Why does the lone star
Make me transparent?
The antariksha is both
Without and within
Where empty of thought
Awareness is timeless
Objects rise and fall
Residue of feeling
Collapse without name
All that remains
Is dark space
That I am

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One Cosmic Dance

Dr. Gaurav Mathur

Thought and its futility
Are seen
Desire and its pointlessness
Are seen
Fear and its subsidence
Are seen
The unwavering flame of attention
Engulfs all that is
Mind is still, void of content
Ego sinks back in quiet repose
To its source
All is as is
Naturally at ease
And the Self is all there is
A presence within and all around
The benevolent monarch
Calm and eternal
Patient and gentle
Soft and subtle
All-pervading, yet untouched
Creator, mover and destroyer
Of worlds upon worlds
Which are all but itself
Playing with itself
The raas of Krishna
And Shiva’s tandav
Are one cosmic dance
Of the unmoving Self

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The Looking Glass

Kamala Surayya

Getting a man to love you is easy
Only be honest about your wants as woman. 
Stand nude before the glass with him,
So that he sees himself the stronger one
And believes it so, and you so much more
Softer, younger, lovelier.
Admit your Admiration.
Notice the perfection
Of his limbs, his eyes reddening under the shower,
The shy walk across the bathroom floor,
Dropping towels, and the jerky way he urinates.
All the fond details that make him male 
And your only man.
Gift him all,
Gift him what makes you woman,
The scent of long hair,
The musk of sweat between the breasts,
The warm shock of menstrual blood,
And all your endless female hungers.
Oh yes, getting a man to love is easy, 
But living without him afterwards may have to be faced.
A living without life when you move around, 
Meeting strangers, with your eyes that gave up their search, 
With ears that hear only his last voice calling out your name
And your body which once under his touch had gleamed
Like burnished brass, now drab and destitute.

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I am not

Dr. Gaurav Mathur

Victim or victor
I am not
Friend or lover
I am not
Poet or philosopher
I am not
Seeker or seer
I am not
Thought or thinker
I am not
Experiencer or doer
I am not
Do not ask who I am
For I am not
I am not

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जलियाँवाला बाग में बसंत

Subhadra Kumari Chauhan

हाँ कोकिला नहीं, काग हैं, शोर मचाते,
काले काले कीट, भ्रमर का भ्रम उपजाते।

कलियाँ भी अधखिली, मिली हैं कंटक-कुल से,
वे पौधे, व पुष्प शुष्क हैं अथवा झुलसे।
परिमल-हीन पराग दाग सा ब

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ठुकरा दो या प्यार करो

Subhadra Kumari Chauhan

देव! तुम्हारे कई उपासक कई ढंग से आते हैं
सेवा में बहुमूल्य भेंट वे कई रंग की लाते हैं
धूमधाम से साज-बाज से वे मंदिर में आते हैं
मुक्तामणि बहुमुल्य वस्तुऐं लाकर तुम्हें चढ़ाते हैं
मैं ही हूँ गरीबिनी ऐसी जो कुछ साथ नहीं लायी
फिर भी साहस कर मंदिर में पूजा करने चली आयी
धूप-दीप-नैवेद्य नहीं है झांकी का श्रृंगार नहीं
हाय! गले में पहनाने को फूलों का भी हार नहीं
कैसे करूँ कीर्तन, मेरे स्वर में है माधुर्य नहीं
मन का भाव प्रकट करने को वाणी में चातुर्य नहीं
नहीं दान है, नहीं दक्षिणा खाली हाथ चली आयी
पूजा की विधि नहीं जानती, फिर भी नाथ चली आयी
पूजा और पुजापा प्रभुवर इसी पुजारिन को समझो
दान-दक्षिणा और निछावर इसी भिखारिन को समझो
मैं उनमत्त प्रेम की प्यासी हृदय दिखाने आयी हूँ
जो कुछ है, वह यही पास है, इसे चढ़ाने आयी हूँ
चरणों पर अर्पित है, इसको चाहो तो स्वीकार करो
यह तो वस्तु तुम्हारी ही है ठुकरा दो या प्यार करो

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इसका रोना

Subhadra Kumari Chauhan

तुम कहते हो - मुझको इसका रोना नहीं सुहाता है ।
मैं कहती हूँ - इस रोने से अनुपम सुख छा जाता है ।
सच कहती हूँ, इस रोने की छवि को जरा निहारोगे ।
बड़ी-बड़ी आँसू की बूँदों पर मुक्तावली वारोगे । 1 ।

ये नन्हे से होंठ और यह लम्बी-सी सिसकी देखो ।
यह छोटा सा गला और यह गहरी-सी हिचकी देखो ।
कैसी करुणा-जनक दृष्टि है, हृदय उमड़ कर आया है ।
छिपे हुए आत्मीय भाव को यह उभार कर लाया है । 2 ।

हँसी बाहरी, चहल-पहल को ही बहुधा दरसाती है ।
पर रोने में अंतर तम तक की हलचल मच जाती है ।
जिससे सोई हुई आत्मा जागती है, अकुलाती है ।
छुटे हुए किसी साथी को अपने पास बुलाती है । 3 ।

मैं सुनती हूँ कोई मेरा मुझको अहा ! बुलाता है ।
जिसकी करुणापूर्ण चीख से मेरा केवल नाता है ।
मेरे ऊपर वह निर्भर है खाने, पीने, सोने में ।
जीवन की प्रत्येक क्रिया में, हँसने में ज्यों रोने में । 4 ।

मैं हूँ उसकी प्रकृति संगिनी उसकी जन्म-प्रदाता हूँ ।
वह मेरी प्यारी बिटिया है मैं ही उसकी प्यारी माता हूँ ।
तुमको सुन कर चिढ़ आती है मुझ को होता है अभिमान ।
जैसे भक्तों की पुकार सुन गर्वित होते हैं भगवान । 5 ।

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Sky Bird

Dr. Pariksith Singh

To fly
Is to be
The infinite space
To rise
Into openness
The vast opens as I
My love of transparence
Fills me now
To flesh and marrow
The journey upon my breast
Enters each cell
As the journey within
Each horizon
My new home
Where stillness is flight
And skin porous as space
The seeking of flesh
To be light
A bird of thought
Behind each background
Secretly preening
The gyre of each dream
Ascending higher
To the Great Bird
Can each bird
Winging through my pen
Escape the tyranny of word?
The expanse of flight
Caught within
A secret winging
And space too
Is turned into
The thought of a bird

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Dr. Pariksith Singh

Recently, I was invited to Pondicherry Literary Festival, held August 17-19 last month. This came as a surprise request from a well-known critic and poet, Makarand Paranjape. We had renewed our acquaintance just a couple of days prior to this request. I had sent him a booklet of my poems, ‘The Fawn’, in 1991 to which he had responded in a kind but critical manner. And I always remembered and appreciated that. While he was visiting the US recently, a mutual acquaintance got us connected. This chance invitation started a sequence of events that amazed, amused, perplexed and annoyed me.
I accepted the invite after some hesitation since it came just a couple of weeks prior to the LitFest and we had little time. But I agreed to join the Festival since it seemed too fortuitous to me at that time. I would have the opportunity to visit Pondicherry, a city I have visited since I was in Medical School, and that too on August 15, which is the birthday of Sri Aurobindo, for whom as a revolutionary, writer, poet and visionary I have utmost respect. It was the time I was planning to release three books of mine, two on poetry and one on Health Care in the US. So, I thought, the event might help give the books some publicity. I had no idea about the political storm that was brewing.
While I was in Newark airport, getting ready to board the flight to New Delhi, I came upon a press event held in Pondicherry by a few leftist organizations that opposed the festival. They referenced the article from Le Monde, a newspaper in France that mentioned my name and called me a rightist and therefore opposed the LitFest since it was an event organized by rightist forces. I was surprised since I had not known yet that I belonged to the right-wing. I pulled the article that Le Monde had referenced and found that it was something that I had sent to several media outlets more than a year ago. It was an article that cautioned Modi against concentrating all the power in the Prime Minister Office since it could have harmful and unforeseen consequences. Rightlog chose to publish it. Nowhere in the article was there blind worshipping of Modi, nor did I support him whole-heartedly. I praised him for what I thought were his achievements and brought up my reservations where they were due.
I was tagged as a rightist since Rightlog published it. The content of the article had no meaning. I doubt that the Le Monde correspondent read it. Nor was there any attempt to ascertain my views on Modi, the LitFest or even what I thought about the liberal-conservative divide in the US or the Congress-BJP battle in India. It was sloppy journalism at its worst but the leftist parties in Pondicherry picked it up and petitioned Alliance Francaise to stop supporting the event.
By the time, I reached Pondicherry the little turbulence had gathered into a hurricane. Alliance Francaise dropped out at the last moment from allowing the organizers to use its venue to stage the event. They had to hustle to find alternative sites. On the morning of the inauguration, a group of miscreants gathered at Alliance Francaise to protest against the event. Fortunately, the event had already been moved to another site by that time.
I came to hear some of the best speakers, writers and thinkers of India at the event some of them can easily represent India internationally. We had Bibek Debroy, Sanjiv Sanyal, R Jagannathan, Alok Pandey and Makarand Paranjape among many others. I did not realize that the event had been tagged, labeled, and consigned to oblivion by the Left because it invoked Sri Aurobindo and Bharat Shakti, because the leftist writers and thinkers had chosen not to attend it even though they had been invited, because some of the organizers had been labeled already as rightists. The event was not attended by mainstream media. No coverage was given to stalwarts such as Bibek Debroy and others in the newspapers. My own father who was travelling with us tagged an exhibition on Indian Civilization and Spirituality as rightist because there was no Gandhi in it. That is when I received a vital insight.
I realized that the atmosphere in our country over the last 20 years had moved to an extreme divisiveness where raw emotion and sensationalism had taken over journalism and reason had fled our shores. And it was similar to what I had experienced in the US over the last decade or so. In any case, I visited Sri Aurobindo’s room and paid my respect. I sat at his Samadhi without a single thought or reaction over how vitiated our social discourse had become. I was just grateful that I could sit there on August 15 and release my books.
We came to Jaipur and my father arranged a press event, where, thankfully, all his journalist-friends whom he had known over the last 30 years came. I was questioned in a professional manner. I was interviewed for various TV channels and I did a poetry reading of my English and Hindi poems. Then came the question I had not expected in that more friendly atmosphere. “Are you a rightist and are your poems affiliated with a particular political party?”
And as I answered, I got my second insight. I said that the division between the right and left to me sometimes seemed artificial. I am a doctor who chose this profession because I wanted to help and heal. Does that make me a leftist? And I believe in free enterprise? Does that make me a rightist? And if caring for people, advocating health insurance for everyone, having empathy for the downtrodden and the poor and the weak made me a socialist I was proud to be one. And if supporting enterprise and businesses and individual freedom made me a conservative, I would be happy to hold that flag any day. Then I quoted something I had heard recently, “A bird needs two wings to fly, both the right and the left. So does our country.”
And I was done. And I had just begun.
When did loving one’s country became the right of one side or the other? I refused to accept the tag. I rejected them with all my passion and my being.
When did Swami Vivekananda become a rightist? He who loved the oppressed and forgotten and wanted to worship ‘Daridra Narayana’, the Divine who lives in the poorest and the most miserable, and had the deepest empathy for anyone who was suffering?
I am a leftist and a rightist. I am a green party member and I am libertarian. I refuse to allow others to pin me to who I am and who I choose to be and who I am allowed to be. I escape all categories and eschew all classification.
Truth is neither left nor right; Truth is the center. The only true one.
How shall I be pinned? I am invisible. I defy classification.
And I am reminded of Walt Whitman as I say this:
“You say I contradict myself.
Very well then, I contradict myself.
I contain multitudes.”

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The Future of Indian Poetry

Dr. Pariksith Singh

Indian poetry in English is flat. There is no depth. This was my impression when I read some anthologies edited by Pritish Nandy few decades ago. This remains my impression after reviewing an anthology of more modern poets that I chanced upon recently. I came out with the feeling that I had read a newspaper. To be fair to Indian poets, much modern poetry is similar. Mental. Superficial. Sensational.
DH Lawrence had said that the best literature transforms your blood. My blood remains the same. The skin sags a bit more.
Save a few poems. A few poets.
Ezra Pound described poetry as comprised of three components: logopoeia, melopoiea and phanopoeia. Meaning, music and image. A very anatomic dissection reveals this as the sinews and muscle of poetry. But the best poetry accomplishes something else that is significant. It brings together an intense fusion of thought and feeling, of sensation and gut, intensity and subtlety, wideness and height and depth.
In the Indian context, the term ‘bhaava’ has been used, which implies a profounder feeling and thinking and sensing. TS Eliot while discussing metaphysical poets talks about a poetry where thoughts are felt. Bhaava implies such a fusion but it is yet more than a coming together of mind and heart. It means ‘to be’.
Great art absorbs one, drowns the reader or beholder. Technical perfection is one requirement, perhaps a basic one. But the identification of consciousness with the art opens it to new perspectives, insights, visions. Such new vistas in modern poetry are missing. As Steve Jobs complained, while discussing the products with his developers at Apple, ‘There is no sex in them.”
I am afraid that we have become TS Eliot in pyjamas if not ‘Mathew Arnold in a sari’. To turn this around, we will need to be bold and uncompromising.
A high fusion of content and craft, theme and style is what will distinguish excellence from mediocrity. Indian-English poetry does not seem to dare greatness. That might happen when Indian literature re-discovers or explores its own roots. As Tagore did.
What are these roots or myths? What are the conditions or the darshan? Or perhaps an even deeper question. Who are we? What is unique about us? This is journey we must make, no matter how excruciating or unfulfilling. To boldly sing in our own voice, steep ourselves in our svadharma, to draw in our own blood. To carry it as a woman carries her child in the womb. That is the only way we can deliver a new being, art with its own individuality.
To paraphrase McLeish, I would say, ‘Great poetry must not mean, but be.” In bhaava, in the dare, in the sva-darshana or self-seeing. Such is the future of our poetry if we may dare to hear and trace the notes of our own heart-beat. Shall we follow?

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Waqt Guzar Gayaa

Dr. Pariksith Singh

वक़्त गुज़र गया मेरे दोस्त मगर शाम वही है
पीने वाले गुज़र गए पर जाम वही है
बाजारों में भाव भी कल उठते चले गए
बिक जाने का मगर दाम वही है
Time has passed us by, my friend, but the evening is the same.
The revelers have passed us by, but the wine is the same.
Yesterday, the prices of things in the bazaar went up high
The price of getting sold here still remains the same.

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Zakhm phir se khula

Dr. Pariksith Singh

ज़ख्म फिर से खुला तो हुआ आईना
लहू की जगह बस एक शुआ आईना
तेरा ही अक्स झलकता था नज़रों में
दिल से उठती बस एक दुआ आईना

A wound opened again and became the mirror
In place of blood, a ray of light the mirror
Your reflection alone shimmered in my eyes
Only a prayer arising from my heart the mirror

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Ikram Rajasthani

ढूंढ़ता है आदमी, सदियों से दुनिया, में सुकून।
धूप में साया मिले, कमल जाये सहरा में सुकून।
छटपटाती है किनारों, पर मिलन की आस में
हर लहर पा जाती है, जाकर के दरिया में सुकून।
बेक़रारी है कभी, पूरे समन्दर की तरह,
और कभी मिल जाता है बस, एक क़तरे में सुकून।
ज़िन्दगी को इससे ज्य़ादा और क्या कुछ चाहिए?
लबस हो इक प्यार का, और उसके लमहात में सुकून।
हर सवाली चेहरे पे लिख़ी इबारत देखिए,
चैन है कि न आँखों में, और कौन से दिल में सुकून।
वो खुदा से कम नहीं लगता है, मुझको दोस्तो,
मेरे ख़ातिर माँगता है जो दुआओं में सुकून।
ये उसी दामन की भीनी खुशबू का एहसास है,
जो मुझे महसूस होता है हवाओं में सुकून।

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Free Fall

Prof Makarand Paranjape

Let me forget myself momentarily
as the divine did itself when it made this
beautiful world of sound, light, and colour,
and peopled it with all kinds of creatures,
great and small, peaceful or violent.
So let me find myself completely in the object
of my desire, let my self be totally lost
in the other, let me thus become a woman,
and fall hopelessly in love with the man
in her. Let this love have no destination,
no hope of fulfilment or consummation;
let it be entirely futile, pointless, even
inconsequential. And let my heart be riven,
broken, crushed, scattered beyond all
retrieval or recognition, let all my poise
and self-control, my pride of manhood
be totally undone in this all-consuming
passion. O victory, I shall seek you
in my utter ruination, like a desperate
soul seeking solace in everlasting annihilation.
My obsession brooks no restraint or moderation;
I must be totally destroyed before I'm done,
no particle of me left safe or untouched.
I risk all to gain all; I am reckless in love
because I know that the one I love, after all,
is not I or you, but the lost whole of which
both are parts. I am willing to wager all
because I know that my love will be as safe
with you as it is with the Mother of God.


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Getting Outside Patriarchy

Prof Makarand Paranjape

Our distances are intimate,
We grow vast in our silences.
In freedom we have blossomed,
Not having thwarted one another.
How unrestricted are our movements:
We have never tried to trim each other to size.
You come back, asynchronious,
Twisted by your concourse with others.
I react to your divergences.
How we have fought,
With no holds barred
Tearing at each other fiercely,
Until our brains nearly exploded.
Then, all anger spent,
Not one word or hit, left unstruck,
We gaze at each other mutely--
Astonished at the devastation
Each has wrought on the other.
Standing forlorn amidst the debris of our selves,
We heal, and once again
Stretch towards each other,
All our crooked places straightened.
We are the enemies of each other's egos
Ruthless in hunt;
Thus we destroy and recreate each other ceaselessly.
Yet our eyes talk and understand
The subtle signals of love,
The open smile of happiness
Wrapping the other in a warm embrace.
Indeed, our gestures are complete.
My curses have failed.
The blows that I struck you
Drained me of all violence.
Even memories have lost their sting.
Instead, eternal be my blessing
Overflowing all the harsh sayings,
Washing them away like loose dirt.
So go, you are not mine--
Prosper and flower wherever you are.
And yet stay,
Grow strong and straight
Like a companion eucalyptus,
Tall and elegant,
And restless in the breeze.

Poem from "The Serene Flame"
Read More at www.makarand.com

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College Days

Prof Makarand Paranjape

In the grilled window overhead
Before ringing the bell
I see your face.
It is only love, nothing else.
You rush down the stairs
You hold my hand,
Your cheeks flushed with excitement.
It is only love, nothing else.
We sit on the lawn
In cushioned wicker chairs.
The night queen exudes its scent.
It is only love, nothing else.
You smile at me,
I lean over,
The world blurs out of focus again.
It is only love, nothing else.
At the sound of the car
We hastily disengage,
You rearrange your hair.
It is only love, nothing else.
* * *
Then, your parents suspect.
They inspect your mail,
They take counter measures.
It is only love, nothing else.
We meet elsewhere
Whispering in dingy cafes,
Under the waiter's suspicious gaze.
It is only love, nothing else.
Or else outside your college,
Or on a park bench,
Or in a shopping centre on a weekend.
It is only love, nothing else.
On your birthday, before the final exam,
You lie you're at a friend's place,
We meet in an expensive restaurant.
It is only love, nothing else.
In the dim light you say
We can't go on like this.
In silence I stare ahead.
It is only love, nothing else.
* * *
At last it is time to graduate.
You hold my last letter,
Now smudged, tightly to your chest.
It is only love, nothing else.
What will become of me, you wail,
My throat catches too,
The sari slips off your heaving breasts.
It is only love, nothing else.
In a flash, all the memories--
Letters, phone calls, innumerable meetings--
Dart by as we watch, helpless.
It is only love, nothing else.
You resist my caress, at first
But suddenly yield, with vehemence.
It is to be our last embrace.
It is only love, nothing else.
I leave town.
You settle down,
Marrying somebody else.
It is only love, nothing else.

Poem from "The Serene Flame"
Read More at www.makarand.com

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