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Oct 11, 2020

Rama Series

By: Bijay Kant Dubey

Rama Series (Written in continuation of, in commemoration)/ O, Singer of Rama, Strange Singer! People Will Go Away, But Your Song Will Remain It Here/ Song of Rama/ Strange Singer of Rama

I do not write the poems keeping in view the epical formats, but the poems get tagged to naturally to take the canvas and length of epical poems and so the case is with my Rama poems which I have been intermittently to discharge my emotions and feelings just as a compensation for from time to time to recuperate and to recover from tragedy and trauma felt in the aftermath of the loss of lives. How to console the broken self? Where to gather moral strength? How to repair the damage? The haunted houses dilapidated and lying as mouldering heaps of debris and rubble with the input phantom listeners listening and whispering, where to go leaving them? Death is a great leveller and time is the best healer, how to ignore them? My end, I know it well, there is none to be by my side. I do not want to waste my precious time just after engaging with words and if there is something to read and say to, say you definitely passing them on and if not, keep them aside branding it rubbish. And with this, thanks, let me take leave of you!

The Prologue

They Also Sing The Songs of Rama Who Sing In Whispers

They also sing the songs of RamaWho sing in whispers,They also are the devotees of RamaWho sing it silentlyAway from public gaze,Thy also sing the songs of Rama Who sing in whispersThe songs of Rama from farWho we know it notWho they are, who the strange singers of Rama!

Hey, You, O, What Are You Singing?, When Asked, Said He Feebly, The Song of Rama
When I approached himListening to the songWhich he had beenWith so much zest and devotionAnd delightFelt he perturbedAnd started retreating, But I dared ask him, Hey, hey, you, What, what are you singing? , Into whose responseCame it the feeble answer, The song, The song of Rama, The song of Rama, He sang the songWhich but heard IAnd after singing the songfrom the hazy domainWent he away, Went he away that singer, That singer of RamaFor whom still weep I, Break I down! 
O, Singer of Rama, Singer of Rama, Go You Not Away!
O, singer, Singer of Rama, Before you go away, Sing, sing the songBefore you go, go awaySing, sing you the song, Song of your Rama, O, singer, Singer of heartSing, sing youBefore you go awayMaking me hear, hear it! O, singer, Singer of Rama, Your song I knew it not, Heard it not, Came it not to feelThat you, You too a singer, A singer of Rama, A strange but silent singer, Singer of Rama! I do not knowWho you are, What it your identity, What my connection, Connection with you, What my relationship, Relationship with youAs you come it near not, Sing, sing you from far, From farBut appear to be, To be my own! As I can see, See the tears, Tears trickling, Trickling down the cheeks, Tears, Teardrops falling, Falling throughAnd you, You lost, Lost in singing, Singing the songs the of Rama, Silently, All but silently, But so melodiously. As introduce, introduce you not, Who, who you are, What, what your identityJust from far, From farKeep you, Keep you singing, Singing the song, The song of RamaWith so much of zest, So much tearfully, O, my love, My heartbroken loveSo much forlorn and forsaken! 

The Body

O, Singer! Singer of Rama! Sing You! Sing You!
O, singer,Singer of Rama,Sing you, sing youThe songs, songs of Rama!
And as thus go you singing
Refreshing my love
Which I have in my heart
For you, for you!

O, singer,Singer of heart,Singer of soul,I can feel, feel!
The pain of your heart,Your heart and soulThat you how far from me,That you...
O, soul,O, spirit,Departed soul,Departed spirit!
O, singer,Singer of heart,O, singer,Singer of soul,The Holy Spirit!
Whenever disturbed and morose,
I turn, turn to you,
To you,
O holy singer,
Singer of Rama!

They also sing the songs of Rama
Who sing in whispers,
They too the pious men,
Devout fellows!

O Singer of Rama!
O singer,Singer of Rama,Sing you,Sing you the song of Rama!

A Poor Soul He Was But A Unique Singer of Rama

A poor soulHe was but a unique singer,Singer of Rama,The songs of Rama!

So distraught 
And dishevelled in life,
Broken and devastated
A poor singer,
Singer of Rama!

Singing,Singing the song,The song of RamaWith so much delight,So much pain!

When smiled he, smiled I
And clapped with
Singing the song,
The song of Rama 
In zest.

But when wept he, wept IHearing his song,Seeing him weepingInconsolably.

With tears into the eyes of mine,
I trying, trying to console
The broken self of the singer,
The singer of Rama!

O, singer,Singer, weep you,Weep you not,My brother,Weep, weep you not!

Break you not down
Wiping the tears said I,
Said I to console him,
Weep, weep you not!

Stopped he,
Stood he still speechlessly
And thereafter went, went away
That singer, singer of Rama!

Wiping the tears,Wiping it himself,Singing That singer,That singer of Rama!

Wiping the tears,Wiping and singingThe song,The song of Rama!

The traveller from far,
The strange singer of Rama,
That very mysterious singer,
Singer of Rama!

Rama, I Knew It Not, Krishna, I Knew It Not

Rama, I knew it not,
Krishna, I knew it not,
Just said it,
Said it by the way,
Taking it otherwise
That I knew,
Knew it Rama,
That, that I Krishna,
But Rama not my Rama,
Krishna not my Krishna.

But the utmost devotion
With which people love him
Stood it yours,
Only yours,
Rama is not my Rama,
Krishna not my Krishna,
It is not in outward show,
But in the innermost recesses
Of human heart. 

I just boasted it,
Boasted among
That I knew it Rama,
Knew it Krishna,
But Rama is Rama,
Krishna Krishna,
How could I,
Could I
A small man
And can,
Can one the Unknowable?

The Epilogue

O, Singer!

O singer,
Your Rama will remain
Your Rama,
Your Krishna
Your Krishna,
O singer,
None can,
None can
The love,
Love of your heart,
None can,
None can
Your zest,
Zest of singing!

You Went On

You went on,
Went on singing,
Singing and singing,
Singing the songs
Of Rama,
Rama and Krishna,
Krishna and Rama
With so much zest,
So much delight,
Joy and pleasure,
But the wide world,
The wide world knew it,
Knew it not the pains of yours,
The pains of your heart,
Your heart and singing
What it ailed,
Ailed you and your heart,
What it marauded and maligned you,
You and your self,
Poor self
The world,
The world knew,
Knew it not! 

O Singer of Rama, Strange Singer of Rama!

People will come,
People will go away,
But your song,
Song of Rama
Will remain,
Remain it here,
The song,
The song of Rama,
Rama and Krishna,
Krishna and Rama
Will remain,
Remain it her,
O singer,
Singer of Rama,
Rama and Krishna!

Sep 11, 2020

"Krishna" and "Shiva": Aurobindo

By: Bijay Pant Dubey 

Krishna and Shiva by Sri Aurobindo: A Study of His Poems


At last I find a meaning of soul’s birth

Into this universe terrible and sweet,

I who have felt the hungry heart of earth

Aspiring beyond heaven to Krishna’s feet.


I have seen the beauty of immortal eyes,

And heard the passion of the Lover’s flute,

And known a deathless ecstasy’s surprise

And sorrow in my heart for ever mute.


Nearer and nearer now the music draws,

Life shudders with a strange felicity;

All Nature is a wide enamoured pause

Hoping her lord to touch, to clasp, to be.


For this one moment lived the ages past;

The world now throbs fulfilled in me at last.


Krishna is a poem of its type quite reflective of the Aurobindonian style of writing which is reflected in this shorter piece of writing. With Krishna, he is able to think of the soul’s birth into this universe of terrible and sweet experiences and feelings. He has come to feel the hungry heart of the earth moving beyond the heaven to touch the feet of Krishna.  A sonneteer he has concentrated upon Krishna.

He has come to know of the beauty of the immortal eyes and has heard the passion of the Lover’s flute which is but of Krishna famous for His Leela Divine, Premlila, Raaslila. The sorrow in his heart mutes when he comes to feel deathless ecstasy’s surprise.

The music sounds and resounds, vibrates and re-vibrates to encompass and encircle in and life shudders with a strange felicity. All Nature is but the lush creation of his seeking to get affection from Him.

To pick up Aurobindo and to explain, it is  very tedious to dispense with as his approach of handling or craftsmanship mesmerizes with the meditative ascension and descension and goes by the norms of craftsmanship and composition, following the set rules of prosody and rhetoric.



On the white summit of eternity

A single Soul of bare infinities,

Guarded he keeps by a fire-screen of peace

His mystic loneliness of nude ecstasy.

But, touched by an immense delight to be,

He looks across unending depths and sees

Musing amid the inconscient silences

The Mighty Mother’s dumb felicity.


Half now awake she rises to his glance;

Then, moved to circling by her heart-beats’ will,

The rhythmic worlds describe that passion-dance.

Life springs in her and Mind is born; her face

She lifts to Him who is Herself, until

The Spirit leaps into the Spirit’s embrace.


Let us see his Shiva poem! How does he describe it to Shiva? On the white summit of eternity, a single Soul of bare infinities, He is so peaceful and serene, non-disturbed and unmindful of, laying it all to rest. His mystic loneliness is of nude ecstasy and here the line says it all that one could not have as Aurobindo’s is pure meditation and contemplation seen through the prism of yoga and yogic practices. Himself a yogi, the Lord can unto a great level, anywhere He can go wandering and purveying as His range is dimensional. The poet means to hint towards how life was born. How was the universe created? How did the creatures start getting birth? How did the seed germinate? Which came from where? When in delight, Shiva looks across unending depths and sees musing amid the unconscious silences the Mighty Mother’s dumb felicity.

The second part is a study in passion. Arisen and awakened, She rises to His glance and then moves to circling by Her heart-beats’ will giving way to the rhythmic dance of passion. Life springs in Her and the Mind is born. Her face She lifts unto Himself which is but She Herself until the Spirit mingles up in the Spirit.


Shiva too is a poem in consonant with the art and style of Maharshi Aurobindo which he  employs for most of his poems as the study of the classics hangs heavy over him and he draws the things from yogic reflection and transcendental meditation. The present poem too is no variation from that as it too follows it not the mythical context. The other thing is this that Aurobindo is somewhat devoid of sentimentality and emotion. His structure and feeling remain quite the same. Very often he lapses into logic and yoga.

Through a symbolic language the poet takes to Prakriti-Purusha concept, the Lingam-Yoni motif, but in a way of transcendence and that too through a language of illumination. The Shiva-Sati story also dances upon the mind’s plane while taking to it for a study. But Aurobindo sees it all in terms of Mind, Matter, Spirit and Consciousness.  

A sonneteer here he has chosen Shiva to delve deep and dwell upon meditatively following the yogic reflection. Krishna and Shiva are almost alike, shorter poems of reflection where Aurobindo has striven to transcend the heights of sadhna. A certain sense of illumination is so dazzling in his write-ups. Metaphysics is so strong in his poetry which is not so easy to grasp and grapple as a few can comprehend it.



Sep 3, 2020

A Missing Person :Mahapatra

By: Bijay Kant Dubey 

Jayanta Mahapatra is first a poet of Orissa then an Indian writing in English of a national standard famous world-wide, but he was famous even before we recognized him as his poems appeared in the journals before our acknowledgement and acceptance of his poetry and saw the light of the day. He is a poet who draws and derives from imagery, myth and mythicism, history, art and culture and society. A muffled overtone of Vedism, Upanishadism can be heard in his poems.

Apart from that he is a poet of nothingness, empty skies, shadowed reflections, silhouettes, solitary landscapes and so on. Not even that he is in some way a historian of Orissa as he tells about the temples and historical sites of the place together with the geo-political status and nowhere can we find a description of its rivers, lakes, forests, cities, hamlets, hills and rural scapes and spaces as has in his poetry.

He is not only an imagist concerned with mere imagery but is a mythicist, a feminist, a realist, a modernist and a post-modernist too. In his poetry one may find the journey from colonialism to post-colonialism, from modernism to post-modernism and beyond. But we must keep it in mind that word-play and imagery are the things with which he has started the poetic journey of his life.  

A professor of physics who has physics in the classrooms has switched to poetry after evincing an interest in photography and deriving from light and darkness chapters. As the sunlight drizzles, dazzles, brightens, fades and keeps changing and shifting from the dawn-break to the noontime to the twilight so is faith frail and shaky and in between light and darkness lies it the matter of the universe and the particles.

A poet of Udaygiri, Khandagiri, Konark, Puri, Bhubaneswar, he is a historiographer and is connected with racial and ethnic things of the community dwelling for ages and ages. The defeat of Kalinga, the Ganga kings, the Kharvel kings, all these he talks of indirectly, referring to art and architecture. The Rathyatra recurs time and again and he cannot forget the festivity connected with the gala ceremony and the sea of people offering prayers and moving with, the mammoth crowd following the chariot seating Jagannatha, Balabhadra and Subhadra.

But one should not forget it to put it before that he is very, very personal and private in his writing of poetry as because these arise out of his own brooding and reflection confiding in them  so. As a poet he is one of vacant reflections and broodings. The image of Gandhi hangs over and he has not forgotten the Gandhian myths and principles comparing and contrasting them with the values and ideals of modern men and their society.

Today India is free, but the poet wants to know, what have we for the poorer and weaker sections of society? How have we grappled with poverty and unemployment? So as a result of that, hunger, poverty, starvation, underdevelopment, backwardness, moral depravity, mental perversity and so on find an expression into the poetic texture of his poetry. What it pains him most is the poor condition of women. What is it in the fate of a woman? What the palmist is reading from the frail hand of the poor and small Indian girl? The crisscrosses of her fate who can it about? To read him is to feel what we have for the widows, women and poor daughters.

Apart from all that, he is so privately reflective when he takes up or deals with the intricacies of relations and bodily twitches and sensuality. As a poet, Mahapatra is not only Wordsworhtian, Keatsian and Yeastsian, but Lawrentine too as the pulls of dark consciousness and bodily love have not left him behind.

Who the missing person is? An Indian rural woman.
She cannot speak the name of her husband, but the tattoo on the hand telling it all.
In a lightless house, what to speak about her personality?
In the dark room, can she see her image in the mirror?
But she also has an independent soul and body which we do not.

A Missing Person
In the darkened room
a woman
cannot find her reflection in the mirror

waiting as usual
at the edge of sleep

In her hands she holds
the oil lamp
whose drunken yellow flames
know where her lonely body hides
A Missing Person as a poem is completely an image; a photograph snapped and cleaned with the image cast over paper. In the dark room a woman cannot find her reflection in the mirror. She is waiting as well as is feeling sleepy and drowsy which is but quite natural for a woman.

Into her hands there is an oil lamp burning dimly whose yellow flames know it where she hides her body, where she rests.

This is the crux of the poem said so symbolically and imagistically. The whole poem is an image, a portrait of a woman, an Indian woman, a village woman, her activity, her life and routine together with many things, said or unsaid, described or undescribed.

How were the villages of ours? How had it been our countryside, far flung at secluded places away from roads? The people were even unable to burn oil lamps. Where would they kerosene from? They used to burn somehow. Most of the houses used to lurk in darkness. What would one do in mud and thatched houses? An Indian woman just could know her master and none the else attaching so much importance. He was almost like God to her. She was not even allowed to speak the name of her husband. As a silent persona she used to pass her days without any name or fame. Sometimes the tattoo used to tell about the name of her husband with the hand shown to.

Whatever be that, A Missing Person is symbolic, imagistic of an Indian woman leading her life without any entity of her own. The house is her boundary, periphery; the area of her working which but she cannot trespass it. To wait for the master, the return of his is the end of all. 
Exhausted with daylong labour, she feels drowsy in the poor oil lamp light, but instead of that waits for his return. The dark room, flickering yellow flames of the oil lamp, the lonely body, etc. are but the images.

A countryside rural space Indian woman without name or identity living in a nondescript Indian village where the people go half-clothed, half-fed living below the poverty line, without light, books or modern resources, living an agricultural life is the chief attraction of the story here. Just after when it is dark the whole village lapses into a slumber for want of resources and availability of things. Those who have not lived in villages will not come to feel it how life is hard therein.

It is true that she is an Indian woman without any personality of her own, without any entity or identity of her own. In the room dark where there is no light how to see her face in the mirror? So, what can will she do?

But one should keep it in mind that she is also after all a body, a soul. She too has a personality of her own. She too has a space of her own which we allow her not to use. But the light swaying knows the swerves of the body, the swerves of the spirit. Why to throttle her liberty? How not to liberate her to some extent? We could not think all that. We could not feel about all that. Let her have her own existence. She has also a heart to feel. She has also a mind to speak.

An Indian village woman living a life without any personality and identity of her own is the thing of deliberation. How the Indian women have lived in the nondescript villages, passed their days in utter neglect, poverty, hunger, underdevelopment, scarcity of food and resources? But apart from a body, she is also a soul and a spirit. She has also a soul, a spirit of own which but we do not know it.

There is really some outstanding merit in the poetry of Jayanta Mahapatra which but he exposes them indirectly the evils and wrongs of our society. We have not given rights to the women which they deserve it as human beings. We have deprived them of their rights. We have suppressed and oppressed them for centuries. But they too are men, human beings. They too have separate bodies and souls and spirits. This but we do not know it. A feminist, a realist he can really light upon the darker areas, what it ails our society and its set of odd and awkward, irrelevant morals which have become obsolete and utterly inhuman.

What is love, lost love? Can it be not of remembrance and memory?
How the emotions and feelings of it, the sympathies of bonding and affection?
Time flies, but memories remain, the mementoes of it.
The pages from an old diary, an album of old photographs.
The residues of meaning remain it here.

Of that Love
Of that love, of that mile 
walked together in the rain, 
only a weariness remains.

I am that stranger now
my mirror holds to me;
the moment's silence
hardly moves across the glass.
I pity myself in another's guise.

And no one's back here, no one
I can recognize, and from my side
I see nothing. Years have passed
since I sat with you, watching
the sky grow lonelier with cloudlessness,
waiting for your body to make it lived in.

How beautiful is the line when the poet starts with ‘Of that love’ walked together, shared together just as a discussion going on, fragrant with the remembrance of the days of sweet love and loving and the exchange of words made cordially conjuring upon the mind’s plane and he switching over to confide in. Such a poem it is difficult to come across and see, such a poem it is difficult to mark as the style of expression and the art of presentation are so bold and prominent. One can hardly write such a text so full of sweet memory and remembrance plodding through the corridors and lanes and by lanes of memory reflecting and brooding in his way with so much dreamy sequence and impact to be exerted.

Only weariness remains and this the extant of that, only repentance remains it that it could not. This is but the residue of meaning what it lingers on with as a remnant of all that happened, gone or past.

'Of that Love' is a remembrance, a sweet memory of that love which but existed once, of that love which bound both of them into an emotional bonding, sympathetic bond, but that love is gone perhaps, where is she now? He just remembers. It can also felt for someone whom one loves by heart and soul. The poem is so much subjective and objective too.

The poem is just like a dramatic monologue of Robert browning, the poem is just lie the Lucy poem of Wordsworth. It is also a fact people turn into strangers in course of time failing to recognize each other. How does time fly away? How do the memories remain it here? Man grows old. Things get lost. But memories leave you not.

He has now turned into stranger as he sees it in the mirror of time and reflection. The moment’s silence hardly moves over the glass. What had thought and what did it happen, take place? How had he dreamt and how did it happen? The turns of events, how to take to? How do the things take a turn?

The story does not stop it here, finish it, close it. No one is back here one who has gone. None can he recognize after a gap of time. From his side he sees it nothing. Everything has but come to a close. The story is finished now. Years have gone since he saw, watching the sky grow lonelier with cloudlessness, and waiting for her body to make it lived again.

The poem is just one from a diary remembering and thinking and going through what it happened once. Time has slipped, years have gone away, only the memories and reflections remain with to go by.

I said---Then, dearest, since 'tis so,
Since now at length my fate I know,
Since nothing all my love avails,
Since all, my life seemed meant for, fails,
Since this was written and needs must be---
My whole heart rises up to bless
Your name in pride and thankfulness!
Take back the hope you gave,---I claim
---Only a memory of the same,
---And this beside, if you will not blame,
Your leave for one more last ride with me.

My mistress bent that brow of hers;
Those deep dark eyes where pride demurs
When pity would be softening through,
Fixed me, a breathing-while or two,
With life or death in the balance: right!
The blood replenished me again;
My last thought was at least not vain:
I and my mistress, side by side
Shall be together, breathe and ride,
So, one day more am I deified.
Who knows but the world may end tonight?
               ----Robert Browning in The Last Ride Together

That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall,
Looking as if she were alive. I call
That piece a wonder, now; Fra Pandolf’s hands
Worked busily a day, and there she stands.
Will’t please you sit and look at her? I said
“Fra Pandolf” by design, for never read
Strangers like you that pictured countenance,
The depth and passion of its earnest glance,
But to myself they turned (since none puts by
The curtain I have drawn for you, but I)
-----Robert Browning in My Last Duchess

Myth, whose myth, where’s?
The myths of life, snow-capped peaks of mountains and the caves of sadhus meditating
How the mystery of Nature and creation bewitching it all?
How the myths embroidered with motifs?
Where to now? Annapurna and Dhaulagiri.    
An Odia Christian, how could he write such a poem, we wonder, wonder!
A professor of physics, how could he envisage such a poem!

Years drift sluggishly through the air,
is a chanting, the long years, an incense.
Face upon face returns to the barbed horizons
of the foggy temple; here lies
a crumpled leaf, a filthy scarlet flower
out of placeless pasts, on the motionless stairs.
                                                  Old brassy bells
moulded by memories, dark, unfulfilled,
to make the year come back again
a recurring prayer.
                                                  The stairs seem endless,
                    and those peaks too, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri;
uncertain, impressive as gods.
                                                  I dare not go
into the dark, dank sanctum
                    where the myth shifts
swiftly from hand to hand, eye to eye.
                                                  The dried, sacrificed
flowers smile at me. I have become;
                                                  a diamond in my eye.
Vague grieving years pit against the distant peaks
like a dying butterfly
                                                  as a bearded, saffron-robed
man asks me, firmly:
                                                  Are you a Hindoo?

Myth is but a Yeastsian poem making us elucidate what a myth is, how the base and context of it, taking us to relate it in an archetypal and customary way. What is it held as a type symbolic of and representing the content?

Myth as a poem is actually a myth of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna, the snow-clad mountain peaks and ranges, Himalayan sights and scenery and the mythic ice connected with that. Trekking the routes to, he treks the stories of Hindu myth and mysticism coming down to us since times immemorial. The years which seem to be passing almost look like a chanting going, continuing for and the long years gone and past seem to be the incense burning around and the scent coming to as carried by the wind, its wisps and whiffs. Such is the mythical aroma and perfume doing the rounds. Here lies a crumpled flower, there lies a crumpled flower and leaf. The face after face which it seems to be hanging over tries to look into the landscape taking them to the barbed  horizons of the foggy temples. But the old brassy bells moulded by memories, dark and unfulfilled make the years come back again appearing to be a recurring prayer. The stairs to trek and go along appear to be long and tiresome and tedious, enough time to take in bearing the hazards and perils of the journey to be undertaken. The peaks themselves are as impressive as the gods appear to be speaking and the environment as if it were a place of godliness. What to say about the place? He dares not go into the dark and cold sanctum sanctorium where the myth seems to be shifting from hand to hand, eye to eye. There the dried flowers appear to smile at him again the moment he changes into a diamond. Vague grieving years pit against the distant peaks like a dying butterfly when a bearded, saffron-robed man enquires him if he is a Hindoo. The situation is just like that of Yesudas of South India, a classical singer whether to be allowed in a temple or not.

Myth is definitely one of the greatest poems ever written in the history of mythical poetry cutting the ice of Himalayan wisdom and meditation taking the readers to Dhavalgiri and Annapurna. If it is not called poetry, where poetry will be found? In this context Eliot’s reference to the gathering of black clouds over Himavant and the reference to Meru by Yeats dance before the eyes. The caves, places, scenarios, panoramas, mountains, caves, etc. are as such that these themselves with the pristine Nature fill a sense of purity and serenity within ourselves. The lookers, visitors feel appalled to see the scenery and sights.




Sep 1, 2020

The Patriot: Nissim Ezekiel

 By: Bijay Kant Dubey

Understanding Gandhi and Gandhigiri, What Is It Gandhism And Gandhianness: A Study In Nissim Ezekiel’s The Patriot (A Post-truth Evaluation)

I am standing for peace and non-violence.

Why world is fighting fighting
Why all people of world
Are not following Mahatma Gandhi,
I am simply not understanding.
Ancient Indian Wisdom is 100% correct,
I should say even 200% correct,
But modern generation is neglecting -
Too much going for fashion and foreign thing.
Other day I'm reading newspaper
(Every day I'm reading Times of India
To improve my English Language)
How one goonda fellow
Threw stone at Indirabehn.
Must be student unrest fellow, I am thinking.
Friends, Romans, Countrymen, I am saying (to myself)
Lend me the ears.
Everything is coming -
Regeneration, Remuneration, Contraception.
Be patiently, brothers and sisters.
You want one glass lassi?
Very good for digestion.
With little salt, lovely drink,
Better than wine;
Not that I am ever tasting the wine.
I'm the total teetotaller, completely total,
But I say
Wine is for the drunkards only.
What you think of prospects of world peace?
Pakistan behaving like this,
China behaving like that,
It is making me really sad, I am telling you.
Really, most harassing me.
All men are brothers, no?
In India also
Gujaratis, Maharashtrians, Hindiwallahs
All brothers -
Though some are having funny habits.
Still, you tolerate me,
I tolerate you,
One day Ram Rajya is surely coming.
You are going?
But you will visit again
Any time, any day,
I am not believing in ceremony
Always I am enjoying your company.

The Patriot is one of those poems of Nissim Ezekiel which remind us of the use and application of wit, humour and irony, fun, pun and caricature as he does in his other poems in Background Casually, Goodbye Party For Miss Pushpa T.S., The Railway Clerk, The Professor and so on other than Marriage, Enterprise and Philosophy where the moral sense is so strong writing with a didactic purpose to instruct and impart. But in the poems dealing with the sense of humour and irony, he has tried to take up conversational English as the medium of his expression as Kipling has, Khushwant Singh too has. Here the patriot is not the Irish ragged man as the patriot of Lady Gregory in The Rising of The Moon one-act play nor the loyal Irish sergeant working for the British who too is not less than in duty and loyalties.

Let us see who is loyal to whom and working under whose obligation? Whose allegiance where is it? What it colonial, post-colonial. How the pre-Gandhian, the post-Gandhian stages? How was the freedom struggle and who fought for whom?

If he was a freedom fighter for us, he was but a rebel, a revolutionary in the eyes of the British. A Gandhian shisya, he was no doubt a follower of Gandhi and Gandhian principles rather than knowing other political gurus morally so sound.

So a Gandhian patriot, freedom fighter, an Indian patriot, freedom fighter here is the point of deliberation and the poet has chosen him for delving deeply into the freedom stories. If to see it differently, Gandhian politics too is not less than a spectacle so theatrical to be staged and enacted. Gandhian drama is no less than a romance where the followers and the old man with the danda and the charkha enacted it well. Something was definitely serious and something was definitely amusing. Let us see in the age of post-truth evaluation. Let us see the poem colonizing and de-colonizing the spirit. Let us read it from the insider and the outsider points of view as Nissim Ezekiel too was not an Indian, but an alien insider, a Jew living in India just like the British.

Who is what fighter time will say that. When they fought for freedom, the time had been of theirs. But when India became free, India switched it from Gandhi to Nehru and the power was transferred. Gandhi too did not take the responsibility of leading the nation, left it into the hands of Nehru willing to sit on chair from the beginning. It fell into our duty to take the nation as we liked it to re-build.

The Patriot is a portrait of an Indian patriot, a freedom fighter, a Gandhian follower into the footsteps of Gandhi, a Ram-bhakta hanuman, one going by the Gandhian principles as shown thorough the emblem, the replica, Gandhiji ke tin bandar, bura mat dekho, bur mat kaho, bura mat shuno.

In the poem The Patriot we see the criticism of Gandhi, Gandhism and Gandhian followers. What do the critics say, the critics of Gandhi say it in his life-time, how do they say it now too as everything is not in praise. Kabir too talks of keeping a critic stationed in a cottage specially built and thatched for him in the courtyard of his house. Do not be upset with. Let us see what does a humorist also say it about? The humorist too has a say and style of his own as we cannot glue to ideals and values all the time. Can we remain serious for all the time? Jokes, humours, laughters and comics too have warmth of their own. We need to laugh too, we need to be happy sometimes offloading the load and taxation of day-to-day life, shrugging off the monotony and drudgery as we feel it in common life.

Do the look-alike people not give the poses and postures of Gandhi on the eve of Gandhi Jayanti? Some children too part like little Gandhijis with the dhoti, lathi and specs. And from Gandhi we have found it Gandhigiri as a modern idiom. So, the matter keeps turning around in this way or that way. If we go by Sudhir Kakar, he will definitely psycho-analyse Gandhi and his relations going by Freud and Jung. Orwell too has talked of him critically s well as logically the secret of his gat milk.

The Gandhian mass of that time was but a superstitious mass, a casteist mass believing in karma-dharma, Rahu-Kertu and fate-lines totally new to logic and reasoning and the India they lived in was a slumbering nation. Superstitions used to do the rounds combined with racism, ethnic divide, casteism, fatalism, inaction, lethargy, illiteracy, poverty, hunger, underclothing, food problem, living below the poverty line. Pundits, astrologers and palmists, oracle-hearers, soothsayers and fortune-tellers pleased them all.

Side by side it is also a fact that Nissim Ezekiel is but an alien insider and he has seen India just as a foreigner sees India, but all the foreigners are not alike too. A Jew he went by his urbanity and modernity and from modern city-living he viewed it all. He was conservative and orthodox as he came not to feel it India, ancient Indian wisdom and thought so heartily and remained a minority man unto the end in some respect although he taught us to be modern and up-to-date.

Do the sculptors not make the busts and torsos of Gandhi? They too study it well before carving, chiselling the sculptures. Do the costume-directors not think of cloth and dressing before giving a look to the troupes? Everyone has got an art of own. Had the British been otherwise, they would have eliminated Gandhi, but they too used to love and like him whatever say we about their suppression and oppression. India too was a White man’s burden is nothing to be shrugged off and denied; its poverty and backwardness as it had regressed during the medieval age while on the other hand they also liked it not to settle here and to accept it as their own motherland.

The patriot says it in the poem that he is all for Gandhism, Gandhian principles and philosophy. He abides by the precepts and lessons given by him; what the master has about non-violence,  peace and truth, ahimsha, shantih and satya and he cannot understand why are there so much troubles in the world, why does the world keep fighting in between, what the causes of enmity and tussle. Why do they not look into the matter, come to the table and settle it amicably as per the Gandhian philosophy and politics? Why do they not derive from him as his is ancient wisdom what he has from Indian thought and tradition. Indian wisdom is hundred percent correct. What to say about hundred, it is even more than, two hundred percent correct. But the modern generation is completely unaware of that as they like to go matter the European manner and style, fashion and clothing avoiding the native, swadeshi and khadi things, neglecting Bhartiyata. Take it my example, I keep reading the Times of India daily as for to improve my English, the patriot puts it before. Why do they not do it? When will their English be strong? What he knows it, the present generation knows it not. The patriot is also sorry to say how someone has hurled a stone on Indira Behan. Is it correct to hurl? This is not the proper way of showing discontent. They are but miscreants, rogues; goons and goondaism is not the all. We too understand it that the age is changing, the times are also not so. They are in the need of job and employment. Student unrest must be redressed. Generation, regeneration, these are bound to go by and we cannot check the flux of time. In order to be cool and healthy, we must take lassi rather than wine which but many have become addicted to which is but a perverse habit we have lapsed into. We must abstain from. Wine is for the drunkards, not for the common people. We are all one, the Maharashtrians, the Gujaratis and the Hindiwallahs. We are brothers and sisters, as you might heard, mere bhayion aur behano, a leader addressing with all that in the likewise manner. Why do China and Pakistan behave like this? Why are they so disturbing? This is just by the way he said all that. There is nothing to worry. The funny things must be said in the funniest way and he has all that just by the way. When will the Ram Rajya come? This is the last wish to see. When will the heaven come upon the earth and the men be executing their works sinlessly? Will he able to live up to see or not, God knows it, the Almighty, who is above and over us can say it all.

The Patriot is a caricature of Indian English as well as the patriot the protagonist or spokesman under our discussion. How do we speak English as ours is Hindustani English, how do we tag and join to express with inadequate vocabulary and syntax. We labour for an expression as English is not our tongue.

The patriot is not a rugged Irish freedom fighter, but an Indian Gandhian in his attire and with a danda striding from Dandi March to the attending of the Round Table Conference, but later on drawing pension too for being a fighter and one will naturally if one grows old and runs out of time. How long will philosophy and principle keep serving one if one is in old age and harness?

The man who is not a Gandhi critic, a Gandhist or a lover of Gandhian way and art of living may not take to the criticism of it. The poem entitled The Patriot is as such if we sit to evaluate and assess it in the right perspective it is but a poem of Gandhi and Gandhism, Gandhian studies and Gandhian philosophy. The point may be it that Nissim a modern boy has tried to understand Gandhism in his modern way following the ironical, jocular technique. Only the pure Gandhists will explain Gandhi this too cannot be. The poet here through the freedom fighter, the patriot is saying the things of his heart and mind, making it a criticism of the followers. Did Subhas Chandra Bose not differ with Gandhi? Subhas was a Shakta as he was from whereas Gandhi adhered to the Vaishnava tradition and believe you it or not, the diet too plays a role in giving to temperament. It was a mistake of Gandhi he sided with Nehru rather than Bose. But Bose too was of the rebellious temperament whereas Gandhi was simple and lowly. One may question definitely after going through the whole panorama whether there leaders before Gandhi. One doubt if Gandhism was a drama, even though not, it seemed to be to some extent, the call given and the people following in large numbers, taking to as the Bible’s words. Sometimes we do not like it the overacting of Gandhi, the inspector came, asked to write and the teacher told him to copy from, but he did not which but does not appeal to as one should show one too much. On this point we may question, why did you make the teacher trapped and held guilty? Why did Gandhi not study it well before coming to class? The dichotomy to feel, was Gandhi a politician or was he a saint, what was he?  Was it not pagletgiri to stay half-clothed during the winter shivering with cold, a gimmick in itself? But in pagletgirti lies it Gandhigiri, the tenacity to do it anyhow; the power of endurance and sustenance very important for survival strategies and struggle for existence.


Frankly speaking, I too had the chances of meeting and sharing with the freedom fighters, but could not adjust with them, the old trendy Indian thoughts. Some of them were really Gandhians, but many of them illiterate and foolish, stubborn and obstinate. Needless to say a few of them appeared to be hypocritical and pontifical. But some of them were no doubt gentle and noble.

Is Gandhism for the Gandhian scholars or for all? Anybody can give opinion on it as I think it so. Let them also see who want to criticize him, make a fresh evaluation of his. What is in a name? What in the image iconic or rudimentary? The iconography of Gandhi, how to idolize it, Gandhi as in a book of biography and life stories; Gandhi in the autobiography? Gandhi was not Gandhi, but it was the followers who made him great. Had the critics been not, could he have been Gandhi, what we see him today? Let the humorist too imitate him and emulate him. Did he not the English ways and manners of life when he was in England? Gandhi in dhoti and shawl and specs is it not all. There was a Gandhi dressed like an Englishman in the coat and the pants of the earlier stages which but we have forgotten it, the husband of Kasturba Gandhi.

What is patriotism? Who is a patriot? Does the definition of it change it too from time to time? If a freedom fighter outlives, how will the people view him? The poem is a discussion on patriotism and leader worship.

Once Gandhi used to defend the people in South Africa as a lawyer and had been connected with in many ways. Now when the statue has been removed from Ghana Univ. campus, the time too has come for our arguments instead of the fact that time keeps positioning and repositioning things whatever be our proposition or disposition.

Nissim Ezekiel too would have been aware of the strength and robust physique of the Indian patriots who would have driven the British from just with the body built from taking milk, ghee, mattha, sherbet and lassi and the Indian danda in hands. It is also a fact some of them very rural, blunt and litigant beyond doubt. Suppose if give you wine to him you might have to take a danda which Nissim knows it not. The poet speaks about Indirabehn but we are not sure of what sort of sister is it Miss Pushpa whom he is going to bid goodbye and to see her off at the airport.

Let us see how the patriot not, but Nissim Ezekiel in the disguise of him begins the dialogue:

I am standing for peace and non-violence.
Why world is fighting fighting
Why all people of world
Are not following Mahatma Gandhi,
I am simply not understanding.
Ancient Indian Wisdom is 100% correct,
I should say even 200% correct,

The conversation replete with Indianness makes us burst into laughter and we cannot hold ourselves from laughing. We smile to read the lines and hear the patriot speaking. This is how the Indians talk; how they speak in English laboriously.

Let us see what the patriot feels about the modern generation:

But modern generation is neglecting -
Too much going for fashion and foreign thing.
Other day I'm reading newspaper
(Every day I'm reading Times of India
To improve my English Language)
How one goonda fellow
Threw stone at Indirabehn.
Must be student unrest fellow, I am thinking.

The patriot shows it that he can even go through the Times of India. One should not take him otherwise. He is even now trying his best to improve his English. But what it pains him most is this that one goonda fellow has thrown stone at Indirabehn which he should not have. But who is this Indira Gandhi? She is but the daughter of Nehru whom Gandhi used to love and like most as his political heir.

Friends, countrymen, comrades and Romans whoever be you, one must heed to him and try to see his experience of serving the nation as he can feel the pulse of the nation and the world:

Friends, Romans, Countrymen, I am saying (to myself)
Lend me the ears.
Everything is coming -
Regeneration, Remuneration, Contraception.

The patriot addresses as my dear brothers and sisters and advises to be patient and bearing upon with:

Be patiently, brothers and sisters.
You want one glass lassi?
Very good for digestion.
With little salt, lovely drink,
Better than wine;
Not that I am ever tasting the wine.

He will never counsel to take wine. It is better to take lassi, sherbet and milk. If one does not get cow milk, one may goat milk as Gandhi used to take and this the secret of his strength.

Take the example of his as he abstains from everything and is a teetotaller:

I'm the total teetotaller, completely total,
But I say
Wine is for the drunkards only.

Wine, alcohol, liquor are only for the drunkards and drunkenness is at the root of all evils. Where is the current generation going to? If they fall into bad habits, what will they do? If they take fast foods, how will their body develop?

Apart from a patriot, he too thinks of world politics as he might have heard during the Gandhian period about the Great Wars and other European nations, even going beyond the saat samudras in idea:

What you think of prospects of world peace?
Pakistan behaving like this,
China behaving like that,
It is making me really sad, I am telling you.
Really, most harassing me.

But the activities of China and Pakistan disturb him most. It saddens him when he sees them invading or attacking or engaged in warfare:

India is of all, all are but brothers and sisters, be they the Hindiwallahs, Banglawallahs or any other so on:

All men are brothers, no?
In India also
Gujaratis, Maharashtrians, Hindiwallahs
All brothers -
Though some are having funny habits.
Still, you tolerate me,
I tolerate you,

Instead of regional and provincial differences seen in terms of food, costume, living, manner, speaking, gesture, look and accent, the things must be tolerated and sorted out cordially.

The Gandhian or Indian dream of Ram Rajya he has not forgotten it:

One day Ram Rajya is surely coming.
You are going?
But you will visit again
Any time, any day,
I am not believing in ceremony
Always I am enjoying your company.

When will the Ram Rajya dawn upon? Where is it? Is it not a utopia? Whenever he finds time to meet him, he can the patriot as there is nothing that to stay withdrawn and secluded from. He is ever ready to counsel and advise if one feels to get it from; ever ready to share his experiences and feelings. The listener is welcome to meet and his doors are open for him, any time, any day he may visit him. He does not believe in ceremonious meetings just meant for the freedom fighters and patriots to meet them on the dais. The patriot likes to enjoy the company rather than anything and what else to do with too.   

It will better if we go through the two stanzas of ‘The Patriot’ written by Robert Browning:

Alack, it was I who leaped at the sun
To give it my loving friends to keep!
Nought man could do, have I left undone:
And you see my harvest, what I reap
This very day, now a year is run.

There's nobody on the house-tops now---
Just a palsied few at the windows set;
For the best of the sight is, all allow,
At the Shambles' Gate---or, better yet,
By the very scaffold's foot, I trow.

But the patriot of Robert Browning taking a U-turn and that too through a dramatic monologue   deplores for the bravery shown as because nothing stays it here and everything is but circumstantial, occasional and situational and opinions keep varying from time to time and none can say it what will it remain what.

Aug 29, 2020

Brahma: Emerson

By: Bijay Kant Dubey 

If the red slayer think he slays,
Or if the slain think he is slain,
They know not well the subtle ways
I keep, and pass, and turn again.

Far or forgot to me is near;
Shadow and sunlight are the same;
The vanished gods to me appear;
And one to me are shame and fame.

They reckon ill who leave me out;
When me they fly, I am the wings;
I am the doubter and the doubt,
I am the hymn the Brahmin sings.

The strong gods pine for my abode,
And pine in vain the sacred Seven;
But thou, meek lover of the good!
Find me, and turn thy back on heaven.

How did he come to write Brahma? How were the feelings going within, the undercurrents of thought and idea that he could accomplish about so many years ago when the world knew it not all, when the world was not new? How did he work on Orientalism? It is really a matter of reckoning. Why did he choose Brahma? Did he mean to give a new direction and impetus to American poetry?  Did he attempt to comprehend the creational force, trying to delve into the mysteries and myths of life and death and the world? How the phenomena, the perspectives and realms laid bare, attempted, un-attempted, muffling the truth though cannot be resolved as it is known to all? Instead of it, he tries to have a tryst with the Creational Divine.

Brahma, the Creator of the Universe, the Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent God is the speaker of the poem, the spokesman, the mouthpiece and the poet speaking through make it available the sermon. The concept is, Brahma is the creator of all; everything but into the hands of his.

There is a little bit confusion with regard to the title. Is it about Brahma? Brahma the Hindu God of Creation or Brahma, Brahman, the Over Mind, the Over Soul or the realization of the cosmos within, what is it? What is Brahma or Brahman if thought here as the Universal Soul, the Universal Mind felt within the self, the human soul will relate to as such. But here as words show it there lie in the creational matter as of Brahma, the Maker of the Universe without whose blessings the creative cannot be imagined.

If the red slayer thinks that he can slay and the slain taking it for being killed as there is no way out of, it must be kept in mind that the things keep rounding about, rotating; the things are not so as they seem to be. The Wheel of Fate keeps it rotating and it is difficult to say what is whose lot? The slayer too has nothing to be proud of and the slain too need not to be lowly and annihilated. The god of death may be credited with the limiting of one’s time-span and the cutting short of the drama of life. But to Brahma the slayer and the slain are alike. He sees the slain  too with the same eyes as his blessings are for all.

What to say about the farthest most and what about the nearest ones? He can see it all, foresee and oversee, what it happening, what it to take place, a knower of it all. Nothing is unseen from him; nothing hidden from him. Shadow and sunlight are but the sides of the same element. A cyclic order of the same; the two parts of the same thing, is the matter to be understood. Even gods vanished appear to him as he can feel about. Shame and fame are too but one to him. The world is a lila as this has to go. Things cannot come to a stop and this is called creation.

Those who know him not know it nothing; the universal energy, the life force. What it to say, that creational   force which one assumes or not. To be creative is to think in a new way based on supposition and presumption opening the avenues of thought and idea and a plethora thereafter.

It is without doubt a poem of Brahma that he got to write after reading the Upanishads, the Bhagavad-Gita and so on. In Hinduism, Brahma is one of the Trinity, Brahma, Vishnu, Maheshwara. If Brahma is the Creator of the Universe, Vishnu is the Preserver and Mahesh the Destroyer. When we think of Brahma, the lotus like imagery, fancy and imagination will definitely be our properties to dispense and deal with. He is both the doubter and the doubt. The Brahmins pray to him most and sing of his glory.

The gods pine for his seat and place, the sacred seven sages too keep thinking about, but he has his own realms to delve into, the fancies to dip into, whims and whiffs to feel and go by, dreams to adorn, imagination to add to and to create and re-create fashioning it all afresh. Man as meek adorer of the good with belief in the heaven must try to find him. One can feel the beauty of the Creation in his works.

A poem of Brahma and his Brahmanda, it is really one of the transcendental poems pre-dating Eliot’s The Waste Land and Yeats’ Meru. Still the people say it as hearsay, Brahma’s writ as he is the doer, nurturer and the unseen fate of all that it happens, takes place. The first stanza of the poem sets the theme rolling:

If the red slayer think he slays,
Or if the slain think he is slain,
They know not well the subtle ways
I keep, and pass, and turn again.

The proposition with which the poem begins is stupendous. If the slayer thinks that he kills is but the mistake of his and if the slain thinks, he is killed and hopeless and helpless this too is a mistake on his part to think as Brahma’s work is to create, fashion it fresh and the Creator never disheartens anyone. He keeps, passes and turns again.

The lines quoted below tell of how his doubts and the things doubted are substantial to his understanding of the Creation:

I am the doubter and the doubt,
I am the hymn the Brahmin sings.

But one must try to follow him to be endowed and bestowed upon:

But thou, meek lover of the good!
Find me, and turn thy back on heaven.

When Emerson wrote it few could know it about as such was the celestial fire in him, which kept burning to show it light to the world. We are really proud of finding an Orientalist in him. What we the Indians failed to comprehend, Emerson took to his grasp and understanding. Still now his Brahma is debated and discussed and the readers fail to understand what it is in the poem; what it is that he has written deriving from Hindu texts and mythology. But we are sure of it too that even in future the coming generations will keep debating and discussing what it is in Emerson’s Brahma; why has he written it and has titled so. And as thus his Brahma has turned into an American Brahma, showing light to man, delving deep into the ideas, thoughts and reflections of life, death and the world.

How could he write the poem? How the orign and source of his that he took the notes from to draft it titling Brahma? Really, Emerson was an American pundit, Brahmin; a poet of the Over Mind, the Over Soul; an Orientalist par excellence; an transcendentalist American scholar rarely to be found in the history of letters and poetry who had definitely been ahead of time and his age.


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