Pratirodh ka Stree Swar: Samkaleen Hindi Kavita

    By Savita Singh

    Vandana Tete

    Fearless

    River is fearless in the bosom of the mountain
    Mountain fearless in the lap of the forest
    Forest is fearless in the shadow of the sky
    Sky is fearless in the infinity of the universe
    Universe fearless in the languages of ancestors
    Ancestral l languages are fearless in the living and non-living expressions
    And, Expressions are fearless in the continual flow of rivers.
    (Translated by Sundar Manoj Hembrom)

    Savita Singh

    Sleeplessness

    Assuage my sorrow, my country

    Ask less of me.
    How your residents are rendered feeble
    for the joys of the few.
    Famished days; and nights, the same,
    For the satisfaction of such few stomachs
    Jungle after jungle replete
    with cartridges and rifles
    The trees are awake all night
    Nothing is able to stay
    neither men, nor women, nor children
    nor the night, nor its mystery.
    Night, like a plastic flower, is
    now an ordinary thing.
    The dream remains pierced in its eye
    (Trans by Medha Singh )

    Jacinta Kerketta

    Adivasi women 

    In a poem travelling through a tribal village,
    Some people are looking for
    The bare back of a tribal woman bathing in the river
    Soaked to the skin, on her way home some young girl,
    Having wrapped in just a piece of cloth her figure.

    Some are now trying to find in the poem
    Gotul, Dhumkuriya, Gitij Orah,
    And people dancing around fire all night,
    Chests gleaming like gold in the yellow light,
    And a carefree smile, almost spark-like.

    Two quiet eyes of a scared girl, sneaking
    From behind a wall in the morning
    And shying away into the house
    Catching sight of a stranger.

    When she comes out ever so slowly,
    Laughs, talks to him cheerfully,
    And while chatting and laughing,
    Touches his shoulder unthinkingly.
    He takes it to be
    A simplicity cheap and easy,
    And in turn begins
    To run his fingers down her back lustfully.

    Years after, in his wanton sleep
    He still seeks that girl’s back,
    Her hands brushing his shoulder frequently,
    A carefree naivity,
    A simplicity,
    Which he always considered cheap and easy.

    Waking from his sleep he is dazed,
    No such girl does he find
    In any poem these days.
    The poem carves his back with a scythe,
    All his perverted fingers it breaks,
    And out loud it cries,
    Stop looking for tribal women in poems
     (no. 52 in forthcoming book, transl. by Bhumika Chawla-d’Souza )

    Shubha

    Cannibal

    He abducts a six year old girl
    Bloodies her, wipes his penis
    Reaches home, washes up and has his meal
    He lives like a good man Good men also think
    He is a good man.
    (Trans by Savita Singh)

    Sushila Takbhore

    Sanitation Workers during Pandemic

    These are untouchable now as then
    Risking their lives, serving humanity
    No facilities even now for them
    Even though called soldiers of the nation
    Akin to doctors and policemen
    But are they truly so respected
    Media showers them these days with flowers
    One wonders if they would retain this dignity later
    For even now
    While others get leave with salary, not them
    And, Savarna’s will never do the sanitation work
    Even Pandemic cannot conceal the difference

    How lowly is this work!

    How lowly this life!
    Should it not end now, the system of caste,
    Should Corona not alert us to our common humanity?
    Telos of life!
    (Trans. By Savita Singh)

    Ruchi Bhalla

    A KAFIR SAID 

    You can call Agra as Agravan
    You can call me a Kafir
    But you will not be able to change
    the name of Shahjahan
    Mumtaz will also remain Mumtaz
    The Taj may  lose  the crown
    In this era of digging graves
    may the country does not lose it’s name
    Wrinkles fall on the country’s forehead
    Seeing the wrinkles
    Dattatreya blows Pataka bidi
    He knows that
    Smoking  is not the cure of sorrow
    He doesn’t take the country to the doctor
    by holding it’s hands
    He sits on the plateau
    and sees the stars during the day

    Dattatreya is not an astrologer
    If he was, he would have seen the Panchang of the country
    Yet I don’t not ask him the future of the country
    The horoscope of the country is now in the hands of the government.
    Rather than looking at the hands of the government
    I would like to see Dattatreya’s hand
    who writes open letters in love to Sufla
    I would see Lautifa’s hand
    She cuts sixty slices of tomatoes
    I see the hand of the child
    whose kite is flying in the open sky The hand of Haribhau farmer
    who has coloured the horns of the bullocks in the colour of Tiranga
    The bulls that are walking
    fearless on the street of Phaltan
    There is no threat to them that anyone
    can change their names
    (Translation by Malini Gautam)

    Savita Singh is a feminist poet and Creative Critical theorist from India. She writes both in Hindi and English languages and in both the area of her deep interest: literature and critical theory. She has published four collections of poetry in Hindi: Apne Jaisa Jeevan( 2001), Neend Thi aur Raat Thee( 2005), Swapna Samay (2013) and Khoyi Cheezon ka Shoke (2021). She has one collection of poems in French, Je suis la maison des etoiles,(2008) two in Odiya and a joint collection of poems and paintings with Medha Singh and Divya Singh, je suis la maison des etoiles, Suivi de Ecdysis peintures de Divya Singh ( Phloeme, Paris, 2022). Her poems are translated into many languages of the world including German, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Catalonian. She has a bilingual collection in English and Hindi, Rowing Together which did with Sukrita ( Rajkamal Prakashan, 2008); an anthology of women poets of the seven continents of the world, Seven Leaves, One Autumn ( Rajkamal Prakashan, 2011) . She has received many awards for her literature including Hindi Academy Award, Raza Foundation Award, Mahadevi Verma Samman, Eunice de Souza Award and Kedar Samman. Recently she has published a book of philosophical reflection with Roy Bhaskar, Reality and it’s Depths: A Conversation with Roy Bhaskar ( Springer, 2020); A research outcome from her post doc fellowship, FMSH, Paris, in Krishna Sobti, ” Walking on Dew: A Feminist Reading of Krishna Sobti’s Ai Ladki” in Krishna Sobti: A counter Archive ( Routledge, 2022); she has edited a book of twenty women poets writing in Hindi, Pratirodh ka Stree Swar: Samkaleen Hindi Kavita ( Radhakrishna Prakashan, 2023) She is the founding Director and professor in the School of Gender and Development Studies, IGNOU, Delhi. She is one of the directors and Co-Chair of International Herbert Marcuse Society, USA.

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