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THE CALLOUS MOMENT OF CARNIVAL

Nand Chaturvedi.

Some day

I’ll look at your face

Bearing melancholy imprints

Of the carnival

 

Now the days of carnival

Are worthless

Stealing like a thief

A leftover memory

 

Who will come for the festival

Vasantsena, Vasavdutta

Michael Jackson, Chidambaram

Or a wild boar

Won’t she come?

That

Miss World

Whatever her name?

 

The festival’s terror turned

The village indifferent and indigent

Like a defoliate tree

On the shoulders of woman

Are astride naked kids

A little shy

Hiding their member within thigh

 

Delhi is where the festival is

And the President too

But the Nation?

Sun’n the moon in its eyes

Elongated sad shadows on fields

A Nation in the shape of the bread

Is festival of residual desires

 

They are tired

A day before the festival

A village girl’s dead body was found on road

Still clutching the child to her breast

A day before the festival

Girls were loaded in the truck

To be carried like lambkins

To the slaughterhouse

 

Which festival you come from

Vasantsena!

Which festival is

These days

In the capital of darkness

 

Walk slowly, O dear!

Walk slowly as to see

This desolation

And behind you

Alongside

Walk

The callous moment of carnival.

 

 

 

 

AH ! HUENTSANG

 Nand Chaturvedi.

Parijat forests aflame in TNT trenches

Under each Devdar death doubtless stand

Huentsang, did you take these very routes to India?

 

Children of this generation have torn those pages of history

Where your country’s name is written

On your image some uncanny black-yellow or blue

Coloured signs drawn

Ah! Huentsang it is difficult to explain

That an invader you were not

But a traveler

 

Listen Huentsang! Jealousy is venom

And it is spreading

Youth these days of love, romance or maidens

Talk not

The adult and old walk fast

Talk sharp and indifferently swing the sticks

Maidens tie their hair in different knots

With clenched fist public convey

The inexpressible agony

Anger and revenge

All bow in reverence at the Buddha

Yet train to fire a gun

Because they have been deceived

 

Ah Huentsang! Mao-tse-Tung didn’t make bridges

He repeated history’s meaningless tables

Because he didn’t know that history’s

Ink isn’t blood

 

India has fought wars, Huentsang!

But mere wars they were

Now its both jealousy and war

Wars are not remembered

But jealousy is a wounded snake

That on history’s door

Strikes its hurt head

And people pick up arms

 

You are not unknown to India Huentsang

Its sky is still clear and blue

But in the veins of many future generations

When the blood of jealousy shall flow

Who will bear its onus

Its sad, Huentsang whenever guns are raised

People forget the Buddha

 

 

 

Translated by Ashutosh Mohan from theoriginal Hindi poems of the renowned poet Nand Chaturvedi.

Ashutosh Mohan

 

 

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