July 2013

July 2013

i.
Mihir Chitre                                                                                                                          4 poems
My Anger

My anger is your slave
It’s loyal to you
Like I once was
And like

You should have been to me

My anger wants

To run around in the open
Do salsa with you
Dine with you
Make out with you

But it can’t

Because
My anger is your slave.

The Unknown

I took to liking you 

Suddenly and momentarily
like you like a traffic signal
turning from red to green.

I relished staring at you

at the party
almost methodically –
a stare every ten seconds –
like eating potato chips
from a mini pack.

On the sky was an abstract sketch

or a scribbled message
Two mediums fighting for art
like two religions fighting for god
I ignored both
Hanging my head 
on the oscillating rope of my flaring youth
measuring the distance between me and you.

Some things should never be known.

Andheri

You silly suburb

of eventualities!
Your derelict streets,
betrayed bars,
rotten corners
of loss and dismay,
ephemeral memories,
the escaping smoke 
layered uncomfortably
over your malls and markets
scream for justice –

that was reduced to rubble

like your love stories.

Two Sunsets

All that you owe me

is a couple of sunsets.
Not a ray more, not a ray less
all that you owe me
is a couple of sunsets.

Two incoherent stories

wrapped around a coffee mug
a kingdom of two rooms
expanded to a hug.

A cake cut into

pieces of time,
savoured over
a private rhyme.

All that you owe me

is a couple of sunsets.
Maybe a ray more, maybe a ray less
all that you owe me
is a couple of sunsets.

https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/images/cleardot.gif
 ii.
Simon Jackson                                                                                                             5 poems


Cows
They know the end
is coming.

They carry the
knowledge of violent destruction

welling up within
huge, sad eyes.

It is not despair
that makes them move that way,

one slow joint
slotting into the next,

each step slumped
like a dropped sack of manure.

It is not
despair, it is acceptance.

Buddhas of the
grasslands,

the sideways
chomp is a meditation,

the lowing moan
an incantation,

the universal om
channelled through soft throats

held low to the
ground.

They guide in the
apocalyse,

Low, pendulous
udders counting down,

laden with milk
that none will drink.

Belly of the Beast

With a hiss the
tube lurches and shrug

sits doors
wide.  I see the fringe of fangs

around each
entrance, malevelant eyes

disguised as
dirty windows.

I scream at them:
‘Get out! Get off!

Clamber from its
churning belly!’

They look away,
seem not to hear.

A flash of teeth,a rush of hot
foul breath,

an alligator
flick of tail:

the creature
winks at me

and slithers off
to hunt for more.

I clambour out to
weak sunlight. 

I see the glint of
Tyranasaurus teeth tilting 

from marbled
office doorways,

neo-classical jaw
muscles tense,

set to grind,
gobble, guzzle,

gnash and nosh
their way through

neatly suited
bankers.

The buildings
have become barbaric,

sprouting claws
and spines and scales,

crunching clerks,
accountants,
mechanics.

The tarmac
rustles underfoot,

flexes its sleek,
scaley surface

and ripples
anaconda muscles,

speeds me to my
workplace entrance.

The doorway’s maw
gleams salivaed trails,

windows drip
digestive juices,

the screams within
are swiftly muffled.
Broken Water

Your limbs, fish
belly pale

beneath shivering
water

eyes wide, black
as an orca’s fin.

A flush of blood.
Sudden carmine
cumulo-nimbus.

Darker matter
hangs in clumps
like sodden
bread.

Fear circles,
flashing a fin.



Your face
contorts, twists to scream.

Your body
convulses again. 

Again.
And as the
threshing waters’ Alpine peaks subside

calm hands reach
down,

separate one
pulsing life into two

and lift our
daughter into virgin air.


A Holy Trinity
A flash of blood, primal red in the

birthing pool 
led to our unplanned arrival in this ward.
The doctors: mechanics, engineers, talking in cubic centimetres,
poking and prodding, twisting with steel
instruments,

following a set of blueprints in lights as
bright as an arc welder.

You were an artist.
You stroked my wife’s brow, marble white,
as if she were a priceless sculpture,
called for analgesia, painting over the
hurt

in wide, wet brush stokes,
leaving only a blurred wash of pain.
You lowered the lights and raised my
spirits

and let her rest, the canvas primed.

When you delivered my daughter
her body blue-white as a fresh primed
canvas,

and for an instant my heart stopped.
You rubbed life and colour into her putty
limbs,

delivered her into my wife’s arms,
a breathing, screaming work of art
and I loved all three of you 
far more than anything I’ve felt for a
paternal trinity.

A Grand Entrance
 
We could not have been more delighted with
your debut.

There was not a dry eye in the house.
We are your audience, your critics,
your producers, directors, authors.
Even the stage hand a role to play,
her deft fingers repairing the tear
that gave you an entrance into this world.
Exhausted by your premiere
you recline against your mother’s breast,
murmur a monologue of milky burps.

 iii.

Suma Josson                                                                                                                 poem

Letters

Sometimes
I wonder whether there is blue in the sun

Or any in
the ink we left in the backyard


for the
moon to gaze on

Every
letter was like a door opening into an ocean
 

Every word
desire
Our body
was hope

Mind a

seed
The roads
were of dust

The cotton
we wore was of dust 

Letting
clouds write our stories for us



The glass
bottle overflowed

Veins,
blue water swelled

Among the
fields we searched

for the

first moments of the first love

Sentences
fading into

the tiny

stars, a cosmos

Sometimes
soaking secrets in ink

Sometimes

in souls, sparrows, ideas

Jumping from
one tip of the pen to another

we were
the leaves

Today sitting
cross-legged

An ablution of memories drench
Blue skin
Blue eyes

Longing

You touch
time

Butterfly

wings

Overlooking
windows

we walk

ceaselessly

on blank
sheets of paper

Rain etches,
blots

The earth
unable to absorb colour, turns.

In the
lament of the chlorophyll

A magic is
lost forever

Red
alphabets

Green
forests
The ink of the earth has dried up and along with that
the rivers

into which we dipped to write
 
June, 2013

iv.

Pitambar Naik                                                                                                                   poem
Sheep

Tender leaves are

dear to us.
Non-violence is

our philosophy.

When we see
violence

We feel dismayed.


When we witness to
bloodshed


We feel
Why don’t men
learn from us?

Just a bit of
green shoot

With a mouthful of
water

Make us fondle our
kids and our dreams blossom.
Where is the
question of sucking blood of someone?

Where is the

question of being a cut-throat?

We hate treachery.
Rather we have

learnt to make our lives a sputtering brook.
Why worry.

And that makes the

knackers sharpen their knives.
How guile our fate

is!
We never

understand the secret
Men and wolves are

alike.
v.
Titiksha Pandit                                                                                                                article


Recognising the Rights of the Earth
  an
exploration for India

Abstract

This piece

explores the writings of Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi on the
personhood of Nature, relationships, settlements and sustainability, through
their writings and others’ interpretations of these, by weaving these into a
fictional, dramatized narrative. The piece is in the form of conversations
between constituents of “nature” (trees, mountains, and similar), and Tagore
and Gandhi. The piece was written for a University project that entailed
exploring the ideas of Tagore and Gandhi in the scope of the Rights of Mother
Nature.

This paper
explores Tagore’s inquiries into the essence of Nature and the consequent
relationship of human beings with her. This is in the form of an exposition of
his conceptions of Nature as an entity seen through his writings on her in the
form of prose, poetry and intellectual writings and indirectly through his
writings on other subjects. His ideas are also explored through other writers
as also through a brief, fictional conversation between him and Gandhi based on
Gandhi’s own writings and writings of other writers on him.

Here, Tagore
is seen in conversation with elements of Nature important to him and often
represented in his poetry. His poetry frequently reflects that Tagore does not
just use these elements in his poetry to convey a mood or a point but rather that,
they in themselves are important to the essence and the whole of the poem. This
he does both through his personification of Nature and her elements and through
the representation of himself as one of them. For example in one of his Rabindrasangeets,
Tagore writes:

                                                      “Heavy clouds hang their shadows,

                                                              In the darkening woods,
                                                             The wind shrieks in pain
                                                            For the homeless wanderer
                                                            From afar I can see the lamp,                                           
                                                           Flickering at your casement,

                                                         And my eye, like an eager bird,

                                                        Gazes upon it in the solitary dark”[1]
Frequently,
these poems are also indicative of the compassion of Nature’s elements towards
the suffering of others – an element crucial for understanding development and
progress. Tagore, therefore, is an important starting point into an exploration
of the possibility of a larger project on recognizing the personhood of Nature
in India because he is one of few contemporary Indians who displayed this idea
as crucial to his works and understandings of existence. This exploration is
made in the light of the Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth drafted into
the Ecuadorian constitution. Thus, we
begin listening in to the conversation between Tagore and the elements. This
conversation takes places in 2010.
The Essence of Nature – Balancing the
Opposites
Tagore:  Friends, today is an important day. Several
groups of people from across the world have travelled across the seas to meet
at Cochabamba, Bolivia for the People’s Conference on Climate Change and the
Rights of Mother Earth. Several of these people work for or live in grassroots
societies.
Grass:  Do you mean the Dewdrops? Or Soil? They stay with me
frequently, yes.
Tagore: You are quite right, Grass. But I
speak of humans that live in close contact with Nature 
– either in small

settlements or in villages. These are people who work with the Land or share in
Forest’s produce. There are other humans who live in cities made of concrete
and glass. These humans have come together for business and enterprise, through
which, they hope to control ever-more resources, which they wish to exploit
through the use of machines, to produce goods which they use. But there is
never an end to their yearnings for more. In fact, once they come together in
cities, each individual is drawn to it through the yearning for his own progress,
which here means wealth accumulation. Inadequate resources are almost a crime
in this order of life that requires a vast assortment of materials for its
maintenance and defence. And its maintenance and defence require an elected
body of representatives who rule, who are often also those who are in the most
profiteering businesses. The rest of the city’s mass constitutes those who are
drawn towards it from the villages in hope of employment and material
progress.  Thus, there is a rigid class
distinction here between master and slave, a system of power, which is
necessarily a-social.[2]
The village by contrast is based on close social ties. Here people work with
the land and are closely connected with Nature and their roots. Their joy is in
creation to meet their needs and not their desires[3]. If
the point of the city is pleasure and amusement, that of the village is
well-being and balance.
Wind:  I have been to the city. How do you say this?
I see a spirit of co-operation in Mumbai too.
Tagore:  Streams, Lakes and Oceans are there on this
Earth. They exist not for hoarding water exclusively within their own areas.
They send up the vapour which forms into Clouds and helps towards a wider
distribution of Rain. Cities have their functions of maintaining wealth and
knowledge in concentrated forms of opulence; but this should also not be for
their own sake; they should be centres of irrigation; they should gather in
order to distribute; they should not magnify themselves but should enrich the
entire commonwealth. They should be like Lamp posts and the Light they support
should transcend their own limits[4].  I am not against the city, nor do I believe
that the city is not capable of reorganizing itself for the betterment of all.
But this can only happen when man rectifies his relationship with machine and
when industry meets a purpose beyond wealth accumulation for personal gain. That
is a sick society. You Wind, who helps move the Clouds, realize this 
– that

movement does not constitute progress merely because of its velocity. Progress
can have meaning only in relation to some ideal of completeness[5].
Completeness cannot be found in the plundering of resources for transitorial
wealth for these actions hurt one in the long run as they are not sustainable.
Clouds: I follow what you say. But I do not
understand why you liken movement to self-centredness. And are we all not
insecure? I am insecure that the Wind may not push me and that the Rain should
weigh down upon my head until I crash against the Mountain.
Tagore: You have asked some very important
questions. Let me answer them with care. First, you ask, are we all not
self-centred, filled with thoughts of our own insecurity? And therefore if we,
that is, each and every one of us elements of Creation are self-centred, living
for our own survival, by playing out our own roles, what is wrong with human
selfishness? Why must he think of sustainability? Indeed, you would say, it is
beyond anyone’s ability to comprehend selflessness because it is against our
very nature.
I ask you to
hold still for a moment, Cloud. Look at the Tree. She is rooted in the Soil,
drawing her nourishment from him and the Water. Yet, her leaves fall to the
Soil and he in turn is returned for his friendship. Look at Water, how she
flows and takes care of Tree only in search of merging with the Sea. Look at
Stone, as he lies there preventing Soil’s erosion and eroding into Soil. You
too, Cloud, are born off the utterly selfless, spiritual Water, and you too
merge with her. But you are restless and disconnected from this awareness. So
is Wind.
So, I have
answered your question. Most of the elements of Nature, the elements of
Creation, of existence behave selflessly or altruistically. Some of you have
become restless and wander and search for answers within yourselves. But you
too have an important role to play.
Such is the
nature of movement. There is nothing wrong with insecurity. Water too rushes
rapidly, frenzied, in search for the Sea. But there must be a balance between
rootedness and mobility, subsistence and accumulation, the village and the
city, giving and taking, between Tree and Stone and you and Wind. I am not
against motorized travel and movement, only against its unwise use. Sometimes
one must stand still. I recollect a visit to the Himalayas as a child: “where
great Trees stood weighed down with their wealth of dense Leaves absorbed in
their own dark shadow, and one or two trickling Springs, like the playful
daughters of sages babbling close to the old mendicants absorbed in their
prayer . . .Why must we leave behind such beautiful places to go ahead”.
“At once I
realize, there are many things worth noticing; only because we do not pay the
price of right attention, we fail to perceive them. So now and then, while going
along the streets of Kolkata, I imagine myself a stranger. When every single
item seems really rare only then the mind gets over its stringency and pays the
full price of attention”[6].
Stone: You have established that the
essence of existence is altruistic, and that therefore just as Nature in her
essence is altruistic and at points even selfless, then it is imperative of man
too. For, if one can live in harmony, so can the other. You have also established
the relationship between rootedness and mobility, the seeking of well-being and
the seeking of pleasure, the village and the city. Can you tell us a little
more about where these ideas lead us?
Ahimsa, Communication and
Non-exploitative Relationships
(The slow
tapping of a walking stick is heard, approaching from the distance).
Gandhi: Tagore, may I join you and your
friends? I cannot but help be drawn into your conversation.
Tagore:  My friend, you are most welcome. I was talking
to my friends here about the Declaration that has just been passed. It has led
us into a bit of a discussion.
Gandhi:
 Tagore, I caught the last bits of your
conversation. I agree with you. There has to be a balance between stillness and
introspection, and the communication of one’s truth with others in an attempt
at understanding their conditions and their truths. This will lead to fuller
understanding of Truth. It necessarily requires that we be observant and aware
of the other, and yet giving to him and receiving from him what he has to
say. 
Tagore: Yes, without language, a mind is but
sunk in itself. It is only by combining with others that man has achieved all
that is worthwhile in life-knowledge, faith, power, and wealth[7].  Trade is an outcome of this well-placed
motive, but has now become corrupted towards self-aggrandization. This has led
towards a sinking into self 
– a divide between man and man and man and other

beings. This became evident at the Copenhagen summit for Climate Change in 2009
where no effective commitments to mitigate climate change and restrict the
destruction of natural resources were set.
Tree: What followed the Copenhagen Summit?
Tagore: The People’s Conference for Climate
Change in Bolivia organized by grassroots groups frustrated by this inaction.
They drafted out the Declaration for the Rights of Mother Earth[8].
Stone: And what are the rights of Mother
Earth? Who is Mother Earth?
Tagore: All of us that constitute her,
human, stone, tree, grass, river, animal. The Declaration requires that humans
must now treat ecosystems and their constituents as persons with rights capable
of seeking protection. A Tree can seek protection from being cut down.
River:  But this, then, is against the human right to
production with the use of natural resources.
Tagore: Yes, its interpretation and
application is quite complicated. But so far it has been expressed as follows 
– that in so far as the destruction of a part of Nature affects her health or

creates an imbalance in her, she has the right to prevent this. Ecuador was the
first country to draft the declaration into her Constitution and the rights
have been used to safeguard a particular stretch of the River Vilcabamba where
the broadening of the Vilcabamba-Quinara road had led to the dumping of debris
on its banks. This increased the river flow and caused floods downstream for those
people settled there. Thus, the health of the river-ecosystem had been
disturbed and the people affected. The law was invoked in the River’s rights[9].
River: I see. It still seems very vague to
me for in the absolute sense every living being, which is matter, has a right
to self-protection. Does Stone have the right not to be picked up and tossed
aside?
Tagore: No, because the action of tossing
him does not affect the health of the entire ecosystem in which he is tossed. Let
me clarify, that in theory, Stone has the right to be protected, but what I
state here is the practical interpretation that “The rights of each being are
limited by the rights of other beings and any conflict between their rights
must be resolved in a way that maintains the integrity, balance and health of
Mother Earth”[10].
Tossing Stones to build a catchment area for Rainwater is seen to preserve the
integrity of Nature and humans and more important than the right of the Stones.
River: Then we are speaking of communal
well-being alone, which is the value of the person to the whole, even if he/she
is recognized to be a person. The freedoms of individuals disappear in this
milieu. What then of animal rights? The declaration clearly states that: “Every
being has the right to well-being and to live free from torture or cruel
treatment by human beings”.[11]
Tagore: I think the position taken in theory
is similar to that of veganism, which grants absolute well-being and independence
to other animals.
Grass: Veganism is another word for the abolitionist
approach to animal rights[12].
It requires non-relationship and non-interference between humans and animals.
From what you have said so far, I understand that relationship is very
important to you.
Gandhi:
Non-interference does
not mean non-relationship. Interference here implies that we have a selfish
stake in our relationship with the other. We interfere with the cow because we
want her milk and make it seem that she is better off within a human settlement
in this tied condition. True relationship is born from the desire to understand
the other, including his/her pain, suffering, joys and lifeworlds[13].
It means that you will let the cow free to be herself but not lose sight of cows.
True relationship with the whole of Nature is the only sustainable form of
living.
Wind:  It is all very well to speak of transcendence.
But when we come to the practical aspects you will notice that Ecuador and
Bolivia too are in favour of these rights because both countries have sizeable
indigenous populations. While mining and construction activity take place in a
few regions, a major part of their exports have come from orchards and
plantations (cocoa and banana), which require integrated ecosystems[14].
It is born from the indigenous communities’ self-interest.
Gandhi:
I believe that at the
core of this self-interest is transcendence born from a relationship with
Nature. This relationship is ingrained in these communities through their being
brought close to the land by doing manual labour[15].
If they wanted to, they could easily give up plantations for mining operations.
Tagore: This brings me back to the point
with regards villages and migration to cities 
– that if given the chance, people

would choose the wiser, more sustainable option. Modern civilization, as my
friend Gandhi would say, is a noose.
River: Gandhi has yet not answered my question with regards the
freedom of the individual regardless of his value to the whole.
Gandhi:
I strongly believe
that an individual’s freedom develops from his relationship to the whole. That
is how true freedom becomes defined. “The person is distinct as a separate
individual, but the strength and depth of his individuality is determined by
his capacity for non-possessive relationships and detached action”.[16]
This is true of any relationship including human relationship with the
‘commons’. “Willing submission to social restraint for the sake of the
well-being of the whole society enriches both the individual and the society of
which one is a member”.[17]
River: So Stone must allow himself to be
tossed to make a catchment area?
Gandhi:
Yes, so long as the
social benefits outweigh this sacrifice and the same social benefits cannot be
achieved through alternate means.
Realizing the Rights of Mother Earth
in India
Tagore: I would like to take our conversation
back to the question Stone raised, which is, where do these ideas take us? So,
to begin with, how do we inculcate genuine relationship in humankind 
– between

human and himself/herself, human and others, human and non-human and with the
totality of nature? We have seen that people would follow their common sense
and live sustainably if it were not for the pull of modern forces. How do we
undo their pull?
Gandhi:
We need to restore the
individual to his/her place in society and by this I mean the self-aware, self-critical
individual who will take responsibility for his/her own actions. This loss of
personhood occurs not just in modern societies but even in those with
pre-determined obligations done habitually.
Wind:  So, both humans and Nature are in need of a
restoration of personhood to themselves!
Tagore: That is well-humoured! I agree with
Gandhi. Let us now see how we can restore such an order to society.
Gandhi:
 People can restore their individuality to
themselves and transform their relationship with society at any point in time.
But it is also possible to build these relationships. The first place to begin
is the school. The first important practical measure is to introduce agriculture/gardening
in all schools. It is only through coming in contact with the Soil and the
elements that children will develop a relationship with them and try to
understand the process of plant growth, the struggles and victories.
Stone: I don’t think that this will help
strengthen true relationships. I have seen children hurt earthworms while
gardening.
Gandhi:
Dear Stone, everything
is in a process of growth and much depends on the individual. People are born
imperfectly. We can only create the conditions for the right growth.[18]
Tagore: I am in agreement with Stone,
however. Rather than introduce agriculture training or gardening in schools as
an activity, it is important to focus on the quality of that activity which
shapes feeling.[19]
I think it is important to focus on the stillness aspect here rather than that
of activity or motion. Lessons must be introduced that allow children to feel
the other as a being. For example, if some classes are held on the branches of
Trees or under their shade, then children will become aware of the Tree. By
introducing them to sandpits and games of five-stones, which were traditionally
played, children become aware of the beauty of each Stone and the individuality
of each from the rest. They start choosing the five Stones they wish to have a
part of their collection based on their attraction to each, just as in human
friendships. Playing with Sand has a similar effect, as does introducing
components where children must exercise by climbing up a Hill in the morning
and sitting on Boulders to watch the Sun rise. This creates a relationship with
the Boulder and the Sun. Each is seen as an individual. This is lost during
agriculture or gardening where the child has a feeling of power over the Earth
and not a feeling of being a part of the whole. It is the same process but the
feelings that result, I opine to be different in the two scenarios. One is of
profit, the other of kinship and play.
Gandhi:
I concede that I agree
with you Tagore. But how do we bring this about in urban schools?
Tagore: That then will become a task for
environmental regeneration within cities. Until then, city schools will have to
make do with the greenery that is present while simultaneously then creating a
demand for ecological regeneration within the city. We can bring in gardening and
urban agriculture, here. As Willian Cronon emphasized, Nature does not exist in
the far-away jungles, but right here, beside us.[20]
It is when we recognize this that we assume a culture of responsibility.
Gandhi:
And what about in the
rural areas? Will this non-emphasis on agricultural training and emphasis on
meditative and play aspects not create a conflict in agrarian society?
Tagore: I speak of schools Gandhi, and not
universities. Through play and meditation on nature, peasant children will
learn intuitively the true purpose of agriculture as a work of joy and
fulfilling of needs and will be able to withstand the pull of agriculture for
profit, which is ruining the ecosystem. This must go hand in hand with
decentralized village economies.
Gandhi:
Apart from this
meditative experiential aspect there must also be a sense of discipline, which
is why I had suggested lessons in agriculture. Meditation may not occur in the
absence of discipline and necessity. The child must be able to bond with a
teacher who creates this inner desire for self-knowledge in the peasant’s child.
[21]
Tree: So far we have identified 3
components of an educational programme: playing with Nature, meditating on her
elements to communicate with them, and communication with a teacher who creates
this seeking.
Gandhi: Yes, communication and communion is
non-violence and the only way towards seeking truth and freedom.

 
Tagore: While I agree that individuals
cannot be forced into seeking truth, I am of the opinion that the Declaration
should be drafted into the Indian Constitution as an overarching social
guideline towards greater freedom for its citizens. The eminent domain of
public good, will then, be defined by this understanding and not on vague
terms. In this light, indigenous communities who live close to Nature can have
their settlements protected and Nature’s rights safeguarded too since the good
of two (this community and Nature) is greater than the narrowly personal good
of one community 
– Ramachandra Guha’s “omnivores”.[22]

Further, the curricular components detailed by us would help tribal children
strengthen the exploration of their pre-existing relationship with Nature
through schools in a critical fashion.
Gandhi:
This curriculum should
also be introduced into adult literacy programmes. Further, we have so far
focussed on the settled component but I understand from you that mobile
communities are also important.
Tagore:  Yes, mobility is important to existence as is being
settled. This is seen through the fact that tribal children are never used to
sitting still in classrooms.[23]
There are also several occupations that prefer mobility and solitariness, such
as groundnut-sellers, the traditional mittaiwallahs and musicians such as the
Bouls. While the peasants can develop a sense of rootedness and strong
relationship with their environment through the right education, in these
groups the predominant condition is detachment in relationship. The peasants
became possessive of their land for profit and education must restore this
relationship to its right place, and the mobile artisans have possibly grown
aloof. This is a matter to be explored to develop different educational
conditions for these groups. But the importance is to recognize them as
distinct people and to honour them in this and treat them accordingly. The
HoneyBee network could help document their lives[24].
Gandhi:
We must also have
advocacy for veganism alongside ensuring a decentralized system with access to
food for all.
Tree: It is growing dark and foggy. Both
of you must return home.
Tagore:
Goodnight, elements.
Gandhi: Goodnight.
All: Goodnight.

References:
1.  Abolitionist Approach, http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/
2.   Bureau of Public Affairs, U.S. Dept
of State,
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/35761.htm
3.  Cronon William, “The Trouble with
Wilderness; or Getting Back to the Wrong Nature”, 1996
5.  Gandhi M.K, Satyagraha in South
Africa, Navajivan
6.  Greene Natalia, “The first
successful case of the rights of Nature implementation in Ecuador”,
http://therightsofnature.org/first-ron-case-ecuador/ , last accessed 12th October, 2012
7.  Guha Ramachandra, “How Much Should a
Person Consume?”, 2006
8.   Honey Bee Network, http://www.sristi.org/hbnew/scout.php
9.   Krey Peter, Jurgen Habermas: The
lifeworld and the two systems,
http://www.scholardarity.com/?page_id=807 
10.  Sahi Jane, “Education and Peace”, 2000
11.  Sasthry Rama, Ramdas.B, “Work and Wisdom of
Vernacular Educators from India” (2005),
http://multiworldindia.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Rama-Ramdas.pdf , last accessed 2nd March, 2013
12.  Sen Sudhir, Rabindranath Tagore on Rural
Reconstruction, Visva Bharati, Santiniketan, 1943 
13.  Tagore Rabindranath, “Jivansmriti” 
14.  Tagore Rabindranath, Rabindrasangeet
15.  Tagore Rabindranath, “The
Cooperative Principle”, 1963
16.  Tagore Rabindranath, “The Religion of the
Forest”,
http://www.online-literature.com/tagore-rabindranath/creative-unity/3/  
17.   The Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth,
http://www.rightsofmotherearth.com/declaration/ , last accessed 12th October, 2012 
18.  Universal Declaration
of the Rights of Mother Earth,
http://motherearthrights.org/universal-declaration/ , last accessed 12th October 2012
19.  Weber Thomas, The influenced Gandhi

[1] Tagore

Rabindranath, “mone holo je periye elam”, from Rabindrasangeet
[2] Tagore Rabindranath, “The
Cooperative Principle”, published 1963, pp.2
[3] Sen Sudhir,Rabindranath Tagore on
Rural Reconstruction, “Restore balance between City and Village”, Ch.7, pp.57-63,
Visva Bharati, Santiniketan, pub. 1943
[4]
Tagore Rabindranath, “City and Village”, pp. 23-24, Vishwa Bharati bulletin no.
10 (December 1928), excerpted from Sen Sudhir (1943), Rabindranath Tagore on
Rural Reconstruction, “Restore balance between City and Village”, Ch.7, pp.63,
pub. 1943
[5] Sen
Sudhir, Rabindranath Tagore on Rural Reconstruction, “Restore balance between City
and Village”, Ch.7, pp.61, Visva Bharati, Santiniketan, 1943
[6]
Tagore Rabindranath, “Jivansmriti”
[7] Tagore Rabindranath, “The
Cooperative Principle”, 1963
[8] The Declaration of the Rights of
Mother Earth,
http://www.rightsofmotherearth.com/declaration/, last accessed 12th
October, 2012
[9] Greene Natalia, “The first
successful case of the rights of Nature implementation in Ecuador”,
http://therightsofnature.org/first-ron-case-ecuador/, last accessed 12th
October, 2012
[10] Universal Declaration of the Rights
of Mother Earth, Article 1, Section 7,
http://motherearthrights.org/universal-declaration/, last accessed 12th
October 2012
[11] Universal
Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, Article 2, Section 3, http://motherearthrights.org/universal-declaration/
, last accessed 12th October 2012
[13] Krey Peter, Jurgen Habermas: The
lifeworld and the two systems,
http://www.scholardarity.com/?page_id=807
[14]
Bureau of Public Affairs, U.S. Dept of State, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/35761.htm
; Economy of Ecuador, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Ecuador
[15] Weber Thomas, The influenced Gandhi,
pp. 37
[16]
Sahi Jane, “Gandhi’s
concept of the Individual; The Part and the Whole”, The Place of the Individual
in Gandhiji’s Concept of Education, Education and Peace, pp.76 , 2000
[17] Ibid

[18] Gandhi M.K, Satyagraha in South
Africa, Navajivan, pp.212

[19] Tagore Rabindranath, “The Religion
of the Forest”,
http://www.online-literature.com/tagore-rabindranath/creative-unity/3/ , last accessed 2nd
March, 2013

[20] Cronon William, “The Trouble with
Wilderness; or Getting Back to the Wrong Nature”, 1996

[21] Sahi Jane, “The Place of the
Individual in Basic Education; Integrated Learning”, pp.84, 2000

[22] Guha Ramachandra, “How Much Should a
Person Consume?”, 2006

[23] Sasthry
Rama, Ramdas.B, “Work and Wisdom of Vernacular Educators from India” (2005), pp.8,
last accessed 2nd March, 2013, http://multiworldindia.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Rama-Ramdas.pdf
[24]
Honey Bee Network, http://www.sristi.org/hbnew/scout.php

vi.
Jaspreet Mann Kanwar                                                                                                2 poems


Venom
Are you happy? Stabs like a knife –
happy with an ordinary woman
and her ordinary delights –mustard breasts, cherry-figs,
rum down her navel and orgasms of the mind.
Must be happy? Cut and dried,
Breakfast in bed-divine!
If the omelette killed you
and if you choked on wine
don’t blame me,

You were out of your mind.
Happy to be happy? Buried alive 
in nicotine, burning like charcoal,
reproducing your clones,
between nervous smokes,
a rattled mind and your heavenly find!
You surely must be happy, you have to be,
As happy as me, looking at you
trapped in connubial monstrosity.

 
The Living Dead
‘It will take just a moment,
I will need to verify.’
She looked at his mouth,
and then straight in the eye.
Eyes- melting brown,
Mole on the right eyebrow,
Height -182.88 centimetres,
No change-then and now.
He felt the ache, deep inside,
heard the throb in his heart,
as time dissolved in
the melting gold of her eyes.
The familiar stone on her finger,
sparkled and smiled,
‘Married?’
‘Oh this!’ She said,
‘Is from the living dead.’
vii.
Debarun Sarkar
Theorizing Dissent                                                                                                           3 poems
Navigating social spaces,
We build bastions of civility,
To authorize, to legitimize
Civilized dissent.
ravanhatta
A memory lingers
of wandering figures
across this structure
Across, along this structure.
Lost among the mazes of streets
there lived a gypsy group in an abandoned building
playing the songs of wanderlust
of inability to grasp
grasp onto material objects,
objects.
Among the smoke haze
those mystical stringed instruments vibrated
chanted melodies
of longing.
A figure lingered in the memory
of the woman with a stringed instrument
played with a bow.
Her hands, muscles,
moved across space,
defying randomness,
defying order.
Memories lingered of long walks
across those narrow lanes
defying architecture and
all aesthetic traditions.
Time passes to
blur the memories,
memories and reality,
merge, separate,
move in tangents
and words, inarticulable.
Irish Connection
Turquoise ink, I found in my old diary.
My Irish aunt, before she married
a salaried-bourgeoisie in Ireland,
gifted me a bottle of turquoise ink,
a book of fables
and a Chinese fountain pen.
Joyce & Yeats & Beckett I knew not then.

I was merely 7.


This is my Irish connection.
A bottle of turquoise blue ink
viii.
Shobhana Kumar                                                                                                      3 poems
no man’s land
i moved away at 18,
gladly traded
childhood memories
for delicious
anonymity

in a foreign land.
i never looked back,
not once.
for all that I had forsaken
i found more in my new homeland.


the longing arrived, neatly baggage
like my over-stuffed suitcases
and stayed.
when they burned my dead father
when anonymous nurses cared for my mother
and i stared into my sibling’s face,
our umbilical connection
evading memory.


the aircraft hovers
over no man’s land,
the ocean,
a dark expanse
into which
my longing pours itself.
antidote
the headiness of
I
rarely meets its antidote,


except
when i get off the car,
and  turn off
my conditioned arrogance
to wade through
crowded market places
for some freshly ground
caffeine,
to recover from hangovers
of last night’s words
my poetic identity mingles
with daily sweat
and harried brows
of the city’s people
hurrying home,
before losing itself.
caffeine is far too mild.
brown
my darkness was dark enough
for unkindness that flowed
from fellow adolescent tongues,
from teachers who never picked me
to offer gifts and bouquets
to visiting guests,
even when i stood first,
in every subject,
broke into ribbons at finish lines,
danced, sang, debated and won.


my dark skin turned me away
from many suitors,
misguided by poetic metaphors
to moon-skinned damsels.


but in the end,
it was my surgeon’s hands
they all turned to
even before they called out
to their dark skinned gods.
ix.
 

Leon Miller



Sisters are the Queens of the Earth                                                                              song
Chorus
Sisters
are the queens of the earth, you know ours sisters are the queens of the earth.
I said
that sisters are the queens of the earth, Yes ours sisters are the queens of
the earth.



So
please show some due respect to her.



And you
must learn to look up to her.
Because she’s our mother, she’s our daughter, she’s our sister, she’s our wife,

So show your due respect for her! 
Verse: 
She is
clearly marked by handle with care, Do her any harm?  A real man wouldn’t dare!

To make a
good impression, just step out of her way! 

And the most
you should say

is, “Hope
you have a nice day.
She’s
our better half 
 of
that you can’t deny, so to rise up as a nation on her we must rely.

Thus,
it’s not just about safe streets for everyone,

It’s
about us as a people and getting together “on the One.”

I mean a
nation that declares that “Violence we despise,” 

For like
Mahatma Gandhi said ahimsa makes our nation rise!



So if you
really contemplate on what life and love are all about,

You’d know
we’re here because of her and that’s no doubt.

She is the
power that gave you birth,

That is why
we call her mother, as in queen of the earth.

So stand up
for her my brother
because
she’s the force that gave us life,

And whatever
you do please don’t cause her any strife.



So we got to
give our all to keep her safe and sound, 

And when we
do my brother the good of our people will abound.

Because
sisters are our lives from beginning to end

That’s why it’s
so vital that her rights we defend.



That is why
we say that you must show her due respect

So
contemplate my brother and on these things please reflect.
x.
Rupanjali Baruah                                                                                                          2 poems 

In Waiting

I shuffled through darkness
damp of nostalgia in my blood
I wrote my fortune in fourteen sheets of paper
came to nothing . . .
rustle of leaves rattled me
unnecessary caution crumpled pages


I remembered everything that never happened

I remembered the past and the fury
my evenings in waiting

A moment traipsed in slowly
into the recess of ribs
wings of hope flipped through pages of dreams

I would die living with
and not live without
in waiting

“Beyond Windows (I)” by Rupanjali Baruah
 
“On the outside
looking in” by Rupanjali Baruah 
Untitled
In the stare of the storm
a song dies


withering blue
balloons caught in a net
wheeled toward a mausoleum
ferocious dogs snap at something
nothing is forthcoming

terracotta terraces yawn
mounted on ceilings of sleep
pattern of rain by then change
whores with unguents repeat
their old possession of  methods
dreams inside hands
on gambling tables
snares of different interpretation
closed fists and smell of fried fish
a side dish sits lazily on one of those chairs.

a hammock in between two apple trees
swings alone
flapping a heavy drop of wisdom
a woman wrapped in muslin
stitches domestic bliss
into her seams
a mere seeming

a yawn before sleep


xi.Satarupa Sengupta                                                                                                         poem

Words Flow From My Hands
Words flow from my hands
they wet the paper
make it a river on sand
A river of thoughts, feelings and emotions
flowing over the shifting sand
Changing its course;
with every mood, every whim,
creating a new path, a new stream.
These words flowing from my hand.
Create their own world,their own destinies.
Sometimes they seem strange,
Alien to me,
though I know they are a part of me.
They have their own past,their own future,
they don’t bother about any barriers.
They just flow on and on
Creating havoc with dreams,
Raising storms.
xii.
Rajneesh Dham                                                                                                                   poem
Postcards From a Familiar Landscape
I.
The last one to pick up the scythe
was the whore. She reeked of
spirits: her agony unknown.
Wrinkled folklore maintains that
she strode the landscape
relentlessly


her eyes the size of saucer cups

her fiery gaze 
a curse waiting to explode.

The raven refuses to budge.
He sits in the hollow of the rapick
hurling obscenities with a forked tongue.
II.

The lamppost is a bi-focaled oracle.
The supine cane is a solitary sentinel.
The car that whizzed past hides a tale.
The anonymous face I just scanned
in the fleeing metro, is a horror story.
The caravan keeps on growing.
I hope the first light of the day
will take me back home.
III.

The caravan keeps on imploding.
The bearded guy tries the great
Indian rope trick with his tie.
The pauper fiddles with his penury.
Tears stroll down her cheeks,
as she scribbles in her cellphone.
We share looks, space & compassion
as shadows close in.
We illuminate a landscape 
perpetually disowned.
IV.

The first one to pick up the stone
was a miscreant. The stone was innocent.
The first one to pick up a handful of soil
was the mason. The brick never spoke again.
The first one to betray the whore’s trust
was the raven. The owl watched the
development silently.
The first one to join the entourage
was the guy in short black cargo.
Bitter memories reveled as he
strode the landscape.
Don’t get taken in by the laconic
smile on his face. He bought it for a lark
from a nomad.
V.


He opened the door
for the first light of the day
that came riding a freaky rain.
It was a mirage.


Darkness engulfed him.
He stumbled, fell, bled,
as successive trap-doors
twisted on their hinges.
Her curse exploded.
VI.

He stands atop a mount,
weaving tales, spinning dreams.
He, once, plucked a look
from an anonymous face.
It consumed his soul.
I know his destiny.
He, often, acknowledges it
with a smile.
xiii.
Atri Majumdar                                                                                                                   2 poems

Lucifer


I have sold my soul,

A foregone conclusion 
The devil crawling out of the hole,
Ignored agonies break the tension.
I have found the way,
An eclipsed sun 
The night torturing the day,
Angels of the fall remain undone.


I am reincarnating,
An inferno grasping heaven-
The lost paradise faintly whispering,
In lost words the creator’s pain.
Strange
I didn’t get it wrong
I just wanted to belong,
So I made it so;
I just walked out
Though there was no door.
I didn’t change anything
I had nothing new to bring,
So I ignored;I just stood there
Though there was no earth.
xiv.


Geeta Chhabra                                                                                                             5 poems

Among the Voiceless . . .
for Maryann De Leo
Like you.
I too, some days
stay quiet and by myself.
Do you know why?
I’ll tell you why.
To acquire the
equilibrium of peace, sanity.
In parts, my
quietness betrays me:
All at once.
Wordless, I return
to the inferno
Of my past ghosts.
Then, I summon shoestring
strength,
Not to question,
analyze:
The obscure.
The obvious.
The lights go out.
I close my eyes.
I shut my body,
Except my
breathing . . .
I too, some days
stay quiet and by myself.
Do you know why?
I’ll tell you why.
To acquire the
equilibrium of peace, sanity.
Dubai
2012
 
Love
That Stays
for Ved
We sit together,
Looking for each
other’s
Touch of
reassurance.
We sit together,
Without one’s
knowledge –
How much we have
lost . . .
Or, found by
losing!
We talk of a
friendship
Of a lifetime.
We sit together,
Deliberately
separate from –
The world of
chaos.
We sit together,
So we can reclaim
What is special
between us.
We sit together,
Watching the sea’s
end –
Somewhere near the
horizon.
We sit together,
Hearing the rain’s
echo,
Coming through the
purple mist.
We sit together –
You laden with
dreams,
And I wonder at
you!
From Trident Club Lounge
Mumbai
2013
 
For
Myself
Things have come
and gone.
Weeks on, I arrive
here searching
For asylums –
To put out the
fire within me.
The wait has been
beyond suffering.
A figure of
partition is the scene outside.
Most days, the
rain beats the bay-windows.
The ocean throws
across its mood’s fury –
Like the insolence
of a brat-child.
The sky is more
and more black,
Rehearsing for a
storm.
Images of
skyscrapers look at each other.
A boat whose sails
will be torn…
Is mutely recognizing
its isolation.
Perhaps, it is
holding on to the world –
The way I am.
And no help is
coming…
  
From Trident Club Lounge
Mumbai
2013
 
The
Excursion
None of it is
beyond the bounds
Of impossibility…
Me: In a state of
hopelessness.
Me: In a state of
excessive ambition.
Me: Oftentimes in
doldrums.
Me: Amid mayhem.
Me: Frail with the
terror of circumstances.
Me: In the woods
of confusion.
Me: Beaten by
indecisions.
Me: Taken up by
dejection.
Me: Present in
superficial life.
Me: Unstirred by
pain of others.
Me: Content in
lassitude.
Me: Abound in
dreams that are unreal.
Me: In the
condition of disorders.
Me: In a state of
madness.
Me: Loitering in
false faiths.
Me: Consumed by
blind superstitions.
Me: Under the
debris of bitterness.
Me: Lurking in
suspicion.
Me: Facing
injustice.
Me: Suffering indignity.
I don’t want to
live like others…
From Trident Club Lounge
Mumbai
1 July 2013
 
 
Shanta
Bai Pours Out . . .
The red sari.
The glittering
bangles.
The wedding ladoos.
At midnight, you
made love to me –
Without feeling
love.
You muttered some
insignificant words.
They smelt of
booze.
Four seasons have
passed.
You come and go.
You go and come.
You rummage my
cupboard –
For small money,
even a copper ring.
You mutter some
insignificant words.
They smell of
booze.
I pray to the
Gods.
I polish your old
shoes.
I iron your shirt.
I wait and wait
for your arrival.
I am pleased when
you come.
The wait has been
beyond suffering –
I tell you.
You make love to
me –
Without feeling
love.
I die in your
arms.
The graveyard of
my life accepts:
My red sari.
My glittering
bangles –
For burial.
Mumbai
2013
xv.
 

Jaydeep Sarangi                                                                                                            2 poems

Native Links

Rolling Time has become reflection
of my lighted little
corner of mind,

the silent underground in the barrels of bones,
a cultural continuity
under the unified principle of consciousness.


I have found the other extreme
where I can taste the stories of inescapable memory
punctuated within my native links
grown over a period of years
but unknown to me.
Will it be so
if the windows are shut?
in a chilly winter morning in Kolkata
do I ever expect the blazing Sun?
A black crow whispers
annals of the land

in a misty morning
near  an old temple

and a small river of the mind
make my random thoughts wild.
You and me are two different islands
separated by daily
sorrows and joys

one reflecting the
other.
City of Joy  
My living-room is distorted
In a mad rush of the week.
Bored with traffic
And red signals when I drive.
Life moves on like a silent
challenge
With street food and the diabetic
charm of popular consorts.


Difficult it is to leave

The land of bread and my desire to be part of this
Once it is
fixed to

My name, my commitments and my poems.
Life’s rusty clock ticks fast
In a morning of smoke and dust.


I take them along in different scripts

In a metro heart
Which bleeds profusely
In smoke and disgust

Where man builds up wall against wall
xvi.
John Stewart                                                                                                                    poem


The Dream Within
The beauty of truth
A grimy pastel patchwork hotpotch
of buildings, almost completed.
In the midst, mistily shrouded
in the fossil fumes of progress,
pure simplicity,
four columns tenderly centering
a tear-like dome,
graceful ponds, gentle gardens,
balance, elegance, refinement,
perfection.
A rural scene
Oxen progressing, ploughing, preparing,
fields edged by plastic bags, cardboard cartons,
broken bottles, rusting pieces of machinery,
women walking, gently robed, gathering dung,
threaded by the madness of a raving road:
camels carts stray dogs surreal,
traffic weaving, people seething.
All on the way to a deserted city.
A glory that never was,
a planned community
with all the modern conveniences,
special quarters for guests, servants and elephants,
A huge town square for everyone,
a multi-discipline religious centre
with funeral chapel,
all that was needed in this life and that to come.
Abandoned after only four years,
there were water problems, so they say,
a magnificent monument of India’s heyday.
The people,
progressing little, suffering still,
but then the masses always will,
whatever, whither, hither and thither,
Hotel, rickshaw, all I need,
Please sir, yes sir, now in greed.
Masses massing teeming,
suffocating, screaming.
Cruise sir?
What
what’s the deal?
Flowing along,
a good deal, a great deal, good show,
the greatest show on earth,
drifting down the Ganges,
watching people washing, bathing,
preparing pyres,
burning bodies,
smiling and sighing,
living and dying.


The beauty of form
in the flux of changelessness,
the power of pain,
endurance, agelessness.
Primitive energies
from cycles’ creation,
through culture’s formation,
and civilization,
our every sensation.
xvii.
Souradeep Roy                                                                                                               4 poems


To Nissim Ezekiel
I wish someday you could come back from heaven, 
or wherever you are now,
Mr. Ezekiel.
I don’t quite know
if you will be glad to know
that you’ve become immortal
courtesy the university syllabus.
But if you ask something about your poetry to us,
don’t be surprised
to find us surprised
when we come to know that you were after all a poet.
Show us your books and we’ll exclaim,
“Wow, so you’re a poet indeed!
Awards how many!
Erm, awards any?”
For you have been the reason
for our deep slumbers in lazy afternoons;
for we have read you in set answers
800 words each where they’d discussed the theme,
the setting, the philosophy, and the irony;
the last in the list
(if at all it existed)
was perhaps a few quotations from a poem
and something about your poetry.


Doesn’t matter Mr. Ezekiel,
congratulations!
you’re immortal indeed.
Heat and Cold
In the middle of April
don’t complain of the heat.
Instead,
go to Keoratala Ghat
and sit beside the funeral pyre.
See, 
see your loved one burn.
See his fiery arms reaching out for the sky.
Smell, breathe in.
His burnt skin will reek of your body odour.
You will know what heat is,
and what it is to feel cold
even when the sun burns
right in front of your eyes.

Glossary
Keoratala Ghat: a crematorium by the River Ganges in Calcutta

Background, Seriously
Like a good Bangali I too read poems,
drop in a line or two of Tagore
on the dining table;
almost as a ritual,
raze down other poets another cultured Bangali praises
by comparing the beauty of the stars
to the beauty of pubic hair.
Basically,
I try to sound intellectual.


Like the cigarette butts
near the numerous drain holes in the terrace
I can feel some compassionate rainand make a little poem out of the drizzle –
the drizzle, fizzle,
fizzle, drizzle,
oh the lovely drizzle!

the
god 
damn 
drizzle.


In my middle class drizzle
there is no possibility of a storm.
But poets need storms,
and poems 
                      peals
                of         
  thunder.

In my middle class Bangali household 
there are no storms,
no hurricanes,
no tornadoes.

Too calm,
things are too calm here.

The Rickshawwala
The forsaken rickshawala sitting
in the corner of the alley
forces a smile when I ask, “Jabe naki?”*
Na gele cholbe?”**,
he replies, smilingly.


Seated on his wage earner
I wear my imaginary blinkers
only to become partially blind
when my eyes fall on his bandaged bare right foot
and the cut, bruised, wrecked
left foot decorated in dried blood:
casualties of war –
the war of everyday existence.
The partially, or probably, completely
blind eyes suddenly regains its vision
when the board Barrackpore railway station
stares back at me.


While giving the ten rupee note
countless thoughts criss-cross
across my vacillating mind:
Should I ask him about his injury?
Should I offer to pay for his recovery?
Should I ask him to keep the change?
Should I  . . .
The duty bound announcer alerts my ears:
Pay attention please,
Down, Kalyani Simanta – Sealdah local
Is coming on,
Platform number 2.


I hurriedly take the change and rush there.
*Jabe naki: Will you go?** Na gele cholbe: Do I have a choice?xviii.
Ra Sh (Ravi
Shanker)
                                                                                                      book reviews
Among Presences
“I’m among presences.” This line from Nabina Das’s poem
River Lines describes her own world of poems so succinctly. This, perhaps, defines
her whole approach to life, in general, and to poetry, in particular, acting
also as a pivotal reference to her collection.
This ultra slim volume of 40 odd poems carries the germ of
this observation in the title itself  
– Blue Vessel – with the beautiful cover
image of a ceramic cup and little else. You are immediately drawn to that
simple, elegant, elemental presence of a world that is suffused with the beauty
within everything that constitutes it.

 

 

 

Nabina Das is a poet of the Immediate with an intense liking
for the things around her – animate and inanimate. If I were a blind man reading
the world through Braille, it would be easier to feel the throbbing life in
these poems on my fingertips. These are poems to be touched, probed and felt.
Not to be read. May be they are not words but their shadows are as sharp as the
trees in a clear afternoon sun. Words stand here aloof, in total disdain of the
meaning conventionally assigned to them for they exist only in relation to the
spaces dividing them from the body of other words. You touch them and they
ring.

 

 

Nabina often juxtaposes the corporeal world with the world
of poetry. Migration between the two states is done with amazing ease.  Images and words blend in a most unusual way.
Of all the poems, the one titled `Never Poem’ shows this most evocatively – 
“Wings of sheer / silk dying in a verse-like throb. So, be
my rhythm lub-dub love / Heart’s step, stopping clear / of unpenned words and
lines / Don’t ask to see or touch them . . .. touch. only when it has asked / away
from the learned newsprint / suave poems and video screens / even if it seems a
blotch of ink.”
In `All things become islands’– “metaphors are sometimes
stars and a common sun / old words that caress her secret rhyme.”
In ` Poetry Forms’, “ numbing the meters / deadly rhymes /
burning the poetry mangrove.”
n `Resolution’, “I sit dressed like the proverb.”In `Native Stories’, “ The meaning scampered down / the trail into the gorge’s
misty windpipe / where words often are lost to shouts./ Two by two / leaf lanes
/ The meaning sleeps.”

In `Water on Ink’, “All sketches on water by ink / All words
on lines by language.”

In `in spring’s early grace’, “ I keep throwing more seeded

words at him on the lawn . . .. i throw more germinal words and more sunflower seeds
with words.”
The way `Love’ makes its presence felt in her poems is
intriguing. Though many of them hint of love, it is a kind of love that is almost
absent or is present like the whiff of spirit, the last wisp of mist that
vanishes before we catch them. And, even love is inevitably connected with
words and poetry.

In `All things become Islands’, “the poet at puberty is

mixed up about flesh / and aroused verses as to how they mix / meters in
tongues as she half-pedals a bike / through a yellow road – a cluster of
variegated words.”

In `Indian Love Story: Message Tree’, “then we dance around

the message / tree dipping words in Eastman tones.”
In `Her Love,’ “Love was when he lettered his fingers /
across the keys of her body . . .. / before that love was just a pretense / of a
rounded vowel pressed by the lips.”

Love is a vague construction in these poems and often

operates in a shadow world.

In ‘I am the second earth, but’ the writer knows that “My

lovers shiver and pine in the knowledge every night / that they are ghosts.”

Love is never fleshy and in the poem `Her Love,’ the most

erotic one in this collection, it is described as “feathers for the final
moment of her joy and cry” or that “he knew where the lips could find the
mussels.” But, “She knew too, love was almost gleaming at last / when she lay
covered only by her bracelets.” That’s the limit of explicitness Nabina has
allowed herself.  Even in an ironic poem
titled like `Indian Love Story: Khajuraho Longings,’ Nabina is more interested
in “the art of softening their moment together.” And, this is done so that they
can “learn to eat anchovies and mix a gin.”

Nabina is not much interested in grand narratives. Even in

the presence of august themes like History or Politics, she would like to
circumnavigate them and stick to her desire for random presences.  The very title of the poem ` Homily at the
Baradari Fort” conveys this preference.
“The night went three-dimensionally quiet./  It tiptoed across twelve double hours.”  “Did you see, Taramati, while you hummed, /
against the fortress in the sky, a rhyme-smitten / letter rose to be called the
sun?” Then, “the caretakers then simply went home at dawn / switching off the
massive strobe lights.”

In `New York Woman: a Ballad,’ the description of the woman

ends tersely with “Her anxiety showers commotion in the city . . . more / than ever
what the rains bring on Gaza’s blights.” This could be the only directly
political reference to be found in this collection.

In ` A song for the Bihu-waisted sister’, an oblique

reference combines the political and the apolitical most effectively with the assertion
“Something about the Flame trees tells us birds are still home / But, it’s also
the news of someone missing.” Nabina is able to bring out the tragedy of a
political situation so eloquently with these two bare lines that don’t seem to
be connected. This can come only from practiced precision.

What strikes one is that Nabina’s world is not sad or gloomy

for the most part. It is a world full of sunshine. The words most used by her
would be those connected with the sun, apart from `words.’ The scenery is cheerful,
well-lighted, not a cloud on the horizon. It is grass, fields, morning dew,
drives in a car, clotheslines, bees, birds, river, flowers, pollen.  Driving through this world, one comes across –

Summer in a Catskills Town – “Brown stones sneeze / Snooze

in a sedated sun.”

Her Garden in Two Hemispheres – “This current one has

bluebells/ or forget-me-nots that sway.”

In spring’s early grace – “now we are talking yes, we are

talking, we are, he says, turns his snoozy belly up to the warmth dripping like
syrup from the afternoon sky.”

Sea-aria – “she thought the sky was pink gelatin and the

corner stone a rainbow ship.”

The collection is divided into two segments `Water on Ink’

and `Still Lives.’ The title poem `Blue Vessel’ is a fine example of Nabina’s
skill in whittling down a poem to the bare minimum. “Like Pablo Neruda/ I want
the body of an island” “ or become a blue vessel / of forgotten strife.” “where
Limbs turn into blue vessels/ remains of a graffiti / you or I etched on the
body / of our resident island.” A love poem, that pretends not to be.  The island is where only you and I can exist
where we whisper “elemental odes about salt and sleep.”

‘Water on Ink’ is a rain washed study of Kilokri, a suburb

in Delhi,  who “wets her palms/
streetlight on the henna.” “She word ties her hair.” It works like a water
colour painting till it ends with the devastating statement “All these un-fairy
faces are I. Me.”

Still Lives’ has some wonderful images of stationary

objects that acquire lives of their own and move towards freedom. The
two-pronged lamp does it by transforming into ‘an ornate flower’ and a
‘short-range star’. The chair gets up and finally leaves. The candle emerges in
a ‘dream unscathed from arson’. The glass vial ‘collects sun and water-borne
moments of nameless levitation.’

A delightful read and a lesson, Nabina’s collection

skillfully evades being labeled and pushed into some literature slot. This is
achieved by the extremely subtle way in which she handles even harsh themes.
Her poems act like `water on ink.’  They
stand on their own, drawing strength from the basic fact that poetry primarily
deals with words and is the principal source of language. Nabina has a secret
pact with words.



(Buy the book here: http://www.lulu.com/shop/nabina-das/blue-vessel/paperback/product-20604822.html)

xix.
Priyanka Dey
“Quest for Freedom”
Publisher: CYBERWIT
 
Poetry is said to be a sign of progress; a sense of
belongingness is said to have been achieved through poetry 
 something that is
seldom achieved through any other mediums. The title of the book, Quest For
Freedom
, is in itself a self-explanatory expression for the wings that poetry
instills onto oneself. As one scrolls through the pages of the book, the
message of it gets sharper and clearer 
 Bring Freedom onto Expression. You must
be wondering, freedom into expression 
 isn’t expressing all about freedom? Well technically yes, but then thanks to the art of
flattery or that of getting our “15 seconds of fame” we tend to get biased,
unruly and almost unethical. In contrast to this, Dr. Saha manages to skin out a
structure of poems that call a spade: a spade.
The collection of poems surround around various themes that
Dr. Saha has beautifully structured, making it look neat and composed unlike
many others that seem random and out of structure. These themes are, namely Eluding
Justice 
– that deals with the concept of a nation – our nation, India,

peoples living in and around and furthermore, their characteristics in terms of
their traits, their virtues and vices and concepts of patience, endurance and
hypocrisy and extremely significant attributes that have shaped our nation
such as slavery and freedom. Further, he talks of the second theme of Life
and Death
where he questions concepts of what is Life and then what is

Death – what are their consequences and effects, what happens after death
happens and also what role destiny plays in the two scenarios. The third theme
talks of a concept too much spoken of – Love. Love not like the ones our novels
talk of but the kind of love this book talks of is tranquil and almost hypnotic
with a reverence to love as God’s gift to us. He further explores love for
parents, siblings, children and partners. The fourth deals with a phrase – Longing for realization – which explores into dreams, success, fantasies,
visions and their contradictions with destiny, fiction, failure and intrigue.
The poems within this facet are my personal favorite from the entire lot with
complexities of spirituality, dreams and realities are very eloquently tackled.
The last but certainly the best theme is Enlightenment, a topic that intrigues
me to no ends. It deals with illusions of the mind, one’s existence and
purpose – his deeds, Salvation and his relation with Knowledge and also his past,
present and future.
 
All in all, it is a book that encompasses themes that our
humanly existence revolves around and the language, tone and simplicity with
which Dr. Saha has dealt with the themes, moves the poet in me. The only thing
that I felt is missing, was the usual foreword and the acknowledgements
sections. I am one of those crazy readers who actually read “from cover to
cover” and thus, I found it quite surprising when I found that absent. However,
I also would add that these are trivial matters that rests solely upon an
author to either pursue or not. Though the Quest for Freedom seems to find its
shape, the quench for it still continues to seethe. Hopefully, the freedom
shall dawn soon. Also, I felt that the language could be nuanced further, which
would bring out the beauty of the poems even more.
xx.
books
a. Chittagong: Summer of 1930 
Manoshi Bhattacharya 

 









The Chittagong Armoury Raid and the Battle of Jalalabad that followed encompass the biggest, organized, armed uprising to be led by civilians in the history of India’s struggle for freedom. It was the nex tbig event since The Uprising of 1857, or The Mutiny in British parlance, which had been led by trained soldiers. As a result the surprising successes enjoyed by a school master and his band of students resulted in intensive analysis and discussion not just amongst the officers of the British Indian Army but also in the Parliament in London. The incident caught the attention of the Empire (Australia and Canada) and of the USA. News items related to the Chittagong rebellion were reported regularly in the Australian papers – The Canberra Times, The Argus, The Courier Mail and The New York Times in the USA.
Since Gandhi and Nehru chose Ahimsa as their political strategy they, regardless of their personal beliefs, could not publicly applaud the contribution of the armed revolutionists. But it did provide them with a leveraging point when negotiating with the British. In the years following 1947, the newborn nation was too caught up with moving forward to be able to celebrate its heroes. Sixty years on, the new generation of Indians born in Independent India look back with pride spurring the making of movies and the writing of books.
Chittagong: Summer of 1930 is an exhaustively researched book that tells the story from the perspective of twenty-seven people, both Bengali and British, reflecting diverse view points. Having been crafted from the writings of the participants and their British contemporaries, the writing preserves the regional styles and nuances. For example, a Bengali never says ‘goodbye’. If he is the one going away he will say ‘I’ll be back’. And when seeing somebody off he will say ‘esho’ which translates literally to ‘come’. The British of the Raj speak a mix of British English, translations of Bengali jargon and American jargon.

Manoshi Bhattacharya 

Chittagong: Summer of 1930 evokes an image of the Raj delving into the lives of the Bengalis and the British, their thinking and reasoning, the food they ate, the songs they sang and the stories they told. Manoshi Bhattacharya creates a vivid picture and brings to light one of the lesser known and yet vital episodes in India’s struggle for independence, one without which the tale of the Empire can never be complete.
The second part of the book, which is due to be published, will deal with the women’s movement and the highly publicized Chittagong Armoury Raid Trial in which the Indians more than prove themselves equal to their British rulers.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Summer-of-1930/181204375236724?sk=wall&refid=12

b.

Exiled Among Natives: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry 
edited by Charusheel Singh and Binod Mishra

(Anthology available at Flipkart)

xxi.

brown critique-Sampark 
          contemporary Indian poetry in English   

 
our forthcoming titles  
1. Words Not Spoken  Vinita Agrawal
2. In the Shade of the Bodhi (A collection of poems and paintings)  Nayanathara
3. “Chirps”  Rohith
4. Mirror, Mirror on the Mind  Reshmy Warrier
5. Winter Sky and Selected Poems  Bishnupada Ray
6. Mofussil Notebook (poems of small town India)  Smita Agarwal
7. A Turn of Poetry  godavar
8. Gravity  Pravin Nair


xxii.                                                                                                                  literary/poetry groups


Paschimbanga Bangla Akademi

Bangla Akademi at Nandan, Kolkata
Paschimbanga Bangla Akademi, popularly known as Bangla Akademi, is the official regulatory body of Bengali language in West Bengal. Modeled after Bangla Academy of Bangladesh and Frace’s Academie Francaise, the Bangla Akademi was founded on May 20, 1986 in Kolkata to act as the official authority of the language and is entrusted with the responsibility of reforming Bengali spelling and grammar, compiling dictionaries, encyclopedias and terminologies and promoting Bengali language and culture in West Bengal. 
 
xxiii.
RedLeaf  Hyderabad



contributors
Mihir Chitre (b. 1988) loves writing, and hates rules and structures as much as he loves Mumbai, meat and fish, cricket, the arts and midnight strolls.  He has previously been published in magazines such as Indian LiteratureReading Hour, Kritya, Blue and Yellow Dog, Enchanting Verses, Pyrta Journal  and The Challenge for both fiction and poetry. His E-book, Circular, a collection of short stories, is available in the Amazon Kindle store.
Simon Jackson writes poetry, plays, films and music.  He has won 11 national and international competitions and awards for poetry and his last collection, Fragile Cargo, included the Best Published Poem of 2011, awarded by The Poetry Kit. Recent short films with Scottish poets and Billy Bragg have been screened by the BBC and in film festivals around the world, and his last play, Turning to the Camera, was The Guardian‘s Pick of the Week for Scottish theatre. He usually lives in Edinburgh, though he’s currently teaching in Cairo.
Suma Josson is
 an Indian-American journalist and filmmaker. Her documentary film Niyamgiri, You are still alive, on the ecological and human damage done by bauxite mining, won a first prize in the Short Film, Environment category at the 2010 International Film Festival of India.


Pitambar Naik was born and brought up in Kalahandi District of Odisha. He holds an MA in Journalism and Public Relations. He
works as a social worker in
Jamshedpur in India. He writes
both in English and Oriya.

Titiksha Pandit just graduated from the Masters program in Development studies at the Azim Premji University. This paper was written for one of the courses of that program. 

 


Jaspreet Mann Kanwar was born in Punjab, the proverbial land of myth and romance. She developed a
passion for poetry at an early age. Her mother exposed her to a gloriously
resplendent riot of colours found in Punjabi verses. It is from her mother that
she learnt that personal conscience and introspection are an integral part of
poetry that
touches
the heart
. Jaspreet
is an alumnus of Maharani Gayatri Devi Girls School, Jaipur and a Post Graduate
in English Literature from the Punjab University, Chandigarh. She has written
two collections of poems titled Monsoon Showers (Writers Workshop, Calcutta, 2010)
and Flashback (Sanbun Publishers, New Delhi, 2011). An educator by profession, she has been teaching English Literature for the past 17 years.


Debarun Sarkar is based in Calcutta presently having lived in Surat and Hyderabad before and has just graduated from The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad.
Shobhana Kumar has written four books of non-fiction—Coimbatore, The Emerging Indian Cosmopolis, SIMA—A journey Through 75 Years, Lakshmi, An Inspiring Legacy and An Event Called Life, Dr. P.C. Thomas in Conversation with Shobhana Kumar. Her first collection of poetry The Voices Never Stop was published by Writers Workshop, Kolkata in 2012. Her second volume is under print and she has begun work on the third. Some of her poems will be featured in Dance of the Peacock — An Anthology of Indian Poetry from India edited by Dr. Vivekanand Jha. Her work has also appeared in journals including Muse India and Kritya.
Leon Miller is working in India on a university cooperation and exchange project on behalf of Tallinn University of Technology, The European Union and in cooperation with several Indian Universities (including IIT, Delhi; IIT, Bhubaneshwar; JNU, Delhi, and KIIT, Bhubaneshwar). He also works on behalf of the International Association for Religious Freedom (India) and the Indian Council of Unitarian Churches.  He is a lecturer in Ethics, Comparative Religion, Intercultural Communications, and International Relations.  He has written a number of peer-reviewed articles, has several published poems, and a musical single – “Come to Paradise.”
Rupanjali Baruah is a creative writer, poet, abstract artist, translator & editor of WordSmith Publishers based in Guwahati, Assam. She has to her credit three published works of poetry, short fiction & novella including her art writing & translations published in national/international  literary & art journals.
Satarupa Sengupta was born in Shillong and after travelling many states is at present settled in Kolkata. Her passion is poetry, her profession is Insurance and her love is Spirituality. She has published three poetry books 
  From You to Eternity, When Reality Stands Up and Silent Whispers. She also writes short stories and articles.


Rajneesh Dham, born 3 September, former journalist, published in many publications, currently resides in Delhi.
Atri Majumdar is a student of English literature and is currently pursuing his undergraduate studies at Asutosh College, Calcutta University. He has published his first book of poems Shadow Of Light.

Geeta Chhabra’s poems in English have been translated
into the Arabic language and featured in reputed journals and newspapers. 
Geeta’s books An Indian Ode To The Emirates and No Journey Ends are published by Motivate Publishing.  Forthcoming, are more publications in poems
and prose. Recently, Geeta received an international
award for her website
www.geetachhabra.com   Poets Printery International Best Poetry Web Site Award for
Creativity and New Age Poetry.  This is a
joint venture of Skyline Publishing and Poets Printery. 
Geeta now divides her time between Mumbai and
Dubai.  

Jaydeep Sarangi is
a bilingual writer, academic, editor, translator, academic administrator and
the author of a number of significant publications (including 29 books) on Postcolonial issues, Indian Writing in English,
Australian Literature and Creative Writing in reputed journals/magazines in
India and abroad. He is the mentor of many academic and literary peer-reviewed
journals and has been taken the editorial board of several refereed journals in
India and abroad like, Mascara Literary
Review
  (Australia), Virtuoso(Hyderabad),Cavalcade (Nigeria),
Pegasus (Agra), The Okigbo Review (Nigeria), Unheard
Melody
, Parnassus (RaeBarelly) Prosopisia(Ajmer), Labyrinth(Gwalior),Indian
Journal of World Literature and Culture
(Bhubaneswar), IJPCL (Kerala), Scholastic
International Journal of Language and Literature
(Chennai) , Reflections (Tezu),ArsArtium, (Ghaziabad),Conjunctions – An International Refereed Journal of Language, Literature
& Culture(
Jalandhar).He edits “New Fiction
Journal
” 
(ISSN 0978 – 6863). He is one of the Editors, “Writers
Editors Critics
” and the Vice
President, GIEWEC (head office at Kerala). Dr Sarangi has delivered keynote
addresses  in several national and
international seminar and conferences. His Bengali book of poems, “
Lal Palasher Renu has been reviewed
extensively. His latest book of poems is “From Dulong to Beas
(New Delhi,2012). Dr Sarangi’s poems ,articles and reviews have appeared in
different refereed international journals and magazines in several countries. He
has guest edited two successively two issue for Muse india on marginal
literatures from the Eastern India and the North East.
 Recently,
he had been awarded with visiting fellow/writer
to the University of Wollongong, Australia and the Westerly Centre at
the Univ. of western Australia,Australia. 
Dr. Jaydeep Sarangi is with the Deptt. English
at Jogesh Chandra ChaudhuriCollege (Calcutta University. 
E-mail: [email protected] Blog: http://authorjaydeepsarangi.blogspot.in/

John Stewart is an Australian citizen and author currently living in Hong Kong after working in Xiamen University in Mainland China. Several years ago, he became involved in a spiritual pilgrimage to explore the commonality of cultures around the globe. He found himself recording experiences on all sorts of scrap paper. These writings were later revised for publication in literary form.
Souradeep Roy studied English literature at the Scottish Church College, Kolkata. Apart from writing poems, he also is a thespian working in Theatre Passion and Notice Board. The latter is his own arts collective, which also organises poetry reading sessions in Calcutta called ‘Musings’. Some of his poems have been published previously or await to be published in print in the anthologies Static Poetry III (Static Movement, USA) , Celebrating India (Nivasini Publishers, India), Spectral Lines (Nazar Look, Romania) and Magnapoets, Issue 9 (Magnapoets, Canada), The Poetic Bliss (India), Suisun Valley Review (Solano Community College, California) and Dampen to Bend (Coal Publishing), and online in Blackmail Press (New Zealand), Foliate Oak (University of Wisconsin, Arkansas, USA), Riverbabble 21(Pandemonium Press), Wordland (UK), Femficatio, Eternal Haunted Summer, Contemporary Literary Review: India, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, ‘BIG ART BOK 2013’ (Scarborough Arts, Canada) and Shoptodina (India). He was also long listed for the Toto Funds the Arts (TFA) 2013 award for creative writing in English. The Rickshawwala was first published in Foliate Oak Magazine published by the University of Wisconsin, Arkansas.
Ra Sh translates from Malayalam and Tamil to English and vice
versa. He has translated works by Dario Fo, Paulo Friere, Freidrich
Durrenmatt, Bertolt Brecht and Badal Sircar to Malayalam as theatre projects
and published works. Published English translations include Harum Scarum Saar and
Other Stories
by Bama (from Tamil), Mother Forest – The unfinished story of
C.K. Janu
by Bhaskaran (from Malayalam) (published by Women Unlimited, Delhi)
and Waking is Another Dream, an anthology of Sri Lankan Tamil poetry (along
with Meena Kandasamy) (published by Navayana, Delhi.) Also translated plays
and poems from Tamil, which formed  part
of an Anthology of Dalit Writing in Tamil and articles from Malayalam, that formed part of an Anthology of Dalit writing in Malayalam (both published by
Oxford University Press, India.) Poems have been
published in Bhashaposhini and Kindle Magazine. Did English subtitles for three award-winning Malayalam
feature films (Shayanam, Raamaanam and Kaliyachan), one Tamil feature film (Sengadal) and a Tamil docufeature (Pennadi.)

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