Enjoying Hindi poetry again

by apoorvmat

I have said before that the short story is my favorite form of literature. This is still true – and is likely to stay that way. But with Amrita doing her Master’s in English Literature (with Ekphrastic poetry as one of her electives), there’s lots of poetry-talk at home these days. With Amrita spontaneously quoting Natalie Handal and Adrienne Rich, and making me listen to original renditions by TS Eliot, my interest in poetry (which I had – among several other things – completely lost over the years) has been reinvigorated.

My interest – particularly in Hindi poems – had started quite early. My mom taught Hindi Literature to college students and introduced me to several great Hindi poems when I was a child. I would recite these poems in Elocution contests – sometimes only half understanding their meaning! The CBSE Hindi course in class 9 and 10 also had some good poems.

So, net net, I was quite excited when I stumbled upon this website last Friday:

http://www.geeta-kavita.com/indian_poetry_list.asp

It turned about to be a treasure trove of classic Hindi poetry! I found some real gems that I thought I would share:

1. Andheri Raat Mein (Dr. Harivansh Rai Bachchan)

http://www.geeta-kavita.com/hindi_sahitya.asp?id=92

Best known as Amitabh Bachchan’s dad and then for Madhushala and Agnipath, Dr. Bachchan also wrote a lot about how difficult times are always temporary and there is always a new dawn. What makes this poem special for me is the twist towards the end. All along you think that the poem is about defiance and resilience. Then in the last verse you realize that it’s a love poem!

2. Veeron Ka Kaisa Ho Vasant (Subhadra Kumari Chauhan)

http://www.geeta-kavita.com/hindi_sahitya.asp?id=177

An ode to our soldiers written during the freedom movement. As relevant and appealing today as it was back then! I get goose bumps when I read it.

3. Sakhi Woh Mujhse Kahkey Jaatey (Rashtrakavi Maithili Sharan Gupt)

http://www.geeta-kavita.com/hindi_sahitya.asp?id=114

Written by the poet to try and draw a picture of Yashodhara’s agony when Prince Siddharth (later Gautam Buddha) leaves on his journey to seek Truth without telling her. My mom quotes lines from the poem when my dad is out of the house for long and she doesn’t know where he is!

4. Pushp Ki Abhilasha (Pandit Makhanlal Chaturvedi)

http://www.geeta-kavita.com/hindi_sahitya.asp?id=120

In 12 short lines, Panditji describes (using a flower as his medium) his love for the nation and its soldiers! Sometimes brevity can be so powerful!

5. Do Anubhutian (Atal Bihari Vajpayee)

http://www.geeta-kavita.com/hindi_sahitya.asp?id=47

I like Vajpayeeji! He speaks well (albeit with long pauses!) but he can also write pretty well. Do Anubhutian is actually two different short poems – one describing despair and the other optimism. As you read the poems, you can hear him reciting them!

More later🙂

(Originally written in October 2010 as a Facebook ‘Note’)