Monday, 20 May 2013

Poetry Reads: Basanti Hawa by Kedarnath Agarwal


There is something about the Hindi language that appeals to this writer's heart. Expressing in English has its joys in putting pen to paper, in arranging, rearranging words, in description, documentation, rhyme and flow. But for the sheer spontaneity of conversation - Hindi it is.

I embarked on translating the following poem, word by word. But 
realized after a few lines that I am yet to grasp the nuances, polish and majestic vocabulary of the language in its written form. So here is a note on the poem with specks of what I could convey:

Roughly translated as Spring Wind, this Hindi poem by Kedarnath Agarwal (1911 - 2000) is a first person narrative by none other than the invisible, omnipresent, and free - Wind. The poem's sing-song flow is such that it conveys in its deliberate clipped arrangement, a continuous, ageless quality of an element we usually take for granted.


बसंती हवा
केदारनाथ अग्रवाल

हवा हूँ, हवा मैं                                                                                        
बसंती हवा हूँ।                                                  

सुनो बात मेरी -      

अनोखी हवा हूँ।       
बड़ी बावली हूँ 

बड़ी मस्तमौला।

नहीं कुछ फ़िकर है

बड़ी ही निडर हूँ 

जिधर चाहती हूँ

उधर घूमती हूँ

मुसाफिर अजब हूँ।

(wind am, wind I, the spring wind am I...it begins and then goes - am crazy, mischievous, naughty, no worries, fearless, I roam where I please, am a strange traveler.) 

न घर-बार मेरा,
न उद्देश्य मेरा,
न इच्छा किसी की,
न आशा किसी की,
न प्रेमी न दुश्मन,

जिधर चाहती हूँ
उधर घूमती हूँ।

हवा हूँ, हवा मैं

बसंती हवा हूँ!

(Breathlessly, the wind blows its tale like a whistle - no home, no ambition, no desire, no hope, no lover, no enemies, go where I please, wind am, wind I, spring wind am I...)

जहाँ से चली मैं
जहाँ को गई मैं -
शहर, गाँव, बस्ती,
नदी, रेत, निर्जन,
हरे खेत, पोखर,
झुलाती चली मैं।
झुमाती चली मैं!

हवा हूँ, हवा मै
बसंती हवा हूँ।

(from where I passed, to where I went, city, village, ghetto, river, sand, desolation, green fields, pond, I went swinging, I went swaying, wind am, wind I, spring wind am I...)    
 
चढ़ी पेड़ महुआ,
थपाथप मचाया;
गिरी धम्म से फिर,
चढ़ी आम ऊपर,
उसे भी झकोरा,
किया कान में ‘कू’,
उतरकर भगी मैं,
हरे खेत पहुँची -
वहाँ, गेंहुँओं में
लहर खूब मारी। 

(climbed a tree, made havoc, fell with a thud, went for the mangoes, shook them too, said "ku" in the ear, leapt off running, reached the green fields, there, among the wheat, made many waves)

पहर दो पहर क्या,
अनेकों पहर तक
इसी में रही मैं!
खड़ी देख अलसी
लिए शीश कलसी,
मुझे खूब सूझी -
हिलाया-झुलाया
गिरी पर न कलसी!
इसी हार को पा,
हिलाई न सरसों,
झुलाई न सरसों,

हवा हूँ, हवा मैं
बसंती हवा हूँ!

(not for a moment, but for moments eternal, I dwelt here. Then the wind eyes yet another mischief - tried to budge the splashing earthen pot from its hold, but it did not fall! Raw from this defeat, did not sway or shake the mustard, wind am, wind I, spring wind am I

मुझे देखते ही
अरहरी लजाई,
मनाया-बनाया,
न मानी, न मानी;
उसे भी न छोड़ा -
पथिक आ रहा था,
उसी पर ढकेला;
हँसी ज़ोर से मैं,
हँसी सब दिशाएँ,
हँसे लहलहाते
हरे खेत सारे,
हँसी चमचमाती
भरी धूप प्यारी;
बसंती हवा में
हँसी सृष्टि सारी!

हवा हूँ, हवा मैं
बसंती हवा हूँ!

(the pulses shied away on seeing me, I tried to charm, but she didn't yield...I didn't spare him too - a traveler was coming, I lunged at him, I laughed aloud, laughed all directions, laughed all swaying fields, laughed the sparkling lovely sunlight, in the spring wind all creation laughed, wind am, wind I, spring wind am I)      

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(Article by Snehith Kumbla)

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