Arun dev

Sunday, January 22, 2012

arun dev (b-16/2/1972) is a Hindi poet. A book of poetry KYA TO SAMAY is published by Bharatiya  jnanpith, New delhi. (2004).
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aparna bhagwat
Arun Dev is an eminent poet . His choice of words and the allegory he draws, reflect the image of life we lead and of the world we are creating there by.One finds his poems mature,thought provoking, with a stream of tangibility giving the society a clear message and leaves you with a question to ruminate upon and take into notice some aspects of life which we would normally turn a blind eye to. The satire used is understated and leaves us captivated and wanting for more.

Translator’s note:

aparna manoj
Arun Dev is a widely recognized and distinguished young face in contemporary Hindi Poetry. What most distinguishes Arun Dev's poetry is almost a natural knack for metaphor, connotations, cultural-specific concepts and values. Above the way he visualizes a woman in broader perspectives is enchanting. Each of his metaphors is amazing and throws a new light on a common experience.

We all know the problems of literary translation, especially in the case of translating poetry. A translator considers finding equivalents not just for linguistics, structure or concepts, but also for features like style, genre, figurative language, connotations, denotations, culture-specific concepts and values and above all the nuances of the language.

Well, I must tell you that translating Arun's poetry into English was a pleasure accompanied with challenges. Hindi is my mother tongue so comprehension was not a difficulty but understanding subtle nuances and their transposition in a foreign language evaded me at times. My special thanks to Aparna Bhagwat that she was always there to correct me. Many times we had discussions and arguments regarding the choice of words, syntax, connotations and so on but it all went abreast. Thanks to Arun Dev for bearing with me during those days and providing all the significant details.

painting :raza

A murder

She had been murdered. She had disappeared from the lonely stretch of the road in the fields that led to a hamlet. After many days,the cadaver was found behind the sugarcane fields. Her face charred . She could be identified only by her clothes .

The father stressed that his daughter had not been raped as her clothes did not reveal any signs of such a heinous deed. Even as she breathed her last,the girl had saved her family's face.

Her brother working far off,reached the place somehow . His face revealing his tiredness and unwillingness to be involved in the imbroglio.

The family members wanted to let bygone be bygone and to move on to more important tasks at hand and to reconcile with this petty incident.

One of the neighbors even questioned the idea of educating the girl.

She dreamt of being a cop and took coaching for the same in the nearby city. It was being jabbered that the girl talked to her cousins on mobile before her last breath. And such whispers went through one ear and out of many mouths.

Her gruesome end would have been considered a natural outcome and justified if she had,had an affair because unlicensed freedom led to such ill-fated incidents. And this would have further brought disgrace to the family.

She was just annihilated! It was a relief to the family that she had had no illicit relations nor had she fallen in love.

She was obliterated for her femininity .
Her long and thick tresses were for the worldly affairs .
Her shining face would have attracted some beau.
She was a hope for someone
Also she had her own life to live .

Was it justified to exterminate her if she had been in love with someone?
Or if she had been an unwed mother or she had had many lovers?
Or simply because she was a coquette or a flirt?

Do we now need to differentiate between a murder and a "cold blooded murder" ?


I have longed to love God,
To have an undaunted love, to hold my head high.
But no scriptures offered me valid ways to do so.

I could see,
The pages were inscriptions of Bhakti (Faith),
Similar to slavery,
To always remain under His supreme vigilance .

The void within me makes me agitated,
His grandeur allures me,
Whenever I groped in the dark I remembered Him as a habit .
I wanted to be devoted,
And pined to merge my being with His Oneness.
But this would be surrendering myself in the hands of religious priests.

I wished to have faith in Avtars,
Krishna would fascinate me the most,
He epitomized a unique amalgamation of a perfect statesman and ideal lover,
But a simple recall of Bheem tearing Duryodhan's thighs asunder,
And Krishna smiling diabolically, in the backdrop,
occurs to me as cruel and collusive .

There is a walkway to reach the Omniscient,
through a Paigamber who follows some Book.
A book, published by the God himself, in his own mystic publishing house.
God,who is described as compassionate and the omnipotent,
Gave only the first copy of the first edition,
And a revised edition was never published .

Either He had nothing more to say or,
May be people had stopped listening to Him.

Either He is to be feared or he demands a dreaded surrender.

Bethought of a paradise full of fairies,
I beheld endless crusades in the vast empire of violence and injustice,
And human corpses falling to it.
As if evangelism was a primal habit of Man.

Can I Love Thee?
Trespassing the monasteries and their heads,

Or - do I really need You, the Divine?

What else do I crave for; except my own endeavors.

A lantern

Here with the dust (earth )
it exists.

seems seated politely near darkness
speaking so very softly.

As if a young nun set on a fire
learning abstinence.

Her soul's wick is now illuminated and rejoices in its globe
and its brilliant aura laughs blithely
Living with all the required ethics.

It seems as if the radiance of stars have suffused in dew drops
and trickles through the blue.

It is said that the darkness can only breathe outside itself.
but it is a lantern which teaches us how to respect even the Dark .

If not timely pitched low
It smears its own face with ash .

The lantern does not irradiate at your desire,
It needs a little care
ready to deck up every evening
Its wick being trimmed
It needs to be cleansed and polished till it gleams .
And then its soul gets enflamed in its frame .

The cleansing and lighting up go hand in hand,
Its only then, that its smile effloresce.

If not -
The wick gets doused , loses its glimpse and stifled in its soul
as it demands love and care of the twain .

It was never an adornment
neither was it the psyche of self -love
It never witnessed extremes in its life
nor was it ever insolent.

Then why should it vouch for what is not its lot?

It just has to be.


Beside Meer

Away from the rampart of Red Fort
and the stairways of Jama Masjid
Rests a woebegone poet

Meer sleeps beneath the walls of his beloveds' courtyard
With a broken heart
but open faced as well.

His voice still re-echoes among the relics of antiquities
Afar from the soil of Hindustan with its bronze tinge .

An abode where sparrows hop
the peacocks dance around
And the mangoes oozing with nectar fall to the grounds.

He was the same Sufi angel whose parting made the whole centenary fraught with pain.
His songs are still strewn and scattered like debris
outside the realms of history.
Where the land still reverberates with the pounding hooves of the Durrani armies,
And the voices eerily echoing off the dilapidated empire like a roaming mendicant.

As if the relics spin a yarn of some unsaid grief,
perhaps about its own time , the empire or maybe of the poet himself .
The poet had been noticed many times in temple
with Vermillion ( Tilak ) on his forehead .

After all, if one followed the callings of the heart,
The road to Kaba ended at Kailaas.
The tender fingers of his couplets put up an inquest

which left the Brahmins and Sheikhs at a loss of words.
At many times even a shadow of a tree was a burden for this poet
His tongue chose such words which would fall as heavy showers
on the arid terrains of meanings .

It was language which surpassed the Sindhu
and a river in itself.

but the language never knew that it would cleave into twain.

Words somewhere else
And their connotations elsewhere.

The remnants of Ayodhya quivered within the waves of Saryu 

Near Ayodhya,in a street,
Overflowing with abundance,
Then lived women, sovereign in nature .

Sitting on an old rug of rich culture
Getting tainted and begrimed daily,
In the feeble play of,
The enthrallment between the two genders.

The heavy pall of mist of the 20th century,
Enshrouded those bygone streets of every city,
which used to glitter once,
And be illuminated in dreams.

The musical anklets of Umrav jaan got tossed and shattered.
The bright lights of Kajari,Thumri and Daadara shine no more.
Only a feeble melancholic voice of Begam Akhtar's songs echoes in the forlorn streets.

There was a time,
When a dust smeared Rama set out on all-conquering campaign,
And the ten directions were left huffing.
Everything, today, was a business for the market now.

This street too was on the way to the market,
The scorching noon,
saw some people gathered around,
And once again, remnants of Ayodhya quivered within the waves of Saryu,
Old dilapidated buildings dithered,
And behind the tattered doleful curtains
The women huddled together
standing helpless.

These women dreamt of their Rama,
They were happy in their own envisioned Mithila,
They hummed the melodies once written by their Vidyapatis.

How come these hidden horns , sharp teeth and old nails have grown ..
foul words pelted on them like sharp stones.
There very being, was now an abuse .
And one could see them suffering their agony and moaning - silently.

For,who would hear their wails amid the din of glorious victory?
It was a cruelty camouflaged

Long dislodged and banished from their own bodies,
The women were now unrecognizable even by the time itself.

Drudging through the nights made them weary and tired,
And they glanced towards Ayodhya.
Their glowing faces,
Peered longingly into those nostalgic pale nights.

They were the women who freed the men off unbridled lust, innumerable times.

Gone are the days of the primal game,
The woman can no longer counterbalance a man's power with just the endowment of her charm.

Flowing on the sidelines Saryu once again witnessed an exile.

The women had their Janak but
They had their Ravanas too .

Unfortunately, no war was waged for them.

Bethinking if Ram was not political what would have been their fate.


It was a Full Moon day of Aashadh
when the tall , divine master with his lowered eyes and sharp memory
endowed with thirty two auspicious marks
had abandoned his palace
therewith Rahul as well as Kapilayni were left behind.

  "I have recognized the mason
thou cannot build your house anymore
as the shackles are broken
and the crest is demolished."

It was a tranquil first quarter of the night
the brook flowed serenely.

Near the banks of river Niranjana about two thousand five hundred twenty nine years ago
The darkness of ignorance had been torn asunder
and you said," It Is the end of all sufferings."

While crossing the woods of teak near Kushinara
Shasta said to his beloved disciple, Anand
"Speak truth with logic
shun indulgence with abstention and refrain all extremes of life."

His spirit was now river of compassion.
rejuvenating life in all times
 which washed the sordid wounds of wars .

God was here without proclaiming his Providence
After festal event of the enlightenment the soul had no consternation of limited truth.
The truth was infinite.
The stream kept flowing with time.
Even the shriveled leaflets of ancient times nestled in this moistness.

One morning
at Bamiyan in Afganistan
The sun witnessed a heinous crime
It rose and rose above its limits, heavy with leaden pain
to pick up the pieces of an ancient faith
which was then plunged in the pool of blood of two hundred cows .

The now aged Buddha and the young Aanand were
once again trying to clear the lost path
Now obstructed by Fear, Ignorance and Hatred.

translated  from Hindi by aparna manoj


{ Dr. Deepti Gupta } at: January 22, 2012 at 6:07 AM said...

Gripping poems with subtle nuances of deep emotions.

Kudos !


{ prabhat ranjan } at: January 22, 2012 at 6:12 AM said...

great translation. nice to read arun in an alien languege.

{ Farid Khan } at: January 22, 2012 at 6:59 AM said...

अपनी भाषा की कविता को दूसरी भाषा में देखना एक सुखद अनुभव है। बधाई अरुण भाई और अपर्णा जी और अपर्णा जी को।

{ Vandana Sharma } at: January 22, 2012 at 7:16 PM said...

निश्चित ही यह एक बढिया और जरुरी पहल है, बधाई आप देनो को ..

{ अनुपमा पाठक } at: January 22, 2012 at 7:33 PM said...

That's great!
wonderful translation!

{ सुशील कृष्ण गोरे } at: January 22, 2012 at 11:26 PM said...

Really A Great Work going on.

{ विमलेश त्रिपाठी } at: January 23, 2012 at 3:50 AM said...

Nice to see ur Poems in English Arunda.... Congts to u Aparna dee and aparna dee

Leena Malhotra Rao at: January 23, 2012 at 3:52 AM said...

बहुत से लोग इंग्लिश से हिंदी में अनुवाद कर रहे हैं लेकिन हिंदी साहित्य के प्रसार के लिए ज़रूरी है की हिंदी साहित्य को अंग्रेजी में अनुवाद करके प्रस्तुत किया जाए .. अपर्णा की यह पहल प्रशंसनीय है और निश्चित ही साहित्य के प्रसार व विस्तार में सहायक होगी.. साधुवाद.. अरुणजी की कवितायें मानवीय संवेदनाओं को बखूबी उकेरती हैं..

Misir Arun at: January 23, 2012 at 3:53 AM said...

अंगरेजी साहित्य में हिन्दी घुसपैठ भी जरूरी है ,आखिर विश्व-स्तर पर पता तो चले कि हिन्दी में क्या कुछ चल रहा है !

khusi at: January 24, 2012 at 6:34 AM said...

wo khusbu khan jo arun ki hindi ki kavitawo me hai

Anonymous at: January 24, 2012 at 9:16 AM said...

These are engaging pieces by Arun Dev. I loved their English version. Congratulations to Arun Dev and Aparna.


Aparna Bhagwat at: January 24, 2012 at 9:38 AM said...

Many thanks for accepting our initial endeavors so well. Translating a work is no childs game. Both positive and negative critique is equally welcome. Positive comments act as a tonic boosting our enthusiasm to work harder. Negative comments force us to look deeper and improve where required. However,it is my humble request to all the readers to be aware of your choice of words. Loose offhand comments not only kill the spirit and act as dampers but they show the readers capacity as well. We are humans too. Kindly be our guides and help us augment and refine our skill. We are open to suggestions from one and all.

{ Purushottam Agrawal } at: January 24, 2012 at 10:41 PM said...

wonderful poems,brilliant translations. keep it up

{ अपर्णा मनोज } at: January 24, 2012 at 11:21 PM said...

A very special thanks to Purushottam sir for motivation.

{ अपर्णा मनोज } at: January 25, 2012 at 1:26 AM said...

We would like to acknowledge the efforts of Shri Mohan Shrotiya ji,who took the pains to point out some of our shortcomings.We are indebted. Sir, you would have, probably, noticed by now that we've worked upon your suggestions and tried to do justice to them. We also hope for furthermore advice and counsel from you. Thank you once again.
Aparna Bhagwat and Aparna M

Purushottam Agrawal at: January 26, 2012 at 6:45 AM said...

It is heartening to see Arun Dev an important voice in contemporary Hindi poetry being rendered in English so competently.

Sayeed Ayub at: January 28, 2012 at 9:21 PM said...

Nice poems...nice translations... Arun Dev is a prolific and important poet of our time. His poems deserved to be translated in other languages. I am happy to see some of his creations in English and Marathi. Congratulations to him and Aparna ji as well, for beautiful work.

{ AMRITA BERA } at: April 23, 2012 at 1:54 AM said...

Brilliant poetry and excellent translation. Heartfelt good wishes to Arun Devji and Aparnaji. Wish you both a very creative future.

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