Translation: Kedarnath Singh

Two Hindi Poems, Translated by: Ekta Hela

Prof. Ekta Hela is a new face in the literary academic world. She was born in kolkata in 1990. She completed her graduation and masters from renowned Presidency College of kolkata. She worked in Ministry of home affairs, department of food and public distribution, directorate of sugar and vegetable oils as a translator for 3 years. Now, she is working as an assistant professor in Jogesh Chandra Chaudhari College, Kolkata. Her noted works are ‘paramparagat grammen prashashan aur vartman panchayti raj’,’Hindi cinema me badalte naari charitra’, and ‘samsaamayik kavita me samvednatak lokdharmita’.


And spring is coming again
A page of Shakuntal*
Came out of my cupboard
Fluttering in the air
Fluttering to get me up
And in the ears of things spread around
Let me say “No”
A firm
And a little “no”
Against all the voices
Safe in my heart
I get up
Go to the door
See the city
Waving hands
And yell loudly
I’m surprised
How many years have I lost?
Walking on track
And telling the world

(Editor's note: *Shakuntal, or 'Abhijñānaśākuntalam' is a Sanskrit classic by legendary poet Kalidasa, narrating the story of Shakuntala and Dushyant) 

Night in a City 

Lightning shines, fear of falling water
Why  they fleeing,who have home ?
Why are they silent , those who know the language
What is it that looks like smoke?
The green, the green are the ones
Who confused all threads of life?
The city which harbours desires
Dog barks, man squirrels sing
This city whose stubbornness is simple
More and more comforts freedom
You never see it in smoldering moment
That it looks different in every mirror
Partners,night came, Now I’m going
Got paid to come and go
When the eye feel sleepy
Then listen slowly
How the chains churned overnight.
Sahitya academy award winner Hindi poet ‘Kedarnath Singh’ is the key sign of contemporary poetry. He was born in ‘Chakia’ village in Ballia district of Uttar Pradesh in 1934. He completed his masters degree in 1956 from Banaras Hindu University. He acquired his PhD degree in 1964. He taught in many colleges and retired as head of the department, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. He composeed many books of poetry and prose. In the poetry of Kedarnath Singh, we saw a conflict between village and city. Basically he came from a rural background and lately he continued his literary journey in culture of urban cities.his major works are ‘अभी बिल्कुल अभी’ , ‘जमीन पक रही है’, ‘यहाँ से देखो’, ‘अकाल में सारस’, ‘उत्तर कबीर और अन्य कविताएँ’, ‘बाघ’, ‘तॉल्सताय और साइकिल’ etc. He was honoured by many awards such as Sahitya Academy Award for 'akal me saras' in 1989, Maithlisharan Gupt Award, Kumar Ashaan award (kerala), Dinkar Award, Jeewan Bharti Samman (Odissa), Vyaas Samman and many more.

बसंत / केदारनाथ सिंह

और बसंत फिर आ रहा है
शाकुंतल का एक पन्ना
मेरी अलमारी से निकलकर
हवा में फरफरा रहा है
फरफरा रहा है कि मैं उठूँ
और आस-पास फैली हुई चीजों के कानों में
कह दूँ 'ना'
एक दृढ़
और छोटी-सी 'ना'
जो सारी आवाजों के विरुद्ध
मेरी छाती में सुरक्षित है

मैं उठता हूँ
दरवाजे तक जाता हूँ
शहर को देखता हूँ
हिलाता हूँ हाथ
और जोर से चिल्लाता हूँ-
ना... ना... ना...

मैं हैरान हूँ
मैंने कितने बरस गँवा दिए
पटरी से चलते हुए
और दुनिया से कहते हुए

हाँ...  हाँ... हाँ...

शहर में रात / केदारनाथ सिंह

बिजली चमकी, पानी गिरने का डर है
वे क्यों भागे जाते हैं जिनके घर है
वे क्यों चुप हैं जिनको आती है भाषा
वह क्या है जो दिखता है धुँआ-धुआँ-सा
वह क्या है हरा-हरा-सा जिसके आगे
हैं उलझ गए जीने के सारे धागे
यह शहर कि जिसमें रहती है इच्छाएँ
कुत्ते भुनगे आदमी गिलहरी गाएँ
यह शहर कि जिसकी ज़िद है सीधी-सादी
ज्यादा-से-ज्यादा सुख सुविधा आज़ादी
तुम कभी देखना इसे सुलगते क्षण में
यह अलग-अलग दिखता है हर दर्पण में
साथियों, रात आई, अब मैं जाता हूँ
इस आने-जाने का वेतन पाता हूँ
जब आँख लगे तो सुनना धीरे-धीरे
किस तरह रात-भर बजती हैं ज़ंजीरें

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