Bapu

Lopa Banerjee

Raghupati raaghav raja raam, patita paavan sita raam…’

 

The undulations of a deep-throated song, like a whisper,

An indispensable chanting, floats across continents.

I hover in a dreamscape, in sacrosanct moments, visit

The irreconcilable truths of my homeland.

What was the mad rush to usurp the history of our bygone days?

Had I learnt it whole? Or unlearnt it from my core?

Which path would I choose?

 

Bapu,

The nomenclature, the image, the charkha,

The sentimentalism of Satyagraha,

The massacre of Jalianwallah Bagh,

The relentless fury of Quit Indiamovement,

The torrents of a free India, shackled by desperate moments of partition,

One by one, it all swims up, lumps in my parched throat.

The moody river of my being drowns in the dichotomy

Of lessons,

Stories,

Wounds endured,

The haunting wails

Of my countrys freedom, the apparitions of revolt

Sinking, melting in a whirlpool of oblivion.

 

Ishwar Allah tero naam, sabko sammati de bhagwan

Raghupati raaghav raja raam, patita paavan sita raam…’

 

Bapu, I pass by your edifice stoned in silence, mumbling along passersby

Each time I return to the grains of sand Id left behind in my trail westward.

Revolution had been my second skin, I remember,

In the tepid sea of remembrances, when my Bengali ethos had chosen

Subversive heroes, my bosom had ached for their historic proclamations,

Blood, in exchange of freedom, Walk alone, when youre forlorn, and bleeding.

My first lessons had been in fortitude attained through valor,

Endurance was never a part of my system,

Surrendering, the ashes of my virgin dreams.

Today, the deep-throated song, I have suckled effortlessly.

 

Bapu,

The Mahatma, resurrected by the new name by Tagore,

The bard in Shantiniketan, I know now, how

In the annals of history, you have scalded,

In your subversive bursts of ahimsha which I knew of

All along, as historic, corrosive surrendering.

 

Stumbling on the ruins of your experiments with truth,

On the fiery flames of chronicles written, unwritten, twisted,

Unrecorded, forgotten, I hover, lost.

I hover around your bruised truths of annihilation, the ashes

Of your conscience, questioned, denigrated, often.

 

Raghupati raaghav raja raam, patita paavan sita raam…’

 

The refrain of your bhajan sweeps across chaotic thoughts

Swishing back and forth the Ferris wheel of revolution, and stoicism.

The scripting of politics, a surreal haze in which my senses drown,

Whom do I pay allegiance to, Bapu?

 ***


Bio: Lopamudra Banerjee is an author, poet, translator, editor with six books and four anthologies in fiction and poetry. She lives in Dallas, Texas with her family where she also teaches Creative Writing at Richland College. She has been a recipient of the Journey Awards (First Place category winner) for her memoir Thwarted Escape: An Immigrants Wayward Journey, and also a recipient of the Woman Achiever Award (IWSFF, 2018), the International Reuel Prize for Poetry (2017) and International Reuel Prize for her English translation of Nobel Laureate Tagores selected works of fiction (2016). Her nonfiction essays, fiction and other writings have been published in various journals, e-zines and anthologies in India, UK and USA. Recently, she has been a featured poet at Rice University, Houston and co-produced the poetry film 'Kolkata Cocktail' directed by Shuvayu Bhattacharjee, where she has also featured as one of the lead actors. Her book of stories All That Jazz & Other Pathbreaking Taleshas been released in Amazon Kindle recently and will soon be available in paperback.

Her works are available on her website www.lopabanerjeewrites.com and also in Amazon.com and Amazon India.


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