Poetry: Nandini Sahu (Tagore Special)

Nandini Sahu
Nandini and Beyond

She is Nandini. Raktakarabi, the single

red flower from the red oleander plant.

The indomitable Nandini, “created

from the blood of its cruelly pierced breast.” 


Never unfilled like Draupadi’s pots,

ever-aging till death.

Like the eternally profiting cow, Nandini.


We are one, yet distinct.

Shadows of each other in fact.

Immersed in each other, like

a drop of water that

the ocean can melt.

She is blue, I am gold.

She radiant, me in recline.

She vibrant, me graceful.

She tender, me adoring.

She beauty, me truth.

She in me, me in her.

She and me, adoring Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram.

Striking but lethal flowers

if need be, we are beauty and death



Oh Nandini, speak from your debris!

Let your remnants speak!

In me you are reborn, now love is my conquest.

The many colours of love are my culture.

The grandeur of love

stretching over the humane and the divine

in Nandini and Nandini.

Love in an orchid or

in the wasteland untrod.


Love has been my peer of the realm,

love is my religion, love is my spirit.

Is the melody beckoning from some

distant flute a note

to summon me to a timeless life or

to the spring of mounting knowledge, paradise sent?


My order is with no social barriers

that are inviolable; to those I discount

in my search for bliss. And for peace.

I take them in my stride.

I can bring about the paramount

in human nature.

In a city where men are incarcerated to mine gold

I make them receptive their bondage

and craft in them the desire to be liberate.

I stretch from dawn to dusk

commanding the coming days.

I am born, once again, infinite.


My crest, the red oleander, does inquest.

Is it a defenceless flower of frailty?

An unconquerable red badge of might?


Whatever that could be, yet

this tremendous vitality makes me a

breathing rendezvous celebrity.


My death was perpetual, a resurrection

for the gold diggers.

In my rebirth, Nandini is slow arising.

And between my bliss and her ecstasy

lies our quiescent

and our dreaming thereof.

We rest and nest in a radical niche, we

wake in a world of words and art.


Let love, humane, though frail, sway

the coming days

of Nandini, in Nandini.

Beyond Nandini.


*This poem is in honour of the indomitable lifeforce of the character Nandini from Tagore’s play Rakta Karabi(Red Oleanders). Gurudev Tagore’s Nandini lives on till eternity; here I offer a tribute to her and I celebrate her spirit.


BIO: Prof. Nandini Sahu, the Amazon Bestselling Author (2022), is a major voice in contemporary Indian English literature. She has accomplished her doctorate in English literature under the guidance of Late Prof. Niranjan Mohanty, Prof. of English, Visva Bharati, Santiniketan. She has been widely published in India, U.S.A, U.K., Africa, Italy, Australia and Pakistan. Apart from numerous other literary awards, she is a triple gold medalist in English literature; she has received the Gold Medal from the hon'ble Vice-President of India for her contributions to English Studies in India in the year 2019. She is the author and editor of seventeen books, The Other Voice, TheRecollection as Redemption, The Post-Modernist Delegation to English Language Teaching, The Post Colonial Space: Writing the Self and the Nation, Silver Poems on My, Folklore and the Alternative Modernities (Vol.I), Folklore and the Alternative Modernities (Vol. II), Sukamaa and Other Poems, Suvarnarekha, Sita(A Poem), Dynamics of Children’s Literature, Zero Point and Selected Poems of Nandini Sahu(Winter-2020), Selected Poems of Nandini Sahu(Spring-2021), Re-reading Jayanta Mahapatra and A Song, Half & Half.. She has five books under publication from Black Eagle Publications, USA, to be released in 2022. She is the Former Director, School of Foreign Languages and currently a Professor of English at Indira Gandhi National Open University [IGNOU], New Delhi, India. Her areas of research interest cover Indian Literature, New Literatures, Folklore and Culture Studies, American Literature, Children’s Literature and Critical Theory. She is the Chief Editor/Founder Editor of Interdisciplinary Journal of Literature and Language (IJLL), a bi-annual peer-reviewed journal in English. Professor Sahu has designed multiple academic programmes on Culture Studies, Indian Folk Literature and Indian Philosophical Thoughts for IGNOU and many other universities. 



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