Categories
Index

Borderless, June 2021

Editorial

Restless Stirrings… Click here to read.

Interviews

In conversation with Fakrul Alam, an eminent translator, critic and academic from Bangladesh who has lived through the inception of Bangladesh from East Bengal, translated not just the three greats of Bengal (Tagore, Nazrul, Jibanananda) but also multiple political leaders. Click here to read.

In conversation with Arindam Roy, the Founder and Editor-in-cheif of Different Truths, an online portal for social journalism with forty years of experience in media and major Indian newspapers. Click here to read

Poetry

Click on the names to read

Jared Carter, Geetha Ravichandran, Heena Chauhan, Michael R. Burch, Ruchi Acharya, Jim Bellamy, Bibek Adhikari, Rhys Hughes, Ihlwha Choi, Sutputra Radheye, Jay Nicholls, Geethu V Nandakumar, John Grey, Ana Marija Meshkova

Limericks by Michael R. Burch

Nature’s Musings

Changing Seasons, a photo-poem by Penny Wilkes.

Poets, Poetry & Rhys Hughes

In Never Knowingly Understood : The Sublime Daftness of Ivor Cutler, Rhys Hughes takes us to the world of a poet who wrote much about our times with a sense of humour. Click here to read.

Translations

Akbar Barakzai’s poem, The Law of Nature, translated by Fazal Baloch. Click here to read.

Kazi Nazrul Islam’s poem, Shammobadi (The Equaliser) translated by Shahriyer Hossain Shetu. Click here to read.

Tagore’s Amar Shonar Horin Chai (I want the Golden Deer) translated by Mitali Chakravarty, edited and interpreted in pastel by Sohana Manzoor. Click here to read.

To mark the birth centenary of Satyajit Ray, Ratnottama Sengupta translates from Nabendu Ghosh’s autobiography experience of Pather Panchali ( Song of the Road) — between covers and on screen. Click here to read.

Musings

An Immigrant’s Story

Candice Louisa Daquin tells us what it means to be an American immigrant in today’s world. Click here to read.

Navigating Borders

Wendy Jones Nakanishi, an academic who started her life in a small town called Rolling Prairie in midwestern US, talks of her journey as a globe trotter — through Europe and Asia — and her response to Covid while living in UK. Click here to read.

I am a Jalebi

Arjan Batth tells us why he identifies with an Indian sweetmeat. Click here to read why.

The Significance of the Roll Number

Shahriyer Hossain Shetu writes of ironing out identity at the altar of modern mass education. Click here to read.

Musings of a Copywriter

In Creative on Campus, Devraj Singh Kalsi with a soupcon of humour, explores young romances and their impact. Click here to read.

Adventures of a Backpacking Granny

Sybil Pretious visits volcanoes and lakes in Frenetic Philippines. Click here to read.

Essays

Here, There, Nowhere, Everywhere

‘Did life change or did I change from the events of the last year,’ ponders New Zealander Keith Lyons who was in the southern state of Kerala when the first cases of Covid-19 were detected in India last January. Click here to read.

The Story of a Bald Eagle & a Turkey

A photo essay by Penny and Michael B Wilkes on the American bald eagle to commemorate their Independence Day. Click here to read.

The Day Michael Jackson Died

A tribute  by Julian Matthews to the great talented star who died amidst ignominy and controversy. Click here to read.

Remembering Shiv Kumar Batalvi

Amrita Sharma has written a memorablia on the Punjabi poet, Shiv Kumar Batalvi, who wrote in the 1960s. Click here to read.

Tagore and Guru Nanak’s Vision

Parneet Jaggi talks of the influence Guru Nanak on Tagore, his ideology and poetry. Click here to read.

Bhaskar’s Corner

In Amrita Sher-Gil: An Avant-Garde Blender of the East & West, Bhaskar Parichha shows how Amrita Sher-Gil’s art absorbed the best of the East and the West. Click here to read.

Stories

Flash Fiction: Peregrine

Brindley Hallam Dennis tells us the story of a cat and a human. Click here to read.

The Crystal Ball

Saeed Ibrahim gives us a lighthearted story of a young man in quest of a good future. Click here to read

The Arangetram or The Debut

Sheefa V. Mathews weaves lockdown and parenting into a story of a debuting dancer. Click here to read.

Ghumi Stories: The Other Side of the Curtain

Nabanita Sengupta explores childhood and its experiences. Click here to read.

The Literary Fictionist

Sunil Sharma explores facets of terrorism and its deadly impact on mankind in Truth Cannot Die. Click here to read.

Book Reviews

Neelima Dalmia Adhar’s The Secret Diary Of Kasturba reviewed by Meenakshi Malhotra. Click here to read.

Shrilal Shukla’s Fragments of Happiness translated by Niyati Bafna and reviewed by Rakhi Dalal. Click here to read

Bhaskar Parichha reviews Transformational Leadership in Banking edited by Anil K. Khandelwal. Click here to read.

Book Excerpt

An excerpt from Enter Stage Right by Feisal Alkazi with a visual of young Alkazi dancing in one of the earliest discos of New Delhi. Click here to read.

Categories
Essay

Remembering Shiv Kumar Batalvi

By Amrita Sharma

Shiv Kumar Batalvi: Sourced by Amrita Sharma

A shayar (poet) who received exceptional fame, a poet who became the youngest recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award and a star who left too early at a young age of 36, Shiv Kumar Batalvi remains one of those few poets who lived and died within the embrace of poetic charm. Being an immensely popular poet during his lifetime who wrote in one of the Indian regional languages, Punjabi, he received international acclaim within a very brief span of time.

With around eight collections of poems to his credit and as a performer who read and sang his verses across innumerable public gatherings, Shiv Kumar Batalvi (1936-1973) remains a popular subject for critical writings ranging from doctoral thesis to popular magazines. Born on July 23, 1936, in a village, named Bara Pind Lohtian, situated in the northern part of pre-partition Punjab, Batalvi spent a peaceful childhood until his family migrated to India after Partition. As a young man in his twenties, writing in the 1960s, a period marked by a new force of modernity across the world, Batalvi’s verses ranged over a vast canvas of themes and wanderings. Though largely remembered as a love poet who was fascinated with death and grief, he wrote prolifically on subjects that even remained unconventional and anti-stereotypical for his time.

As the month of May marked the time of the year when Batalvi breathed his last, this article is a revisit to his poetic style that commemorates and celebrate his poetic vibrancy. Perhaps one of his most popular compositions remains his song titled “Ki PuCHde Ho Haal FakeeraaN Da” (The Condition Of Fakirs) that opens with the following lines that grew immensely popular with his performances:

Ki puCHdiyo ho haal fakeeraaN da
SaaDa nadiyoN viCHRe neeraaN da.
SaaDa haNjh di joone aaiyaaN da
SaaDa dil jaleyaaN dilgeeraaN da!

Why ask about the condition of fakirs like us?
We are water, separated from its river,
Emerged from a tear,
Melancholy, distressed!

With a poetic sensibility that remained enchanting with its rhythmic flow and vigour, Batalvi may be credited with enriching his first language with poetic compositions that captured its cultural essence. While not losing out on the classical Punjabi style, he wrote songs that were cast in a traditional tone and yet remained a part of the emerging modern verse. For instance, the following lines from his poem “Vidhva Ruht” (“Widowed Season”) read as follows:

Is ruhte sab rukh nipatare
Mahik-vihoone
Is ruhte saaDe sukh de sooraj
SekoN oone.
Maae ni par vidhva joban
Hor vi loone.
Haae ni
E loona joban ki kareeya?
Maae ni is vidhva rut da ki kareeye?

In this season the trees are leafless,
Without fragrance.
In this season, the sun of my happiness
Has no warmth.
But even more bitter
Is my widowed youth.
Tell me,
What should I do
With this bitter youth.

With suffering and its accompanying emotions remaining closest to Batalvi’s poetic outlook, he carved verses that spoke to his readers and listeners, thus, revisiting an oral tradition. Recreating and enticing the concept of sorrow with his love for the natural, Batalvi wrote of an optimistic vision to it in a manner of a folk song, as in his verse titled “JiNdu De BaageeN” (The Garden Of Life) where he writes:

k taaN taeNDaRe
Kol kathoori,
Dooje taaN dard baRe,
Teeja te taeNDRa
Roop suhaNdaRa
GalaaN taaN milakh kare!

Remember that you have
The sac of musk,
You also have great sorrow.
Thirdly you are
Beautiful,
And your words are precious

Batalvi’s verses thus particularly remain memorable for his fascination with grief, pathos and pain.

Though having suffered severe critical dismissals, Batalvi nevertheless remained extremely popular with the masses. Majority of his compositions have been now cast into songs by numerous popular singers on both sides of the border within the Indian subcontinent. Having lived a life that often became a subject of social critique and having died at a very young age due to failing health, Batalvi perhaps remains a singularly unique poet who lived and died with  the unconventionality of his poetic romance.

While India faces a surge in the outbreak of the Covid 19 virus, we continue to alternate between emotions of anxiety and grief. Poetry by Batalvi encapsulates within itself a range of emotions that contain the charm of enticing an entire tradition of such alternating emotions, it remains endearing to remember such poets today. Difficult times as those we face today may serve to strengthen our faith in the capacity of literature that helps us look beyond our immediate surroundings. Recalling Batalvi’s poetry, I would like to end by leaving you with the following lines by him:


Ih mera geet dharat toN maela
Sooraj jeD puraana.
KoT janam toN piya asaanu
Is da bol haNDHaana.
Hor kise di jaah na koi
Is nu hoNTHeeN laana,
Ih taaN mere naal janmeya
Naal bahishteeN jaana

This song more soiled than the earth,
As old as the sun,
For many births I have had to live
The weight of its words.
No one else is able
To bring voice to it.
This song was born with me,
And will die with me.

(The texts for the poems  and their translations were taken from http://apnaorg.com/poetry/suman/index.html)

Amrita Sharma is a Lucknow based writer currently pursuing her Ph.D. in English from the University of Lucknow. Her works have previously been published in various online forums.Her area of research includes avant-garde poetics and innovative writings in the cyberspace.

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PLEASE NOTE: ARTICLES CAN ONLY BE REPRODUCED IN OTHER SITES WITH DUE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TO BORDERLESS JOURNAL

Categories
Poetry

Love in the times of quarantine

By Amrita Sharma

Prologue

Your confessions never mattered,

Your agreement was never my call,

Your choices never governed mine,

Your confusions were born out of your own mind.

Your perfection was never my necessity,

Your insecurities were never my concern,

Your impatience was not my drive,

Your anger was not fuelling my life.

Your comfort was never my hope,

Your peace was not a part of my shopping list,

Your charm never made me insecure,

Your happiness was always yours.

Scene I

Something tells me it might possibly be a dream

It shall be over with a wink

With nothing changed.

Scene II

There is a new word we learnt— ‘quarantine’— and the television news now begins to alarm,

But I have stumbled upon your ‘presence’ somehow,

Now it’s a newer world within a changing time.

Scene III

The possibilities of an end finally liberate me from my fears

And I dare to embrace you in my thoughts,

For I know we would never step out of our houses and ever meet.

Scene IV

Your voice is enough to calm my nerves,

Your smile is enough to take me to mine,

Your presence within my smartphone suffices my quarantine.

Epilogue

With no promises of future,

Escaping the dreads of the present time,

The most beautiful of its kind was perhaps,

An encounter with love in the times of quarantine.

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Amrita Sharma is a Lucknow based writer currently pursuing her Ph.D. in English from the University of Lucknow. Her works have previously been published in Café Dissensus Everyday, Muse India, New Academia, GNOSIS, Dialogue, The Criterion, Episteme and Ashvamegh. Her area of research includes avant-garde poetics and innovative writings in the cyber space.

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PLEASE NOTE: ARTICLES CAN ONLY BE REPRODUCED IN OTHER SITES WITH DUE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TO BORDERLESS JOURNAL.