Pitr-paksh/ पितृ-पक्ष (also pitru-paksh) is the 16 day lunar period in the Hindu diurnal calendar when believers pay homage to their ancestors, through specific food offerings. Most years, the autumnal equinox falls within this period, that is, the Sun transitions from the northern to the southern hemisphere during this time. In Northern and Eastern India and Nepal, among the cultures following the purnimanta or the solar calendar, this period usually corresponds with the waning fortnight of the month Ashwin. The souls of three preceding generations of one’s ancestor reside in Pitr-loka, a realm between heaven and earth. Continue reading Linger Like Moisture Within – On Viren Dangwal’s Pitr-Paksh: Prasanta Chakravarty→
[ Here are five joyous excerpts of recordings from a recent night on the JNU campus – after Kanhaiya Kumar came back – recorded by a young person called Veer Vikram. We do not know who Veer Vikram is, but came across his Youtube Channel, and were struck by the raw freshness of the voices and of the footage. So we are sharing them with you, saluting the generosity of Veer Vikram, who recorded these and uploaded them on to Youtube for everyone to enjoy. May there be many long nights of joy, music, dancing and poetry – in campuses, factories and neighborhoods – everywhere Think so what a beautiful sight a ‘vishaal jan jagaran’ (as distinct from a ‘bhagawati’ jagaran) can make in different corners of Delhi, and in every city and town where young people can no longer take the rubbish offered by TV channels and the Modi regime. The revolution will be danced, sang, dreamt, recorded, uploaded, downloaded, shared and enjoyed. No more words necessary ]
[ Rama Shankar Yadav ‘Vidrohi’, was a familiar figure for students, especially in Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi. He was a friend, a companion, a comrade, a mentor. Though rusticated many years ago from JNU, where he had been a student, for his participation in a protest, he had never left the campus of JNU, and had become, over the years, a beloved feature of campus life. His visceral poetry, often heard at protest gatherings, was passed from person to person by word of mouth. A few days ago, he died while marching with his beloved student friends in a protest against cuts in education in Delhi. Pallavi Paul, a filmmaker and artists, who made short films featuring Vidrohi, remembers him in this tribute..]
Yesterday, as I was looking out a window of an old house in Ballygunge, Kolkata- my phone buzzed. I ignored it. I was in the middle of telling a friend how happy I was to be away from Delhi for sometime. How the sights and smells of a different city were rejuvenating. The feeling of not having a ‘special connection’ with anyone or anything here felt liberating.
Much later, I opened the message from my friend Uday. ‘Vidrohiji passed away’, he wrote. Just three words. In our conversations with him, Vidrohiji had often spoken about his death. We had revisited the scenario over and over again. Like a dream or a film – it had a grand setting. He had told us “Now that you are recording me, i know that i will say goodbye in the most glorious way possible. Very few people can say that about their death, while they are still alive.” On another day he had said to us, “As my fame has increased, so have the dangers. Now what i need is guarantee. Your records are guarantee against that largest threat of being killed. I say to my enemies, that if you want to kill me – then shoot me in the eyes. Because i will keep staring back at you till my last breath. Your records will help me stare back at them even after I am gone. “
Laltu‘s poem written in 2004; published in Dainik Bhaskar in 2005.
‘इशरत’ एक इशरत!
सुबह अँधेरे सड़क की नसों ने आग उगली
तू क्या कर रही थी पगली !
लाखों दिलों की धड़कन बनेगी तू
इतना प्यार तेरे लिए बरसेगा
प्यार की बाढ़ में डूबेगी तू
यह जान ही होगी चली!
अब सो जा पगली. Continue reading Ishrat: Laltu’s poem→
After a decade without a day job, and associating with Dastangoi for over six years, I can safely say that I am a career storyteller. And one of the things I have learned is that resumes don’t make a person, stories do. Often these stories are not our own stories, but stories we’ve heard amongst loved ones, extended families, friends, work places, milieu; stories we’ve grown up with, stories distilled deep enough to become an integral part of our existence. We may not often identify with our resume but with our stories, always – acquaintanceship strikes, the moment our stories resonate. Continue reading The Poet, His Poems and His Tales→