Tag Archives: Shubha

Anguish and Insurrection – Travelling with Shubha’s Poem: Prasanta Chakravarty


अतिमानवीय दुख


इतना दुख आंसुओं से नहीं उठाया जाता
वे हार गए कब के
चीख़ इसे और वीभत्स बनाती है
गुस्सा तो सिर्फ राख पैदा करता है

कुछ देर इसे ख़ामोशी ने उठाया
कभी उठाया कविता ने
विचार ने उठाया इसे
इसे उठाया दोस्तों ने
मिलकर गीत गाते हुए

कम्युनिस्ट पार्टियां बिखरीं
कितनी बार इसे उठाते हुए

इसे उठाने के लिए
कुछ और चाहिये
इन सबके साथ
उठाने का कोई नया ढब
इतिहास ने इसे उठाया कभी-कभी

अब इसकी चिन्दियां बिखरी हैं
इन्हें बच्चे उठा रहे हैं
यह पहुंच रहा है प्रकृति तक
तूफान और कन्दराएं
उठायेंगी इसका बोझ

अगर धरती इसे न उठा सकी
अन्तरिक्ष में नाचेंगी इसकी चिन्दियां




Tears cannot bear such a burden of grief
They gave up a while ago
A scream makes it even more horrid
And anger gives birth only to ash

For a while silence bore it
Occasionally it was borne by poetry
Thought bore it
It was borne by friends
As they sang songs together

Communist parties scattered
so many times as they bore it

To be able to bear it
Something more is needed
along with all of these
a new way to bear it
History bore it on occasion

Now its scraps are scattered
Children are gathering them
It is now reaching nature
Storms and ravines
Will bear its weight
If the earth cannot bear it
Its scraps will dance in the cosmos

(Tr. Suvir Kaul)

* * *




A grief that is way beyond human
Is too hard for tears to hold
Defeated, they dry up before long
Howling makes it only worse, more horrendous
Anger yields nothing but ash

Silence shouldered this grief for sometime
As did poetry
As did ideas now and then
As did comrades singing in unison
History has carried it too

Communist parties fell apart so often
Carrying this burden

Surely we need something different now
To carry it any farther

Grief is everywhere now
Little children are carrying its shredded pieces
It has overcome nature
Caves and storms will bear it

If the planet too fails to contain this grief
Its shreds will swirl and spread
Into empty space beyond

(Tr. Bhupinder Brar)

* * *




So much sorrow cannot be borne by tears
They gave up a while ago
A shriek makes it more grisly
And anger only births ash

For a while silence bore it
And sometimes poetry did
Thought carried it
And friends too
Singing along together

Communist parties disintegrated
so often while carrying it

Something more is needed
Some new bearing
with the rest to carry it
Now and then history lifted it

Now its bits lie scattered
Children are picking them up
Now it’s reaching into nature
Storms and caves will
bear its burden

If the earth is unable to bear it
The bits will dance in the cosmos

(Tr. Aishwarya Iyer)

* * *




Tears can’t bear this much grief
They had been defeated long ago
A scream makes it more grotesque
Anger can only turn to ashes

For a time silence carried the burden
sometimes poetry tried it
Ideas bore it for a bit
And then the friends
singing together

Communist parties disintegrated
trying to carry it ahead

To bear it
one needs something else
A new way
Beyond the known ones
Occasionally history too tried its hand

Now it lies scattered
And children pick up the pieces

It now enters the nature itself
Storms & Caves
Shall lift its burden
If the earth can not bear it
Universe shall see the pieces dance

(Tr. Tarun Bharatiya )




Tears cannot bear this burden
They have dried up long ago
A scream makes it bizarre
And anger can only produce so much ash

Silence bore it for some time
Sometimes poetry
Thought carried it
As did friends
singing in unison

Communist parties disintegrated
Umpteen times under its weight

Something else is needed
To lift it
A new way
Along with the familiar ones
History lifted it occasionally

It is scattered into tiny strips now
Kids are picking and carrying them
It is now reaching the nature itself
Storms and caves and ravines
Will bear it

If the earth couldn’t carry its weight
The strips will dance in outer space.

(Tr. Asad Zaidi)


Five translations of a single poem, by five leading poets, activists, artists and/or literary scholars. A rare occasion in contemporary translation on the subcontinent. A special poem it is indeed. Every single one of these attentive readers seems to have been scorched by the primitive, enunciatory power of its pure voice. Every single translation extends the afterlife of the original and shows how Shubha has been able to successfully communicate the force of a guttural shriek into something coherent and universally felt. Continue reading Anguish and Insurrection – Travelling with Shubha’s Poem: Prasanta Chakravarty