Majboor and Waves
The book under review is the sixth book of the renowned poet,
writer, researcher; man Dev Majboor. Originally written in his mother tongue
Kashmiri, the book contains 24 poems translated by Arvind Gigoo into English.
For the first time I have come across a translation which
excels even the original. Nowhere does reader feel the need to go to the
original for understanding the intent of the poet.
There is a tradition among our pseudo-poets who think
(and wrongly so) that whatever comes to your mind may be put down in short and
long lines to make it an everlasting English poem. More often than not one
wonders how some well circulated newspapers publish childish ravings of some ‘poets'
. These self styled poets collect unintelligible gibberish and the obliging
editors publish it for reasons better known to them.
The Waves in this light falls into a quite
different category and one can hope that it will last and make its niche in the
Indian English poetry.
The book is dedicated to the late Dina Nath Nadim who gave
modern Kashmiri poetry a new direction. Mr. Majboor has greatly been influenced
by Nadim and in Kashmiri poetry Mr. Majboor is carrying forward the task of
Nadim in bringing this language to its pristine glory.
Mr. Majboor was a staunch leftist at one time and worked with
the leaders like G.M. Sadiq. Later even very rich people were influenced by
Marxism. These are the people who began the Communist movement in this state.
They also represent the contradiction of our times. Without practicing socialism
in their own lives they preached this doctrine to other people.
The leftist lore has made Arjan Dev Majboor one of the
protagonists of the ‘progressive movement' in this state. These people had
some fond visions for the future which is now upon us with all its ferocity. It
did not come according to their fond dreams but according to nightmarish
realities that have plundered our very lives and all that we stood for. Our
dreams have been shattered on the granite rocks of reality. The poet in The
Bronze Hand says "My home - in a shambles- is my
nightmare." And the reveries woven around the bronze hand end in a
freeze frame and linger longer in the memory to trouble one's thoughts further.
In The Topsy-turvy Tree he says:
"They will imprison you/ here truth is banned/the guilty thrive/virtue has
decayed and morals are dead". Then the poet envisions the future
shock" saying . . . "Love will wither, compassion will dry up and man
with the snake will enter the cave." The Tree tells him: "Say two suns
have risen... man is for sale." Here one comes to a harsh reality. Man had
invented a God for himself. Then there were two gods, one the traditional
one and the other that of Science. Unfortunately, both these man - made
gods favour the rich in showering their bounties and leave people like most of
us and the poet including in chaos.
Lord Vishno, the tradition says, has two divine consorts :
The Mammon and the Muse Maha Lakshmi and Saraswati. While Laxmi favours the
rich, Saraswati is poor herself and cannot take care of her true sons who really
worship her. These sons include writers, poets, bards, etc who, again
traditionally are among the poor. This contradiction in reality - what is
and what ought to have been - has been afflicting the minds of the poets
ever since the great Valmiki uttered his first couplet on seeing a hunter
killing the swan in love. Centuries after Valmiki, Majboor sends the swan to
survey the scene in the devastated valley of Kashmir, over the Pir Panjal
range and snow white mountain cliffs and roaring waterfalls and crystal clear
waters of Kausamag. The Tree warns the poet "Henceforth flowers will bloom
up in the sky, a whirlpool will swallow all, it will rain acid, beauty will be
auctioned, the wise will weep." And the great saint and poet Lal Ded has
said: "Vetheh hokhan te henar grazen", Mr. Majboor echoes her
sentiments in "the ignorant will multiply, greenery will disappear,
stones will cover the fields, the lakes will become sand.
In Snow Man the poet allegorically refers to
the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits who have been melting silently under the
blazing sun of false secularism. The Snow Man says: "But I melt slowly,
crack up leisurely and drip because of the sun."
The poet watches helplessly how the true, the good and the
beautiful (Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram) have become "fossils of the past
ages." He concedes that the coming millennium belongs to science. Says he:
"The image of words is in her hand (We call it science)". His Marxist
hope raises its head hoping that : "fear will go. Melt all weapons for they
kill." But alas the weapons are multiplying and NATOs and mercenaries kill
for their sport.
They ask others to conform to tradition. They exhort women to
go back to dingy cells and confines of four walls but they do it with
Klashinekovs and not with bows and arrows as the same tradition demands it.
These people fly in supersonic jets delivering messages of death and destruction
to humanity in the name of great human values while they ought to have ridden
elephants, camels and horses as the tradition demands. They command obedience
with the most modern weapons to keep the hapless millions in poverty, squalor,
ignorance and filth.
This dichotomy is the very essence of our times and a
foretaste of future shock which the poet wonders if he may be there to
"see that birth". "They call this frantic blindness
freedom". The poet laments "the blind believe that they are sages.
People walk barefoot. Shoes cap their heads." The lover is in ‘'search
for a ray in darkness". Will he find it ? Most probably not!
The poet says "Their present, our past and your future
fall to pieces before the gun." Vainly does he "implore all to restore
peace in the valley ...." because this is not to happen when the vultures
circle the sky round and round over the aerial waves.
The get up of the book is attractive. Vijay Zutshi has added
beauty to the book with his drawings which also leave a message in the mind of
The Portrait of a Child is for the poet the Utopian
innocence of the past and terrifying corruption of the future. This image sums
up all the reality of our times and the mind of the poet as well.