Thursday, February 18, 2016

A poem by Bishwa Sigdel


                                             — Bishwa Sigdel 

The continuation
Of hewing an idol on this rock
Was long in practice
When I was still a kid—
Theory of the evolution of organism,
Thousands of shankha-chakra*   
On the hidden-like, stratous rock
Are still clear  
In the densest jungle 
Of my memory!  

The first chisel on the rock
Was that of mother—
An image of the maternal uncle having arrived,
His image in ‘papa lyaye’* 
In that ‘Tarabaji lailai’*—
It was a meaningful clap
Of the delicate hands.
How can mother’s ploys 
Be cruel?
That was the first exposure to claps 
In the tingling sensation on my palms. 

The chisel was a bit blunt
In the second exposure,
A bit faster hammer
Sister taught me
to clap, to sing some
Bright songs of children,
In the welcome of the rising sun,
In which, like the leaves of the wind,
Continually flapped
Sister’s tongues, from which flowed
A powerful attraction
Like the jets of milk spurting out
From mother’s bosom.    

And with time,
When the walls of mother’s womb
Turned into a wider world,
The two delicate palms
Got trapped
In between two cruel system boulders
That were crawling
In the quake of the claps. Then started
The journey of slavery, and was born
The blind era—
Fixing ears in the hands
From the classes of kindergarten!

Along with the alphabets,
Your policy tied up— onto our lips—
The tradition of applause— hard
Like cane; attractive
Like the tune of bhajan* and sangini*; cruel—
The clapping of two hands—
Like the khukuri* sanctified
By the holy spirit of Durga*— is ever ready
To applaud.

Oh! We did transfer
Our rights to the clapping
Of our hands— long before we knew it, in childhood—
Reluctantly, going against ourselves.
Our claps, which go applauding after crowds,
Which continually reverberate 
In the Assembly House
In support of the government,
Which has become your weapon; and we
The unarmed! 

Our claps, better than
The Hare Rama* of a puja,
The rhythms of the soles of feet
At dhan naach*,
And chutka* and chatak*,
Are going louder together
With malls and multiplexes
That are playing the damaru*
By climbing up the shoulders
Of consumers
And the thriving market— something …
Not in our hands
Are our claps!

Claps are completely blind;
And here the market
Is snugly sitting
Taking poetry
As just rounds of clapping!  


Shankha— the conch-shell-like print/ sign on fingertips (In Hindu mythology, the protector god Vishnu’s conch shell, namely Panchajanya, represents (his) power to create and maintain the universe.)

Chakra— the whorls on fingertips (Lord Vishnu’s chakra, a sharp-spinning discus-like weapon, named Sudarshana, symbolizes the cyclic nature of existence.) 

Tarabaji lailai— one of the lullabies sung in Nepali language

Papa lyaye— Brought sweets

Bhajan— a devotional song, particularly in Hindu culture

Sangini—a kind of Nepali folk tune to which Nepali womenfolk sing and dance on special occasions like Teej or Tihar festivals 

Durga—Goddess Durga in Hindu mythology/ religion is taken as the re-manifestation of the primordial power. She was the one who relieved the mankind and the gods vanquished by the demon Mahishasura by slaying him in a battle that went for ten days, which was very fierce. 

Khukuri— the national weapon of Nepal (To mark the victory of Durga over the demon Mahishasura and to express the joy over it, people sacrifice goats and buffalos either using a khukuri or a sword on the 8th or 9th day of Dashain festival. And before they do so, the weapon has to be worshipped. There is this assumption that goddess Durga’s spirit comes and sanctifies the weapon for the sacrifice. Hence, the sanctified weapon should not be used for other purposes prior to making the sacrifice.)   

Hare Rama— a way of praying to Rama, one of the avatars of Lord Vishnu

Dhan naach— a type of dance which is popular in Rai and Limbu communities in the eastern parts of Nepal. Mainly, this dance is performed, while working in the fields during the times of rice harvesting or in fairs and festivals, by holding one another’s hands. The song which is sung along with this dance is called pallam. Youth take these rare occasions as an opportunity to express their love to their beloved ones.

Chudka— a type of Nepali folk song

Chatak— (a) Magic, black art; (b) a trick

Damaru— The damaru is a small drum with two sides (heads) separated from each other by a thin neck-like structure. It is usually used in public magic shows in the streets to attract the attention of people. (In Hinduism, the Damaru is known as one of the instruments of Lord Shiva which symbolizes the two utterly dissimilar states of existence, hidden and manifest. When the damaru is vibrated, it produces dissimilar sounds which are fused together by resonance to create one sound. The sound thus produced symbolizes Nada, the cosmic sound of AUM, which can be heard during deep meditation. According to Hindu scriptures, Nada is the source of creation.)  



BISHWA SIGDEL (August 15, 1980), a humble and burgeoning literary figure from Banepa, Nepal, writes poetry, songs, essays, stories, commentaries and criticism. He holds a master's degree in Nepali literature. He serves as a lecturer of Nepali, serving alongside as the editor of Akal Kusum, a quarterly literary magazine. A fervent fan of Marquez and Neruda, Sigdel believes that literature could change the worldinto a finer one if only people cared to read between the lines and implemented the message therein. He enjoys trekking, reading, watching historical and artistic movies, apart from savoring both native and foreign food. 

Sigdel's poetry have appeared in journals and magazines like Drunken Boat (USA), Garima (Nepal), Madhupark (Nepal), Of Nepalese Clay (Nepal), Misty Mountain Review (Nepal), Samakalin Sahitya (Nepal), Sanjaal Corps (Nepal) and Kreativ Nepa (Nepal), among others, and in anthologies like Divine madness (Volumes 3 & 5, Adrus Publications, Canada) and Eternal Snow (Nirala Publications, India). Obsession (2013, Red Ink, India), a joint anthology of stories, is his much appreciated contribution which reflects his versatility and brilliant knack for story telling as well.  

(Translation: HARIS ADHIKARI) 

तालीको समाजशास्त्र

                                — विश्व सिग्देल

जब बालकै थिएँ
यो ढुङ्गामा मूर्ति कप्ने सिलसिला
सुरू भैसकेको थियो
लुकेजस्तो पत्रे चट्टानमा
जीव विकासको सिद्धान्त
हजारौँ शङ्ख चक्र
यद्यपि स्पष्ट छन्
स्मृतिको आटप्पे जङ्गलमा !

पहिलो छिना ढुङ्गामा आमाको थियो
ताराबाजी लैलैसँगै मामा आएको तस्वीर
पापा ल्याएको तस्वीर
थियो त्यो सार्थक थपडी कलिला हातहरूको
कसरी हुन सक्छन् निर्मम 
आमाका ज्यावलहरू ?
त्यो थियो
हत्केलाको रम्र्रममा तालीको प्रथम परिचय !

दोस्रो परिचयमा
छिना केही बोधो थियो
केही तेज हथौडा
सिकाइन् दिदीले बजाउन ताली
उदाउँदो सूर्यको स्वागतमा
केही उज्याला बालगीत
जहाँ निरन्तर फर्फराउँथे
हावाका पातजस्तै दिदीका जिब्रा
जसबाट बगेको पाउँथेँ
आमाका छातीबाट बग्ने
दुधका धाराजस्तै
बलशाली आकर्षण !

आमाको गर्भको चौघेरो
जब भयो फराकिलो संसार
तालीको भैँचालो घस्रेका
दुई कठोर पद्धति पत्थरबीच
च्यापिए दुई कोमल हत्केला
सुरू भो दासत्व यात्रा
जन्मियो अन्धो युग
कान जडेर हातमा
शिशु कक्षाबाट !

कखरासँगै तिम्रा नीतिले
हाम्रा ओठमा बेतजस्तै चाम्रा
भजन सँगिनीका रागजस्तै आकर्षक
दुई हातको मार
दुर्गा चढेको खुकुरी समान
तालीको थिति गाँसिदिए
जो हर्दम
तम्तैयार रहन्छन् बज्न

हामीले ,
हाम्रो हातको ताली
नजान्दै बालखैमा नामसारी गरिदिएछौँ
नमान्दा नमान्दै मनले
जो भीडको पछिपछि बजिहिँड्छ
जो सत्ताको समर्थनमा
निरन्तर घन्किरहन्छ सदनमा
जो बनेको तिम्रो हतियार
निहत्था हामी !

पूजाको हरेराम,
धाननाचको पैतालाको ताल
चुड्काको चटकभन्दा उत्तरोत्तर
झाँगिएको बजार उपभोक्ताको काँध चढी
मल मल्टिकम्प्लेक्स
बजाइरहेछन् डमरु
सँगसँगै बजिरहेछन्
हाम्रा हातमा नभएका
तर हाम्रा ताली !

बिल्कुलै अन्धो हुन्छ ताली
कवितालाई बजेको ताली गन्दै
बसिरहेछ बजार !

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