I still remember the day. Though I don’t remember how much I knew politics at that time, in 1999, I knew this much that Vajpayee was a good man, a good orator and a poet everyone loved to hear. Atal Bihari Vajpayee is not new to this country and to the world. His poems are very famous and will garner more fame after the sad demise of our former prime minister; nonetheless, the person Vajpayee is no more! His voice will always be with us, no doubt; his words will be there for us to warn, amuse and teach; the person will be no more and the country mourns the death of this great person with a versatile set of talents. I will be fetching some of his best verse for our readers today and I will translate his Hindi poems into English so that the readers who want to understand the depth of his writing can get a glimpse into the poetry of this great poet who left us on 16th December 2018.
Mujhe itni unchai kabhi mat dena
Gairon ko gale na laga sakun
Itni rukhai kabhi mat dena.” (Poem – Unchai)
“My Lord Ram!
Never bestow upon me such height
that I cann0t embrace a stranger,
never put me in such insensitive plight.”
Though I cannot match that excellent diction ever, how much I try, Atal Ji tried to say in his verse that only height is not enough because height cannot grow trees and flowers and fruit. We need to be humble and kind and our feet must be grounded ever so that we can feel love for strangers. The complete poem is very pleasant, full of meaning and one of the best ones by our wide-hearted poet.
“Maut ki umra kya? Do pal bhi nahin,
ZIndagi-silsila, aj-kal ki nahin,
Main ji bhar jiya, main man se marun,
Lautkar aaunga, kuch se kyun darun?” (Poem – Maut se Than Gayi)
“How long she lives, death? A Moment or two (or not even that)!
Life – life is continuity, passing the ages through,
I lived long, lived my heart and will die with it too;
for I have to come, again – should I fear what I know is true?”
Once again, forgive my lack of words to match the original verse. In his poem about death, the great poet tries to tell the death its true place and then tells the world that death is nothing but a pause before we start again. It countersigns the Hindu philosophy that a soul has to take a new body after the death. Listening to Vajpayee Ji rendering this poem fills a heart with a strange joy and all those who understand Hindi (and that number happens to be in multi-millions in India and the world) will certainly revel in the mesmerism of words that he created.
Samaj Badla.” (Poem – Do Chatishpadi)
with windows same
and the same men guarding it.
King changed, and
crown changed the head
and the state – the same.”
In this poem, the poet-heart Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ji is trying to show the readers that politics is often about the change of the leaders and with that, the change in the people’s life seldom comes.
There are many poems by this great poet that you can read and enjoy. The Hindi readers who want to read the poems of Atal Ji can buy many books available on Amazon India and enjoy the depth of his poems. Below are some links to his books. Moreover, what a great poet he was! A true icon to the countrymen – farewell to you, the great man and a great poet!
feature by Alok Mishra for Literature News feature desk