Tuesday, October 27, 2015



Reading Maharaj Santoshi's Hindi Poems in English translation ..Wonderful job done by Arvind Gigoo with his apt , to the point and perfect translation.
I felt as if I was reading my favorite Kurdish Poets . The original thought and presentation by Santoshi and then the equally enthralling translation by Arvind Gigoo , keeps a serious lover of poetry engrossed.The book has a fifteen page forward by Dr Shashi Shekhar Toshkhani that puts forth a lucid  and analytical commentary on  this poetic collection.Dr Toshkhani has also taken up some individual Poems from this collection and skillfully  evaluated  the deep rooted  exile consciousness  appearing in  Maharaj Santoshi's poetry.

Kudos to the poet and the translator and Dr S S Toshkhani.

I quote from this book of poems..


Santoshi uses the title of Manto's famous short story " Toba Tek Singh " to convey something serious about the conflict and the divide that has been gripping this subcontinent.

(Toba Tek Singh)

Across the border
In presence of the soldiers
Even today
the voice of Toba Tek Singh
Against those
Who divided the shade of trees.

The soldiers are standing
In attention
Unable to catch
The soul of Toba Tek Singh.

Some heartbeats
Hole in the gaps
In the long wall,
Fly through them
Hang their agony
Upon the chests.

These hanging sorrows
A question mark
The trophies
Of the victorious soldiers


The poet asks whether seasons and climates have turned political and clever . Do they don different religious apparels as they visit different countries ?

( Monsoons in Pakistan )

Daughter twirled the globe
that was
On the table
And asked:

" Papa ,
Have you been to Pakistan?
Do Monsoons
Muslim there?"

I silently
try to forget

His poem "Blood stained Snow " touches the reader with its content and presentation .I found it deeply moving. quote some lines..

"I have nothing
to fight violence with.
Snow is my strength.
Walking on the snow covered roads
With love in my hands
I knock at the doors
Desperately to break the shameless silence
Of my friends.
I fill my eyes
With the sorrow of
the Vitasta
Of the Chinar
Of the Lake.
And weep for hours
On the blood stained snow"


" The Potter" is another poem that creates a nostalgia and desire to be in one's Birth place .In this poem, the poet has used "Potter" symbolically. He misses this potter who brought earthen lamps for Deepawali festival.He meets him in his dreams. The poem concludes Beautifully..

" The potter
Going away
From my dreams
His native place.
Shall I smell
the fragrance
If my soil?
I don't know..."

The neglect and abandonment of elders in our society has been presented by the poet in a unique way. These unfortunate people , ordained to postpone even visits to their dreams , find sudden utility during electoral process.

( Old Man )

In my world
there are
Such beautiful sights to see
I have postponed
My visits .

What else could i do ?
They have taught me
to walk
upto the polling Booth .


Albert Camus felt that the Summer sun treats every person with its benign warmth. A Warmth that is life regenerating . About winters , he was always doubtful . Winters tend to treat people differentially , Quite often , exposing them for something they do not possess .
Santoshi touches this thought in his poem " Poor Children " .

( Poor Children )

Poor Children
Are not afraid
Of sunshine .

Are afraid
Of the cold
Which betrays
their faded Sweaters ..

Maharaj Santoshi ( Born 15th June , 1954 ) is a native of village Mattan in Kashmir. He is a postgraduate In English Literature from Punjab University . He writes in Hindi and has Published some books . I quote his books..

(1) ISS BAAR SHAAYAD ( A collection of poems)

(2) BARF PAR NANGAY PAANV ( A colection of Poems )

(3) VITASTA KA TEESRA KINAARA ( A collection of Poems ) 

(4) ATMAA   KI   NIGRAANI MEIN ( A collection of Poems )

(5) HAMAARE  ISHWAR KO TAIRNAA NAHIN AATAA HAI ( Our God Does not Know How to swim Across . A collection of short Stories ) .

The stories in the last book are again moving and presented with refreshingly newer sensibilities .

He lives in Jammu.

Reach him..... mk_santoshi@rediffmail.com...

(Autar Mota )

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