Contemporary Hindi poetry has come a long way from Chayavadi kavita, Prayogvadi kavita to Nayi kavita etc. Contemporary Hindi poetry has its share of young poets. Young Poets like Ekant Srivatsava, Bodisatwa, Badrinarayan etc. have made their mark in Hindi poetry.
In Ekant’s Poetry, at one place you can hear the sound of the fruit falling on the mud and at another the voice of a bird. Ekant’s poems transpond the readers to the thriving village life, nature and the human relations. His poems stand for love, harmony and peace, preciously the qualities conspicuous by their absence today.
Ekant Srivatsava came into the limelight in Hindi poetry with his poems titled “colours ” (six poems). These were poems written on six different colours. Written in the ninetees, these poems were an experiment in Hindi poetry and later on it went on to win the Ram Vilas Sharma Puraskaar. Reading these poems, I find the poetic persona in a contemplative mood. Images are drawn from nature yet these are not nature poems and also it gives the readers a sense that the poet is a keen observer of the world around him.
I would like to discuss about the poem titled ‘Red’. In this poem on one hand the poet relates the colour to the pomegranate, the reddish eyes of the sister and the King grass hoper, on the other he speaks about Tesu- the red coloured flower and the Sindoor.
The poet relates the colour to the objects and situations he came across in life wherein the poem elevates to a different altitude altogether. The sister in our family is less pampered compared to the brother. The reddish eyes of the sister symbolises the agony and pain she goes through, the reason could be many.
Moving on the poet relates the colour to the King Grasshopper, the queen butterfly and takes the reader to their childhood days. It’s evident that the King grasshopper and the queen butterfly are red in colour. Children tie different messages and threads to its tail, also they catch the butterflies Thus the poet connects the colour Red to one’s childhood days.
Further the poet relates the Red colour to nature and nativity. Ekant speaks about Tesu, which is a kind of Red flower seen in villages during spring. Mentitioning about Tesu the poet connects the village, the flower and the colour red. The poet denotes the importance of nature and man. Rather it could be said that the flowering of Tesu announces the arrival of spring.
The important fact in the poem is the Sindhoor. Red is the colour most commonly associated with joy and well being. It is the colour of celebration and ceremony. A red carpet is often used to welcome distinguished guests. Red is also traditional colour of seats in opera houses and theatres. Scarlet academic gowns are worn at by new Doctors of philosophy at degree ceremonies at Oxford University and other schools. In China, it is considered the colour of good fortune and prosperity and it is the colour traditionally worn by brides.
Sindooor or vermilion holds lot of importance in Indian society. The tradition of application of sindoor in the parting of hair by married Hindu women is considered extremely auspicious and it is being practiced since centuries.
In traditional Hindu society, wearing sindoor is considered must for married Hindu women. It is a visible expression of their desire for their husbands’ longevity. Sindoor is applied for the first time to a Hindu woman during the marriage ceremony when the bridegroom himself adorns her with it. The ceremony is called Sindoor-Dana and is very much in vogue even in present times.
The tradition of wearing Sindoor by married women has been explained with the help of mythology. Scholars say that red is the color of power while vermilion is a symbol of the female energy of Parvati and Sati. Hindu mythological legends regard Sati as the ideal wife who gave her life for her husband’s honor. Every Hindu wife is supposed to emulate her. Hindus believe that Goddess Parvati protects all those men whose wives apply vermilion to their parting of hair.
The lines of the poems goes like this –
Actually it is the colour
the mother puts on her forehead
Death too stands far fearing it
It denotes that her husband is till alive.
(Red, Ekant Srivatsava)
Thus Ekant Srivatsava concludes the poem with an important aspect related to Indian Culture. It’s the brilliance of the poet that by the different situations and things mentioned in the poem he connects it to the colour Red and the poem takes a different turn altogether.
Similarly in the poems titled Blue, Yellow, White, Black and Green the poet surprises the readers by the way he relates the colour to different objects and angles and human emotions. These poems are very close to the nature, yet the poet is successful in not making the poems fall into the category of Nature Poems. Its beyond doubt that the poems titled “Colours” make delightful reading.
This is the colour of the pomegranate flower
This is the colour of that woman’s cheerful heart
like a ripe pomegranate.
This is the colour of my friends smile
whose lips are red due to beetel
This is the colour of the wept eyes of a sister
This is the colour of the King grasshopper,
to its tail
the messages and thread are tied.
This colour is of the queen butterfly
whom the child takes home.
This colour is of that fire
knows as ‘Tesu’ 1
As it sparks the spring arrives.
Actually it is the colour
which mother applies on her forehead.
Fearing this, the death stands miles apart
and father and mother are together forever.
1.Tesu: A kind of redflower
Author Dr. Santosh Alex
Born in 1971 in Tiruvalla in Kerala ,DrSantosh Alex is the Authors of 19 books , a bilingual poet ,widely published translator, coloumnist and a poetry curator. He is the founder of India’s first ejournal devoted to poetry alone- Rithupoetry.
He has two poetry collection Dooram (2008) and Njanninakkuorughazal (2013 )in Malayalam and one poetry collection in Hindi Panv Tale kimitti ( 2013). His poems has been widely translated into Hindi, English, Telugu, Odiya, Bengali ,Konkani, Kannada, Tamil ,Nepali, Serbian, Kurdish and German Language. His poems have been published in International Poetry Anthologies vizSunrise from the Blue thunder, Hudson View, Indo Australian Poetry Anthology , Poems for Hazara , XXIst Century Poetry and Indian journals viz The Enchanting Verse, Muse India, Pratilipi, Seven Sisters Post and Indian Ruminations.
Dr. Santosh translates Post Colonial literature in English, Hindi and Malayalam. He has translated almost 90 writers from the India and abroad in different languages. Sahitya Academy has published his translations in both the Hindi and English Journals of the Akademi for the past two decades. He’s enriching Indian Literature by means of translation and creative writing for the past 23 years.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org