Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Moinak Dutta writes

In memory of that man

Writing something about you is like
Trying to make a swim through a sea,
Through wave after wave of memories,
The first distinct smell of you
Had that peculiar mix of tobacco and shaving cream,
The first distinct touch of you
Had been to feel your palms a bit roughened,
And to feel how those lines on them
Had withered the ups and downs of time -
Partition, independence, state of political instability, carnage, emergency, flood of seventy eight, hartals, strikes, lockouts, bandhs,
Then your smile, never too loud,
Just a sweet candid one,
And your angst - silence spreading over clouds of even more silence,
Your writing hand curved and sparkling
Your fountain pen dipped in ink –
Your poems and stories, your sessions of debates and discussions,
Marx , Lenin, Engels, Tagore, Vivekananda, Aurobindu –
All turning like lively figures standing before us as if saying their words,
Your recitation of poems, your acting at amateur theatre – glittering dresses, swords of tin,
And then ' Krishanu' and literary adda over cups of tea,
Mail posts arriving with your name printed all the way from foreign shores,
You teaching me cycling one spring day
You cooking special dishes,
You drawing a beautiful sketch of a train passing through the curves of hills,
You taking us to evening show of a flick - shown for charity –
A Satyajit Ray masterpiece - an adaptation of Ibsen,
Now as time has moved with its winged gait,
And as age has come and sat like a philosopher queen
Just betwixt us,
How I just think of you
As a tree old
With stories written on its bark.
On a Rugged Path -- Pauline Persing


  1. A hartal, or a bandh, is a mass protest that employs the voluntary shutting down of workplaces, offices, shops, schools, etc. as a form of civil disobedience. Mohandas K. Gandhi, who was from Gujarat, used the term (derived from the Gujarati “hadtal”) to describe his actions during his leadership of the Indian independence movement. When independence was achieved in 1947, Pakistan (which also included Bangladesh) immediately seceded and formed its own government. In 1978 much of northern and eastern India was devasted by flooding, killing at least 50 people and inundating 35,000 hectares of farmland. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels were the originators of the Communist ideology, especially in their joint composition of “The Communist Manifesto” in 1848. Rabindranath Tagore was a Bengali poet, musician, and painter who, in 1in 1913, became the 1st non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. He wrote the national anthems of both India and Bangladesh and perhaps Sri Lanka’s as well. (It is unclear whether his student Ananda Samarakoon composed the words and melody, or whether Tagore did, or whether Samarakoon wrote the words and Tagore the music.) Swami Vivekanandra, a disciple of the mystic Ramakrishna, was a Bengali Hindu monk who traveled extensively in Europe and North America, introducing Indian philosophical and religious precepts there while adapting a modern, universalistic interpretation of them. According to independence leader Subhas Chandra Bose, he was “the maker of modern India,” and Gandhi praised him as one who maintained the “Hindu religion in a state of splendor by cutting down the dead wood of tradition.” Tagore told the French Nobel Prize winner Romain Rolland, “If you want to know India, study Vivekananda.” His birthday is a national holiday, National Youth Day. Sri Aurobindo was a nationalist leader who later became a mystic who developed “integral yoga” as a way of promoting human evolution into divine existence. When Jean Renoir was in Kolkata to shoot “Le Fleuve” (The River) in 1949, Satyajit Ray, a graphic designer for an advertising agency, helped scout locations for him and discussed with him the idea of filming Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay’s 1928 novel ”Pather Panchali” (Song of the Road); the following year his employer sent him to London for 3 months, where he spent his time watching dozens of movies and determined to become a filmmaker. In 1952, using mostly amateur actors and technicians, he began shooting, rejecting funding offers from sources who wanted script changes or production supervision, and finally released the movie in 1955. Ray did the scripting, casting, scoring, and editing of the film himself, and it won 11 international prizes, including the 1st award for Best Human Document at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival. His next movie, the sequel “Aparajito” (The Unvanquished) was the 1st movie to receive both the Leone d’Oro (Golden Lion) and the Critics Award at the Venice Film Festival. In 1989 he adapted Henrik Ibsen’s 19th-century play “En folkefiende” (An Enemy of the People) into the Bengali film “Ganashatru.” An adda is a leisurely, informal type of intellectual exchange, especially as practiced and developed in Kolkata. In his final movie, “Agantuk” (The Stranger) [1991], based on one of his own short stories, Ray dismissed Kolkatan claims to creating adda culture and posited its origins in ancient Greece.

  2. अनीता लागुरी commented:

    Namaste ..Wow ...no words ..just marvelous...well written....!!


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