Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Are the North Easterners India's outsider

Are the North Easterners are India'outsider                           
Bhaskar J Nath

It was a chill winter  of 2014 and I was travelling from Delhi to Assam by Rajdhani express, sat next to me was a  fine well dressed gentleman. His  postures and expressions radiated his fine sensibility imbued with intelligence and confidence. After momentary silence our initial conversation started as usual  and after knowing that  I belonged to Assam he expressed his wonder that how came I did not look mongoloid and wear cloths like others. I took some time to collect myself from the sudden shock of astonishment and our conversation began . Though I  tried to  dispel his clouds of misunderstanding North east , I was still confounded how much I succeeded in convincing him with my views of  heterogeneous , multi cultural pluralistic aspects of North east.  The incident may outwardly seem  trivial or a routine experience of many northeasterners  but it left an impression in my mind regarding the misunderstanding of North East by the mainland people as homogenous entity . The North East tag that attempts to club the heterogeneous eight states of North East  as homogenous seems to be an artificial construct. It gave rise to my mind various questions . First is that North East is yet to be understood. Afterward many similar stray incidents resulting from misunderstanding the North East occurred team of college students were prevented from visiting Tajmahal on the pretext of their appearance resembling East Asian or Chinese. Later stories of Nido Taniam and Canine meat eating Delhi based Naga youths created ruckus in media. What came out after summing up of all these stories are far more shocking revealing and thought provoking. Now the question haunts me was what it means to be a north easterner ? Does north easterner mean outsider in the eyes of some of the mainlanders or is North East the India's other? Should we racially profile them just because of their distinct culture,ethos ,life style or food habits etc ? Connected to the mainland through a narrow stretch of  chicken neck corridor  North East shares the 25 of total 543 Loksabha seats and share three percentage of India's total population. Ethnically they are more closer to the East Asian nations than India. But should we overlook them because of their distinct culture pattern ethnicity etc. The genesis of all these problems lies in misunderstanding of North East .It is high time to include chapters on North East in school curriculum so that children treat North East as equal Indian Citizen when they grow up . As most tribes were very isolated and accustomed to live amidst tribal kinship society in their own hierarchy people of North East too did not highlight about their unique culture and identity earlier. Eight states of North East are not only geographically diverse but diverged in race ethnicity and culture too. Even a single tribe Nagas have seven different clans . It is to be understood that British Christianized North East as part of their colonized evangelical missions and started their evangelical missions from Sadiya because of its proximity to Burma (Myanmar) and China. Owing to the rapid Christianization and missing their root with the rich oral traditions later generations  became fully accustomed to western ethos too which sometime mislead the mainlanders too. This region has given the country its fifth president Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, music maestro Bhupen hazarika writer Temsula Ao Mamang Dai  Singer Papon Zubin sportstar Marycom .Manmohan Sing represented Assam twice as PM. Now a days  mainstream Indian English writing also begins to explore the region for its richness and variety which earlier searched for political elements in the literature of the region. During the freedom struggle North East witnessed the sacrifice of its heroic martyrs like Kanaklata,Mukunda Kakati,Piyoli Phukan......                                                                                                                     page-2It is regrettable why so many misunderstanding on the rise about the region rich in resources bio diversity natural beauty and culture.What it feels when one brother calls one of his sisters as chinki in her own homeland ? It denies  the very basic foundation of constitution. we should not allow the people of this region  to feel more alienated as alienation and indifference to the region also partly and indirectly contributes to the growing secessionist militancy in the area of which foreign elements take advantage of . Once we begin to realize the North East region with empathy it will dispel all the gloom of alienation and ostracisation of northeasterners and there by the slogan "sabke saath sab ka vikas"will translate to reality.India as a nation is not complete without the eight small but beautiful states of North East.bhaskarjnath@gmail.com


Tuesday, 5 January 2016

The celibate monk

The Celibate monk                                                 poet Rajiv Borah   Translated by Bhaskar J Nath  

                                          
Prologue: Childhood bewails,scourged in the incessant cascading ebb of tradition. An exasperating journey from mothers lap to the land. Pangs of life .....consolation of fulfilment of life...I have seen the faces glimmering in the light emnating from that pillar that rises above the ordinary debate of meaning and meaninglessness.And I saw the painful faces of cowherding peers on the river bank in the morning. I saw the childhood hiding in the bushes of river bank,dragged by them to metamorphose them to monk. Bird that once was free, gnawed and screamed after tied to that rigid cycle of discipline.one day he fled away ........then again the same cycle...oneday I saw him as my classmate...clad in the attire of self diminution he was a complete stranger.his ways were resolved with firm vows.....How he stood firm while we all surrendered to the wind of youth like a plaintain fore leaf of a tree....how indifferent is this world for those who are attuned to that cycle of discipline and customs after fighting the tideof the rock moss ocean of conflicts !!!

 From afar visible are the lions Faced each other,
curved alive by unknown sculptor
Nails of rock piereced my awe stuck heart
 Never I dared to ask that question With panick stricken voice
 Why is the gate adorned with elephants instead of flowers.
The lord says -chanting of lord krishnas name is simha....

***


 After i frittered without the warmth of love ,
 and accursed by the scourching heat of poverty
 I had to embrace the devutter land ..
.Fathers earning was too meagre to raise the family with seven children

***

Mother sisters and brothers Transient are the power and pelf....
Thus grow the aides tender hand harder
 Following the strange riddles
 fingers accustomed to the graceful movement like a danceuse
 That once wiped away mucus of nose...

 ***

Crawling and rolling on the rock and silts
 like a handful of water straming through the tradition Life destined for an eternal journey

 ***

 Where is the sea Where is the vow of that greater life sublime
For how many days cries the dove in my heart In my dream
 i saw the white and black stripped horse obstructed the passage
Heard the earthen pot drown in to water and filled up

***

Curse and accursed Blessed...
blessed with that surrender to lord krishna
 and dismissal of transient life of pleasure

***

 Rock-moss ocean of self diminution
 Invincible pillar of brahma at the distant horizon
 Mysterious tune flows from the flute

 ***

 Epilogue:
 I saw him that day
 He dimissed the burden of his celibacy
 and he tiiled and harrowed his life with " xoroxoposar
" Now he is a complete house holder thriving delicately

***

How are you ?
:again the same voice of complaints , dissatisfaction
 Which is so concealed and private
 A bewailing pangs of unfulfiment writ large on his eyes


 Notes and references & study tools :
1) celibate monk; denotes the devoted religious souls who embraced that vaisnavite marg of shankar Deva and abstain fro any worldly pleasure like marriage etc 2)"bird that was once so free"-- life of the disciples were so independent and free that was not constrained to anything 3)"childhood hiding in the bushes'-- cowherding is a common practice in the rural life of assamese society...childrens are very deeply connected to the nature
 4)clad in the attire of self diminution'-- after accepted the celibacy of manstery tradition undergoes a severe metamorphosis from external to the deep moral and spiritual. one used to wear the traditional satriya apparels that is dhooti and kamiz etc
 5)from afar visible are the lions'-- the gateway of satra adorned with the sculpture of lions standing tall and stout signifying the root of origin of religion ...that originates from the etymological 'Dhri" ...
6) xoroxoposar-- sixteen elements used to offeer during religious ceremonies and worship
 ( About the poet ;- Rajib Borah is one of the prominent assamese poet . he stated writing from the last decade of the 20th century. His poetry is not merely the bleak musing or interp[retetion of life in rhythmic language , but stritclt escape from emotion and personality) A bewailing pangs of unfulfiment writ large on his eyes

Friday, 26 June 2015

colonization, missionization and 19th century Assam

Colonization,missionization and 19th century assam Bhaskar J Nath The 19th century missionization process in Assam and northeast india was undoubtedly a part of British colonization of India . British control over the northeast region in the nineteenth century – the region mainly inhabited by the Indigenous peoples open doors for the missionaries. The leading missionaries who came to Northeast India in the nineteenth century belonged to the American Baptist Foreign Mission and Welsh Presbyterian .Christian missionaries inveigled the hard working people of Orissa, Chotnagpur and as post colonial discourses indicate,missionaries played an important role in the migration of the working class to assam. During the colonial era, they played a pivotal role in spreading Christianity and ushering an westernization. colonialist rulers and planters used the Christian missionaries to dominate the colonized people with the bible . Imperialist Britishers as expanded their colonial territory to the tribal hinterland of north east, they tactfully tried to bring the illiterate and independent tribes to their colonial fold by fabricating the ploy of civilization and liberal religious conversion. colonial occupation of non European countries bythe European colonial powers paved way for missionary adventurism in countries of asia , Africa etc.when the debate was on the peak in Britain on Christian missionary activities in colonies in general and India in particular, Wellesley said that “It would not only be impolitic but highly immoral to suppose that Providence has admitted of the establishment of British power over the finest provinces of India, with any other view than of its being conducive to the happiness of the people, as well as to our national advantage.” Though views differ among the social scientists and critics, two groups of critics dwell upon the imperialistic design of colonization through covert Christianization and civilaztion. Other group of critics try to distance the missionary from the colonization process and held them as independent entity,which is mostly biased and without any socio-political and literary evidence. Critics like Nihar Ranjan Ray said, “Naturally, these missionaries, some of them very well-meaning and pious souls determined to save these communities of people from everlasting damnation, as they saw it, were all part of great establishment of the foreign rulers, and consciously or unconsciously their mission was directed towards upholding and strengthening that establishment”. As it is held by the colonialists power that it was white men’s burden to enlighten and civilized the uncivilized. Critics like S. P. Sinha is quite critical of the missionary activities in Northeast India and he maintains that Western missionaries were in close league with the colonial British power and their activities constituted colonial engagement. His comment that, “In fact Christian missionaries are there not for advocating a faith but for keeping imperialism alive” represents the strongest criticism leveled against these missionaries. Though in their procces to spread Christianity among the ignorant colonized masses, they eventually contributed to the language,literature which later helped in arousing a nationalism and ousting colonial force. Missionaries also sometime psychologically assimilated in to cultural fold of colonized and chrisianized natives. But it must be said that though missionaries were seen as corroborating with colonialist , they worked towards the development of assamese language, unlike African or nagas. Though English was introduced it proved beneficial for language and culture of native land. It created some newly enlightened youths who used their knowledge in English in the development of their own culture and literature. Apart from the discourses of undeniable missionary association with colonialists,tea planters, it is to be accepted that their spreading of culture and education expedited the course of assamese literature. Gangmumei Kamei a Naga statesman and scholar argues that modern education was “designed to inculcate European liberal ideas, literature, and science in the Indian mind, and to produce educated persons who could be conveniently employed to run the colonial administration.”unlike the nagas, assamese culture remained undaunted and became more sublime though colonization and missionization. Gangmumei Kamei accused missionaries of obliterating the culture of colonized . Both the colonial powers and missions held the "civilizing responsibility" which is also known as the “white man's burden” as their shared goal. "The mutual binding between missions and colonial politics was at its strongest where the two accepted the 'white man's burden' as a genuine responsibility which some anti-imperialist missionaries referred to as Christian imperialism. missionary’s educational work was to create an academic atmosphere to suit the colonial necessity, their contribution to literature also held by social scientist and critics in skepticism. According to the critics There is an implicit assumption in the argument of those who claim that the missionaries came solely for the good of the native peoples; it is the assumption that these missionaries knew what was best for the native peoples and therefore they were virtually immune to any wrong doing. There is an obvious and profound element of uncritical acceptance of everything connected with the missionaries and Christian missions. The missionaries were responsible for reducing what were life-giving oral traditions down to stagnant written languages, and interestingly they are praised for their “accomplishments” in education. The first mission which was also known as the Shan mission was started at Sadiya as part of an ambitious Asian mission which would eventually cover upper Burma and China besides Northeast India.22 The missionaries thought that Sadya’s proximity to Burma and China made it an ideal place from which to launch their mission activities. Although the plan failed due to a number of circumstantial factors, it was certainly significant in that the doors for mission activities were thrown wide open. Early critics deeply influenced by the overt contribution of missionary to assam and assamese literature refers to the period of 1830-1870 as period of missionary. With an intention of stranghthening british administration through the propagation of gospels among natives company sarkar engaged the missionaries. As colonialist critics like F S Downs term this procces as pacification . early critics and writer were very much uncritical of the covert mission of mssionary’s missionization and continous christinization through evangelical projects. It must be accepted that , their projects achieved success in facilitating the colonial interests of british.That missionization was an imperialistic design, was not even understood by intelligentsia of Assam Bilasini. Hindu preachers were quite ignorant of the missionizing intention of british which corrobaorated with Christian imperils. As it was assumed that missionaries came solely for the wellbeing of natives which helped the missionaries and they took advantage of such assumptions.They were held as immune to any wrongdoing.There is an obvious and profound element of uncritical acceptance of everything connected with the missionaries and Christian missions British officials David Scott and Scott’s successor Francis Jenkins are known to have contributed the most to the missionary endeavors in Northeast India. Both Scott and Jenkins served as Commissioners of Assam and both came from an evangelical Christian background. After the british occupation of assam,Nathan Brown and oliver cutter arrived in assam in1835 with their families. He alongwith cutter published orunudoi as “ a monthly paper devoted to religion,science and general intelligence”. Although their primary aim was to disseminate Christian thoughts and gospels among assamese folks with a covert colonial purpose, it co-incidentally helped in bribging a sense of modernity to assamese literature.Publication started from January to….and it was edited by Nathan brown, A H Denforth,William ward .It continued till …and press was sold in 1883. As a pure colonial and evangelized purpose, they translated the new testament inti assamese as Amar trankorta Jisur natun Niyam and printed and published the book. Its focuss shifted to collecting and publishing the old chronicles. Puroni Asom buronji, chutiya buronji, kamrupor buronji also published by Nathan Brown. Ananda Ram Dhekiyal Phukan’s axomiya Lorar Mitra (1849) was also published by him.grammatical aspects of assamese language was also published. Notes& references: 1) sanjay baruah, india against itself2) 3) Syed abdul malik, axomiya romantic kabitrapatabhumi4)

Monday, 29 September 2014

A critical appraisal of Aruni Kashyap's fiction

A short critcal glimpse into Aruni Kashyap’s a house with a thousand stories Bhaskar J Nath A house with thousand stories is the debut novel of Aruni kashyap. It introduces readers to a world of stories which are not aimed at celebrating or delineating the joyful nuances of the life and culture of pristine folk heritage of Assam as in the case of stories of oral literature studies of Assam . Unlike the stories in oral literature ,that exploits the polyglot practices of society and renders the happy-go-lucky life and culture Aruni’s stories depicts the trouble torn Indian state of assam and the state sponsored genocide in the state during the last decade of 20th century. It is a text of the oppressed, marginalized voices who are considered by the secessionist organizations as colonized subjects of India. Like the archetypel story teller Burhi -aai aruni’s stories do not transport us to the idyllic peaceful world of the Vixen of Ratanpur or the land where flowers does not bloom as frog does not leave the inherited ancestral habit. It offers readers a sharp insight into the sociological modus operandi of outlawed ULFA who were guided by an ideology and principle at the inception. Aruni tells the stories of those boys who inveigled his kinsman with the illusory promise of a free country only to acquire power and pelf; power to “marry whoever they wanted to”, power to create fear psychosis among his kinsman with the nonsensical display of AK 47 even after their return to the mainstream. As the stories begin to unfurl, readers become accustomed to view them as buthchers of humanity. Fiction deconstructs the myth of Fiction deconstructs the myth of mainstream contrary to the official definition of a government of killers and sadists. It presents the ambiguous stance of the state government. Readers are sometime left to wonder whether the return of their armed brothers to the so-called mainstream was peace or threat. Mainstream was nothing but to incorporate them in to the state machinery as disposable commodified spare parts. As there are some social and biographical elements in these stories, we need to consult with the writtings,works of art,fiction etc of that time for better evaluation. As a critical reader takes recourse to the socio-political discourse,literature of that time he happens to understand the fate of the gun trotting goons: who mysteriously perished after executing the relatives of ULFA cadres (SECRET KILLINGS OF ASSAM, Mrinal talukdar,Utpal Barpujari,Kaushik deka, second edition). Written in a very subtle and captivating stream of consciousness technique, Aruni projects a vivid landscape of Assam: the assertive matriarch Ahlya Jethai whom everybody respects and fears, hard working Mridul, loving and docile Moina Pehi , Anil da all left an indeliable impression on the mind of readers. Aruni’s a house with thousand stories as an work from a promising English writers of the region has successfully presents the pains, anguish and trauma of the people of the region. It is to be mentioned that as some writers don’t feel at ease with the epithet IWE or INDIAN WRITING IN ENGLISH, writers from these region should not be tagged as North-east English writers. North-east tag which is mostly geographical cannot summarize the writers as culturally and sociologically and linguistically North-east is heterogeneous. Among all the extraordinary characteristics, I must say (with some amount of axomiya sentiment), Aruni’s credit lies in maintaining the essence of assamese flavor intact with its physiognomy even in an English fiction . Novelist ‘s use of vernacular vocative words as barta,pehi,jethai,da etc lends the fiction a pure assamese contour. What strikes me the most is the transliterating brilliance and author’s effort to preserve the scent of his native land. I am quoting from the dialogue of mridul in page 20 of the fiction. “He sat on the sofa and continued without waiting for anyone to speak. ‘okoni pehi had exhausted all her resources in getting a match for her. Finally , dorongi aaita found a match for her’. Mom asked immediately, ‘Darangi –aaita?’. ‘ My maternal grandmother.she never went back after Deuta passed away.My mother is her only daughter –je…..’ - the usage of the emphatic je is so packed with multiple nuances and meaning that readers will miss the intimate sense and emphatic colloquial tone of assamese if transcreated the je into English or write straight in English .The conversation between Mridul and Pablo’s mother gives us a glimpse of the mushrooming rise of militancy in assam, most of which are driven by craze for easy money through extortion ,kidnapping etc. Pablo’s mother says with disgust and anger, “once upon a time, there used to be only ULFA…but what happened? Army came and broke everyone’s spine. And now we have so many organizations;ulfa-sulfa,malta,santa,kanta and whatnot?”. The way Pablo’s mother uttered her disgust and took a dog at them also provide some laughter mingling with satire . in present day Assam, state is reeling not in flood but in the vortex of militancy; there are outfits representing the vast demographic pattern of assam Koch-Rajbangshi, Adivasi Santhal, Karbi,Dimasa,Kuki and not to talk of the representation of major plain tribe Bodos. Of late state has become a breeding ground of militancy where maoist also have a strong foothold. Novel also contains some references and allusions to real life characters whose entire families decimated by the gangs alleged to be comprised of some spineless officers and men of police, sulfa cadres and political goons. Reference to Mithinga Daimary who was the publicity secretary of ulfa is made in page 69 of the novel while pablo was chi- chating with the anxious bus passengers. Readers first come across the “masked gun men targeting the family members of ulfa” while pabl was pondering over the conversation of his parents. Novelist portrayal of adolescent romance with Anamika, life of Prasanta da ‘who is always pre-occupied with his own world’ also grabs the reader’s attention. Some artistically presented elements of sexuality also adds to the sublimity of the plot of the fiction. Novel in fact presents the assamese rural society in transition and rapid urbanization and industrialization in the awake of globalization. It does not take much time for a shrewd and intelligent reader to discover and the relate the ‘ maruti car of sulfa Hiren of Hatimura’ to the much hyped maruti zen after the killing at polo club of sivsagar in an allegorical manner. Hope for more creative works to flow from his pen that would tell a new untold story and unveil the veiled.

Monday, 15 September 2014

US Imperialism (Letter to the editor,frontline,Volume 24 - Issue 08 :: Apr. 21-May. 04, 2007)

The U.S. has emerged as the global leader, taking advantage of its unparalleled military and economic strength in the aftermath of the dismemberment of the Soviet Union in 1989-91. Apart from adopting discriminatory trade policies that favour the West, the U.S. has inflicted much suffering on developing countries, especially those in West Asia. But now West Asia's resistance and the resurgence of regional powers such as China, Russia and India are threatening to counter the U.S hegemony. Bhaskar J. Nath The Sentinel, Guwahati

Trends in contemporary assamese poetry- with special emphasis on recent poetry

Trends in contemporary assamese poetry Bhaskar J Nath It was in a summer afternoon of 2008 and I was in a a tete-a- tete with distinguished scholar and critic Harekrishna Deka, who after a brief pause in conversation expressed his dissatisafaction at literary merit of some of the recent assamese poetry and with a sharp critical literary acumen he said that it had become a general trend in assamese poetry to compose some love lyrics without any strenuous intellectual effort and sharing and celebrating the same in a close coterie of like minded pals. He added with regret that it was not a positive mark for the literature and nation, which is obviously degrading the literary quality. It instantly reminded me of English literary man Alexander pope, who outraged by the phenomenal rise of typical poetry of poor merit took a dig at them as Grub Street Poets and lambasted them satirically in his famous satirical work ‘An Epistole To Arbuthnoth. He was so much harassed by some poetasters during his lifetime that he had to say to his servant” Shut, shut the door, good John! fatigued, I said,Tie up the knocker, say I'm sick, I'm dead/The Dog−star rages! nay, 'tis past a doubt/All Bedlam, or Parnassus, is let out/Fire in each eye, and papers in each hand/They rave, recite, and madden round the land/What walls can guard me…/No place is sacred, not the church is free/Even Sunday shines no Sabbath day to me/then from the Mint walks forth the man of rhyme/Happy! to catch me, just at dinner−time/oh good John shut,shut the door.’’ Alexander pope as he writes , was so much embarrassed that some would came to him with request to write preface for their collection of poems, and even ask for lending them five or six pounds. Alexander pope refers to them as grub street poets. It must be accepted that amidst the typical hullabaloo in the grub street , there are some outstanding and brilliant poets in contemporary literary scene of assam for whom poetry is not just ‘spontaneous overflow of powerful feeling”, or “metrical composition”, it is an intellectual exercise and fruit of studious involvement. Poetry in assamese literature has a long intellectual tradition which has a rich history of thousand years from Charya pad, Madhav Kandali and Shankar Dev to post war modern poet Nilamoni phukan and others , assamese poetry has witnessed many intellectual and cultural movement as well as transition. From the romanticism of nineteenth century english poetry to the modern poetry of T S Eliot, Ezra pound, Baudelaire, Auden, had its own bearing on assamese poetry. of late post modernist approach also seen in recent assamese poetry, which is definitely a good sign for assamese literature. Unlike the recent poetry, their predecessors of post war poetry brought a change to poetry in both form and content. As Mahasweta Barua puts it “ modern poetry takes many forms. some poets still use traditional lyric form and rhymes, whereas others use blank and free verse in ordinary rather than poetic language….their poems are both symbolic and realistic’1. Among the twentieth century poets who are still writing in this century Samir Tanti is one of them. His collection namely YUDDHABHUMIR KOVITA(poem of battlefield) and SHOKULUR UPTYAKA( valley of tears) reflects the pangs of hegemonic ally suppressed people which represents the sentiments and emotions of all suppressed people of decolonized under developed and developing nations. According to Mahasweta Barua’ “ harsh realities often make these poets revolutionary and leftist in their view the world over., but there is a leftism that is not necessarily aligned to any one political ideology”2. poets who have been immensely contributing to poetic literature from twentieth century are Nilamoni phukan, Hiren Bhattacharya,Ajit baruah,Nagen saikiaSsamir Tanti, Sananta tanti,Harekrishna Deka,Anupoma Basumotry, Nilima thakuriya haque, Anis Uz Zaman, Lutfa hanum selima Begum, Nilim Kumar etc. Discontentment, rise of materialism , decay of human value in the awake of changing socio-economic condition and search for universal and true value has shaped the modern poetry. While there are some exceedingly brilliant poets exploring life and reality and experimenting with the latest global intellectual stuffs such as magic realism , decontructive thinking in poetry, some are still confined to silly romantic fantasy that resembles the archaic romanticism. Poetry in assamese literature seemed somewhat begins to decline in terms of poetic value and standard at the hand of some poets who ventured in to the poetic real especially after the 20th century.There have been wave of typical love poetry marked only by puerile romantic fantasy which seemed to have ill impact on poetry. This section of poets driven by the craze for easy popularity and easy intelligibility, and triggered by aweful lack of intellect and study contributed to the grub street culture in assamese poetry. This was asserted by formerly head of the deptt of assamese , Dibrugarh university Karabi Deka Hazarika in her preface to EHEJAR BOSOR AXOMIYA KOBITA published recently3. Markets of assamese poerty is flooded mostly by this section of poetasters with commercialized publication of booklets of poetry, without conforming to intellectual norms and tradition.’ But still we will have to believe in wordsworthian classification of ‘public ‘ and ‘people’. Taste and power of judgement of ‘people’ supersedes the ‘public’ and ‘people’ are those section of readers who prefers to consume a canonical text rather than a typical Mills and Boon classic.”4 Contrary to some new entrants who are accused of deteriorating the quality of poetry, some of the recents poets like Rajiv borah, Ganga mohan mili, Jivan Narah,Megon Kachari, Rudra Singha Matak,Kamal kumar Medhi, M kamaluddin Ahmed, Parag Jyoti Mahanta, Rajani Bordoloi et are trying to explore the beauty and frangrance of rural life, folk lores as well as folk life, vernacular idioms . Exasperated at the changing time and fast declining values, their soul searching efforts results their poetry. contrary to stereotype assamese grub street poets, Rajib Borah has made effort to achieve a balanced and studious harmony between both the form and content and trying his hand in exploring latest theoretical apparatuses in his poetry. Heavily influenced by the ebb and flow of slapsodic and intermittent socio political upheaval of assam, an insatiable longing for the idyllic and pastoral life also found echoed in his poems. Rajani Bordoloi and parag jyoti mahanta’s poetry also deeply marked by a sense of emotional longing for past . parag Jyoti’s collection NACH BUDUKIR NACH is a remarkable achievement. This section of recent poets has enriched the literature of assam unlike their counterparts who are alleged to have degraded the artistic merit of poetry. we can in fact term them in the tone of Raymond Williams as “ socially committed artist”, who are socially extremely conscious and reflects their passions, angers and bemoans the changing time. Unlike their western or other counterparts of the sub continent , recent assamese poetry marked mostly by the regional contour and influence of national and international upheavals ,socio-economic phenomenon like Globalization, Americanisation, pangs of newly Decolonized third world nations and West Asian crisis not found echoed in their poetry. It remains largely confined to the influence of the socio-economic turmoil of the home and remained unexposed to world because of true intellectual understanding and proper study. While subjectivity or pure personal undertone pervades through and dominates the poetry of some upcoming poets and they seemed to have failed to relate themselves to the world outside their personal world. “Some recent Assamese poets” as observed by eminent scholar Harekrishna Deka ‘ has relegated poetry to some extent and its celebrated through some coterie or grouping of their own. This has become a general tendency”5. Post war assamese poetry as divided by Mahendra Borah as JANATAR KOBI(poet of people) and NIRJANATAR KABI(poet of loneliness)6 , based on the classification of William H. Hudsons . This may classified in English as objective or impersonal poetry and subjective or personal poetry. while “Hem Baruh, Birendra kumar Bhattacharya, Syed Abdul Malik and Ram Gogoi belongs to the former, Homen Borgohain, Pobindra Borah, Dinesh goswami, Nilamoni Phukan belongs to the latter”2. These poets revolutionsed the concept of assamese poetry and ushered in a high intellectual tradition in assamese poetry. These poets are also termed as new poets . So far the recent subjective poetry in assamese concerned, it seemed to have been inspired by the emotion of love, dejection and frustration and poets’s desire for love in the awake of changing social order rampant in assamese literature. It strictly bears a personal undertone. This category of latest assamese poets who have picked up their pen after last decade of twentieth century, although it has gained considerable popularity and has been able to create a sizeable chunk of easy readership, it has reduced the quality of poetry .’Active politician and former AICC president turned poet Deva kanta Baruah first paved the way for modern assamese poetry and he is hailed as the path breaker in new assamese poetry. He started a new poetic revolution in terms of both form and content in assamese poetry of which his poem AMI DUWAR MUKALI KARO is celebrated as the foremost one // There is a portrait on my table painted by Nicholas Rorickor what is the title of it ? we mark the opening// Thus poet Debakanta opened the door of new poetry and following his mark his succsessors marked an epoch in assamese poetry which are termed as NATUN KOBIT(New poems).As critic william Hudson has put it “ one chief element of poetry is its revealing power.it opens our eyes to sensous beauties and spiritual meanings in the worlds of human experience and of nature to which otherwise we should remain …..the true poet ,whatever his range and quality, is one in whom the power of seeing and feeling the sensous beauty and spiritual meaning of things exist in a pre eminent degree, and to whom more another special power has been granted- the power of so expressing and interpreting what he sees and feels as to quicken our own imagination and sympathies, and to make us see and feel with him”7. But it cannot be denied that positive and qualitative Celebration and circulation of poetry among the coeterie has not contributed to literature. From time immemorial it has built the plinth of the very literature on which we are proudly standing. The little coeterie of Bloomsburry group of virginia woolf, Forster and Maynard Mackes had given birth to an intellectual movment in cambridge. “Recent platform Cave Canem organized by Toi Dericotte has evolved to a literary movement in African american literature”8.Not to talk of the ‘Hem, Majiu and Bezboruah group’9 of Nineteenth century who had shaped the literary history of assamese litearture. We are optimistic as “ we will wake/ in the furrows of new farmhouse of our grandson’s/in our fossil they will read the comic tales of the people who remember past births”10. Reference and notes: 1. Mahasweta Barua, “Twentieth century assamese literature”, published in “ a handbook of twentieth century literature of india”- edited by- Nalini Natrajan & Emmanuel sampath Nelson. 2. Ibid 3. “Ehejar Bosor Axomiya kobita”- edited by K D Hazarika. 4.Bhaskar J Nath, “ Kavya sahityar pathak, ruchibodhar sangstaran aru dibrugarh biswabidyalayar yuva mancha” GARIMA, 2008 5. “ Harekrishna Dekar hoite Bartalap’, Annual Journal, Dibrugarh university PGSU, 2008 6. Preface to “Natun kobita”, Banalata—edited by Mahendra Borah 7.William H Hudson, “An Introduction To The Study Of Literature”, Kalyani publishers, Page 90 8.Bhaskar J Nath “Krishnaga Andolonor samajik patabhumi aru African American Sahitya”, GARIYOSI,2008 9. Refers to the literary trio of Hema Chandra Goswami,Chandra Kr Agarwalla and sahityarathi Laxminath Bezbaruah 10. Naba kanta Baruah’s poem “polox”( The silt)- translation this authors own (This critical esssay was published by THE SENTINEL in weekly supplement MELANGE,14th sept,14)

Friday, 5 September 2014

selected assamese poetry( English translation)

A saga of Majuli

A stormy Bordoisila 1 pierces  the thickets of riverine majuli                                                                                                                                                         Shoal of fishes  rush with the whirling water to its river edge                                                                                                                                                           Quiver in Dolonga 2  pabha 3 and kawoi 4                                                                       Keeper counts of litres and gallons in the buffalo shed of farmstead                                                                                                                                                                      Chains of the cycle of  silothiya5 brothers creaks                                                                                                                                                                         Unseen thighs of koneng 6  at the field of mustard leaves                                                                                                                                                                        Poetic sonata of Satyasandha’s6 dearest Naba Baruah
                  

Majalee7  turns gradually to Majuli                                                                                                                                                           Fast disappears the thatching grass and jhaobon                                                                                                                                                                                Slowly ascends the sandy desert                                                                                                               Parashuram’s 8 semen  drives                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Lil and Albert  crazy                                                                                                                                                 Mermaid swims in the gold mines of arimatta9 


 A flock of falcon flies                                                                                                                                                            Falcon fights the  fish hungry cranes                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Some people call for meeting                                                                                                                                                                                                                                They staged sit-in- demonstration                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     In the moment of  a minute                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Extirpated gluttoniously the  stuffs offered as aid by royal house                                                    oh, Tiresius 10 is blind and mum!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Helplessly he stares  the affairs

Epilogue:
Gradually swirls the floods                                                                                                                         Engulfs the riverine island                                                                                                                                                          East and west sink deep into whirling water                                                                                                                                                           Ajit Baruah’s Jengrai keeps floating in the in water.

Reference & Notes:1) Bordoisila: a speedy storm of monsoon in assam, belived to be caused by godess Bordoisila                                                                                                                     2)Dolonga: an apparatus to catch fish in Assam made by bamboo or thin and light plant of river side Nal                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             3)pabha:  a local fish of assam.it has no bark .hence very soft.                                                                                                                                                       4)Kawoi: a very delicious fish. Its body is bit rough  thorny                                                                     5)silothiya: usually refers to the hard working people of Maiamansing of Srihatta district,  which is now in Bangladesh                                                                                                                                                 6)Koneng: a word of the dialect of indigenous mishing tribe.it means young unmarried girl                                                                                                                                                               7)Satyasandha: 20th century assamese poet Naba kanta Baruah  coined this term to mean eminent scholar Homen Borgohain                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              8)Majalee: Majuli earler,as historian says, known as Majalee                                                                 9)Arimatta: 13th century king of Gaud Dynasty. Some myths of him associated with Majuli                                                                                                                                                                              10) Tiresius: androgynus  greek prophet.