> About Prabhat, by Giriraj Kiradoo

About Prabhat, by Giriraj Kiradoo

Par |2018-08-14T21:39:51+00:00 26 décembre 2012|Catégories : Blog|

The Sad, Depressing Poems of a Young Man from the Western Desert of India Who Also Writes Joyful Verses for Children and thus Lives in His Own Little Paradise

By Giriraj Kiradoo

 

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Where do the poets come from ?

In Hindi, the lan­guage of the pro­le­ta­rian façade, many of them come from uni­ver­si­ties and work for uni­ver­si­ties. Others work for the media and publi­shing houses. Only a very few do not work for the Hindi intel­li­gent­sia or the Indian state.

Where does poe­try come from ?

In Hindi, the lan­guage of revo­lu­tio­na­ry rhe­to­ric, it often comes from the upper caste, middle class dra­wing rooms.

Prabhat, a young man belon­ging to a Scheduled Tribe (a bureau­cra­tic coi­nage that denotes a group of unpri­vi­le­ged tri­bal com­mu­ni­ties) cal­led ‘Meena’, came to Jaipur, an aspi­ring metro­po­lis in the mid­st of the Western Desert, to stu­dy Hindi lite­ra­ture. He did his Master’s and lear­ned to drop his sur­name Meena (a sign of his ‘caste’). Protective dis­cri­mi­na­tion by the Indian State had made sure that many young men from his com­mu­ni­ty would become civil ser­vants and serve the state.

Prabhat, while fai­ling in all his half-hear­ted attempts at beco­ming a tea­cher, lear­ned how to be a poet and unlear­ned most of what he was taught at the uni­ver­si­ty. At 40, unem­ployed for the bet­ter part of a crop year, he is a free­lance content deve­lo­per for some non-govern­ment orga­ni­za­tions wor­king in the field of pri­ma­ry edu­ca­tion. Instead of beco­ming a tea­cher, he has become the dar­ling of chil­dren. Instead of lec­tu­ring in a class­room, he sings for them in the open. A bard and a friend – quite an achie­ve­ment, given his poe­tic tem­pe­rament and his exis­ten­tial dis­com­fort with the world he has to make do with.

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He writes for chil­dren, besides wri­ting for him­self. In Hindi, he is a mis­fit among the ‘Facebook stars’ of ‘change’ poe­try. He has left the urban sur­roun­dings and has made a reverse-migra­tion back to India’s trou­bled rural heart­land. His poe­try makes lit­tle effort to conceal his dis­com­fort with the world and makes no effort at making itself visible and audible.

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Brilliantly trans­la­ted by Rahul Soni, these poems take us to fami­liar fields and unfa­mi­liar fac­to­ries. Familiar girls and unfa­mi­liar rail­way sta­tions. All too fami­liar thirst and a somew­hat unfa­mi­liar remem­brance. These poems don’t like meta­phors, and have lit­tle use for them. They don’t want to be read as coded mes­sages ; ins­tead, they make eve­ry detail so trans­pa­rent that meta­phors hesi­tate to impli­cate them.

Moving slow­ly bet­ween subtle hope and unmi­ti­ga­ted des­pair like a spec­ter ; Prabhat is a poet of Hindi’s own des­ti­ny in a neo­li­be­ral, glo­ba­li­zed India.

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