> About Prabhat, by Giriraj Kiradoo

About Prabhat, by Giriraj Kiradoo

Par |2019-02-20T05:07:46+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




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.


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.


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.