Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Poet Muraribhau Deshpande's Dedication to Savarkar

Hi, Everyone! I am sharing this wonderful poem (just the way he posted it on Facebook) by Muraribhau Deshpande dedicated to Savarkar:

"विश्वविख्यात क्रांतिकारक !!! महाकवी !! नाटककार !! प्रखर देशभक्त !!!!
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भारतीय स्वातंत्र्य लढ्यातील एक लखलखते सोनेरी पान , एक धगधगते अग्निकुंड , कोट्यावधी युवकांना क्रांतिकार्यात सहभागी होण्याची प्रेरणा देणारे
अदभूत व्यक्तिमत्व क्रांतिकारकांचे मुकुटमणी स्वातंत्र्यवीर सावरकर यांची २६ फेब्रुवारी हि पुण्यतिथी !!! त्यानिमित्त हि रचना !!!

******" स्वातंत्र्यवीर " ******
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अष्टभुजा देवीला स्मरूनी , शपथ घेतली मोठी
चला तोडू या सर्व शृंखला , समर्थ भाषा ओठी

अभिनव भारत हेच मानले , तुम्ही सदा गणगोत
कोट्यावधी युवकांच्या मनीचे , तुम्ही प्रेरणास्त्रोत

भोगूनी तुम्ही मरण यातना , दिला अमर जो लढा
मुजोर इंग्रज हबकून गेला , असाच भक्कम धडा

काळकोठडी अंदमानची , केलीत तुम्ही पवित्र
दगडाच्या भिंतीत ,कोरले स्वतंत्रतेचे चित्र

समुद्रासही धडकी भरली , पाहून तुमची छाती
तुमच्या स्पर्शे पुलकित झाली , भारतभूची माती

हसत भोगले देशासाठी , तुम्हीच काळे पाणी
तरुणांनाही स्फूर्ती ठरली , तुमची अमोघ वाणी

रत्नागिरीच्या राम मंदिरी , केलीत प्रेमळ क्रांती
पतित पावन करून दिधली , लक्ष मनांना शांती

बंदूक येथे हतबल झाली , पाहुनी तव लेखणी
जीवनयात्रा यज्ञकुंड अन , पारदर्शी देखणी

विचार बैठक भक्कम तुमची , उपमा नाही धीरा
पुन्हा पुन्हा मी झुकतो चरणी , स्वातंत्र्याच्या वीरा !!
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मुरारीभाऊ"

Savarkar, the Litterateur


Hi, Everyone! On this day, February 26, 2014, the anniversary of Savarkar's Atmarpan, I am posting an article I have written focusing on his literary works: 


Vinayak Damodar Savarkar is undoubtedly one of India’s foremost freedom fighters, a patriot who honed all of his many exceptional natural talents to better serve his country and his people. One such was his talent for writing.


How often have we heard the phrase “the pen is mightier than the sword”? And Savarkar wielded a very mighty pen, indeed. I use the word “pen” loosely, for Savarkar composed and wrote even when no writing materials were available to him. In the dark days of incarceration in the Cellular Jail, he scratched his poems and other works on the walls with thorns and nails and committed more than 10,000 lines to memory.


An extraordinary writer, Savarkar could turn his hand at every form of writing; he was a biographer, historian, novelist, dramatist, poet, and journalist. Despite the fact he had to live in the shadow of imminent governmental transgressions—both before and after independence—many times with serious repercussions on his life, he wrote and published his works fearlessly. The Savarkarian stamp of dashing and daring is firmly impressed, not just upon the content of many of his books, but also upon their history from conception to publishing. One of Savarkar’s precious books—the History of the Sikhs—is lost to us. One of the manuscripts had to be discarded into the ocean for safety’s sake, one is perhaps in the legacy of Madame Cama’s paperwork, and the last one rattling around—hopefully—in the voluminous archives of the British Royal Mail or the British Secret Files. It is my dearest hope that this manuscript might surface in a miraculous way. Savarkar also made a great contribution to purification of language and script, including coining and popularizing several words that are now commonly used in Marathi. His literary contributions and innovations are many, too many to enumerate in a limited number of words here. I shall touch upon only a few.


Undoubtedly, Savarkar was a poet par excellence. I am hardly qualified to critique poetry, so I shall leave that alone. What I do consider myself qualified for—having translated more than sixteen of his poems into poetic English—is commenting on content and my impressions of his poems. I truly believe Savarkar’s poetry is his heart and soul. To really understand Savarkar, one must read and understand his poems. I say this from experience. I have spent hours and hours studying his poems, until I absorbed their mood, emotions, import—all of it—and felt one with the poems before I attempted a translation. It has been one of the best experiences of my life, and invaluable when it came to depicting Savarkar in my novel, Burning for Freedom. I am giving below some lines from Savarkar’s poems that I love best. Despite the fact that the translation is not, and can never be, a patch on the original, the content is so powerful it still grips the heart.

“तुजसाठिं मरण तें जनन

तुजविण जनन ते मरण”

“Life is to die for You,

Death is to live without You,”

These lines from Savarkar’s Jayostute to me embody his unparalleled devotion to free his beloved country. I decided to make them the subtitle of my book. In the last verse, one can palpably feel Savarkar’s pain:

स्वतंत्रते I ह्या सुवर्णभूमीत कमती काय तुला?

कोहिनूरचे पुष्प रोज घे ताजें वेणीला

ही सकल-श्री-संयुता I आमची माता  भारती असतां

कां तुवां ढकलुनी दिधली

पूर्वीची ममता सरली

परक्यांची दासी झाली

जीव तळमळे, कां तूं त्यजिले उत्तर ह्याचें दे    

स्वतंत्रते भगवती I त्वामहं यशोयुतां वंदे II धृ II



O Freedom! What did you lack in this Golden Land?

Each day find a fresh Kohinoor bloom for your strands!

Of bountiful wealth is our very own Bharat motherland,

So why, oh why, did you push her away?

Why did your Motherly love of old wither away?

Over her strangers now hold sway!

Anguished is my soul!

Why, oh why, did you abandon her so, answer me, I pray!

We salute you, Goddess of Freedom, O Victorious One!

Savarkar’s opening lines from his poem Atmabal symbolize his life. Though many attempts have been made to obliterate him and his memory, he still, and always will, prevails:



अनादि मी अनंत मी, अवध्य मी भला,

मारिल रिपु जगतिं असा कवण जन्माला II धृ II

Without  beginning nor end am I, inviolable am I.

Vanquish me? In this world no such enemy is born!



In the lines from his poem Aik Bhavishyala one finds Savarkar’s ultimate goal. Referring to the Hindus, he says:

सिंहासनि स्थापु देव I प्राणांची देवघेव II

आपुलिया अस्तित्वा II लावुनी पणाला II              

होउनिया मुक्त स्वता I करील मुक्त ती जगता II

ममतेच्या समतेच्या I सुजन रक्षणाला II भव्य II

With God as their inspiration, offering their lives,

Staking their very existence, none turning tail!

For Love and Equality, the protection of the good,

 Attaining freedom, free the world they shall! Hail!

In Ja Jhunja, his anguish at the plight of Mother India and the apathy in her sons brings tears to the eyes:

मग मुकुट आपला कोणीं I फोडिला

हिंदूंचा झेंडा कोणीं I तोडिला

   आशेचा अंकुर कोणीं I मोडिला

हें चिंतुनि चिंतुनि क्रुद्ध आंसावें जळतीं

दिनरात्रीं  डोळ्यांतुनि कां रे गळती ?

Who dared our crown shatter?

Who dared the Hindu flag tatter?

Who dared our burgeoning hopes batter?

Dwell!  Where are the hot, raging tears, aye,

Spilling from your eyes night and day! Fie!

There is so much more to write about his poems, but space does not permit. All my translations of his poems are available on my website www.anurupacinar.com in the “Other Works” section.


Savarkar ever had his finger on the pulse of the need of the hour and tailored his works accordingly. One of the very first things he did upon setting off on the path of the freedom struggle is to compose ballads extolling the deeds of India’s heroes, especially Shivaji. He and his Mitra Mela group would take to the streets singing these songs. At a time when Indian minds were subjugated into a slave status, stripped of pride in their national heritage, Savarkar fired the imagination of the people with his songs and stirred patriotism in Indian hearts. So much so, that on one occasion around 1905, at the Shivaji festival held in Raigad, when they were invited to sing these ballads, the enraptured audience joined them enthusiastically. The chief guest, Daji Khare, fearing that the British wrath would crash upon his head for this “unconstitutional”—as he put it—activity, took to his heels and the function carried on without him!


Savarkar’s Indian War of Independence, 1857, is a landmark in Indian history. Not only did it raise forever the 1857 rebellion of the soldiers up from the ignominious distinction of being called the “Sepoy Mutiny,” it recognized all the forgotten heroes and their contribution to the freedom struggle. After intensive research, he presented the facts in a unique manner, emphasizing the unity with which Hindus and Muslims fought to overthrow their common enemy, the British. It has played a remarkable role in stirring many an Indian into patriotism and throwing in their lot into the freedom struggle. Fearing just this, the British banned the book in India before publication—something unheard of!—and in Britain soon after it was published. The ban notwithstanding, it was published over and over and even translated into other languages. The whole saga of how the book was published makes a fascinating read (the account is available in the preamble before the book.) Amazingly enough, a few precious copies of the 1909 first edition of this book are still extant today, including six copies in various libraries of the U.S. I was able to borrow one of them through the inter-library loan here; it is impossible to put in words my emotions upon holding it in my hands.


In 1923, his book Hindutva (written in 1920-21 in the Cellular Jail) was published under the pseudonym Maratha while he was still incarcerated on the Indian mainland. It is still hailed as a byword on Hindutva. With the changing political scene in India—the Khilafat Movement and the Indian Freedom Movement being attached to it, as well as Hindu-Muslim unity being laid down a condition before independence could be sought—that followed right after WWI, Savarkar considered it imperative that there be a clear understanding of what is Hindutva, and his book unambiguously details the essentials of it. His definition of the term Hindu caused Swami Shraddhanand to exclaim, “It must have been one of those Vedic dawns indeed which inspired our seers with new truths that revealed to the author of Hindutva this mantra, this definition of Hindutva.”


Savarkar’s Majhi Janmathep, Part I, (My Transportation for Life) was first published as a series in the newspaper Kesari in 1925-26; Part II was published in the Shraddhanjali from January 20, 1927. By May 1927 the book was published in its entirety. Within three years it was ready for a second edition. Soon a Gujarati edition was published but was immediately brought under the notice of the Government and banned. Copies were still secretly published and sold, even in Kannada and English. This book, too, has inspired many. It is an honest record of Savarkar’s incarceration in India, particularly in the Cellular Jail. Despite the fact it is written with humor and without the slightest indulgence in pathos, it is a heartrending account. It also reveals all of the traits that make Savarkar such an extraordinary man; in there you will meet Savarkar of the iron will; Savarkar: the Karmayogi; Savarkar: the devoted Son of Mother India; Savarkar: the Leader, the diplomat, the humanist, the rationalist, the philosopher, and much more. He has also written about the experiences suffered by others. In the case of many freedom fighters who suffered in the Cellular Jail, this is the only record of their patriotism and sacrifice for India.


Throughout, Savarkar has shown a keen awareness of recording his words and events as they happen, a preserving of an accurate historical record. He knew how very important this was for posterity. History, alas, is vulnerable in the hands of those in power; this is especially so in the case of India where many distortions in history are being promoted and large chunks of it are deleted. All his life, having written profusely on the subjects dearest to his heart, in 1963 he published the Samagra Savarkar Vangmay, his Collected Works. These are now available in Hindi and English (at least most of the Works.)


With great foresight, Savarkar had bequeathed his literary legacy to Balarao Savarkar, who conscientiously and faithfully carried out Savarkar’s wishes after his death. Among the books he published are four extremely important Savarkar volumes: Ratnagiri Parva; Hindu Mahasabha Parva; Akhand Hindustan Parva and; Sangata Parva. There is so much invaluable historical data in general and information about Savarkar in particular in these volumes! However, being written in Marathi, and possibly not even available in print anymore, this information is in grave, grave danger of being lost in the mists of time.


I consider Savarkar not just the heritage of India but as the heritage of the whole world. To me it is paramount that all of Savarkar’s works, including his poems, the memoirs others have recorded of him—which so reveal the real, human, and endearing Savarkar—and these four volumes be available in as many languages, both national and international, as possible. Failing that, at least be available in Hindi, the national language of India—so important to Savarkar—and English.


For the world to know, recognize, and understand Savarkar this must be done. I appeal to any writers with command over Marathi and any other language to take up this cause. Savarkar has done more than his bit in preserving his words and works; it is now up to us to take it further and beyond.


Anurupa

Monday, February 10, 2014

Savarkar's Andaman Urdu Ghazals and Hindi Poem



Hi, Everyone! Here is a post of mine that is long, long overdue.
Recently, Mrs. Manjiri Marathe, a trustee of the Swatantryaveer Savarkar Rashtriya Smarak, made a most extraordinary discovery: she found amongst her father’s collection a notebook of Savarkar’s. That in itself is very wonderful; to add to it the notebook contains two Urdu patriotic poems written by Savarkar while he was imprisoned in the Andamans!

That Savarkar had many languages at his command is well known. He writes in his “My Transportation for Life” that he read the Koran in the original with the help of his Muslim friends there. But that he could compose and write in Urdu is a novel discovery. Undoubtedly, he is a man of many, many talents.

His notebook is on display at the Swatantryaveer Savarkar Rashtriya Smarak opposite Shivaji Park maidan, Mumbai, since early 2013.   

The discovery of the manuscript in the words of Mr. Ranjit Savarkar, grandnephew of Savarkar:
"The manuscript was sent to 'Wrangler' R. P. Paranjpe by Pyaremohan, who handed it over to the late Mr. S. P. Gokhale, an associate of Savarkar. Mr. Gokhale passed away in 2006. Mrs. Manjiri Marathe, his daughter and trustee of the Savarkar Smarak, was informed by Mr. Ninad Bedekar, a historian, that he had seen a manuscript having Urdu writings of Savarkar in her father's collection. As his collection of documents and books runs into thousands, Manjiri Marathe, after many futile visits to Pune for the search, finally succeeded in finding this manuscript."

Description:
The first part of the notebook is a scrapbook that includes pictures of personalities such as Shri Rama, Shri Krishna, Jesus Christ, Buddha, Shivaji, Lokmanya Tilak, Swami Vivekananda, and Mahatma Gandhi. The cover page is the cover of the Marathi magazine “Chitramay Jagat.”

The two Urdu ghazals, running into five pages, portray Savarkar's burning desire for the freedom of his motherland, a desire that didn’t abate in the least despite the rigors of incarceration in the Cellular Jail in the Andamans (1911 to 1921) and beyond. Except for certain Persian words, the ghazals can be understood by anybody, and the facing pages have their lyrics in the Devanagri script.
It also has a Hindi poem written by him, which runs into three pages.

The noted Urdu poet Nida Fazli, who saw the ghazals, commented, "Looking at their content and quality, it is clear that you cannot discriminate between languages on the basis of religion. Savarkar learnt and studied Urdu while serving a life imprisonment term in the Andamans. He was a great patriot, which is evident from his poetic creations."

Below are the lyrics of the three poems, by courtesy of Swatantryaveer Savarkar Smarak: 
 
Poem 1:
खुशी के दौर दौरे से है यां रंजों मुहन पहिले
बहार आती हैं पीछे और खिजां गिरदे चमन पहिले

मुहिब्बाने वतन होंगे हजारों बेवतन पहिले
फलेगा हिंद पीछे और भरेंगा अंदमन पहिले

अभी मेराजका क्या जिक्र, यह पहिली ही मंझिल हैं
हजारों मंजिलों करनी हैं ते हमको कठन पहिले

मुनव्वर अंजुमन होती हैं, महफिल गरम होती हैं

मगर कब जब के खुद जलती हैं, शमा--अंजुमन पहिले

हमारा हिंद भी फूले फलेगा एक दिन लेकिन
मिलेंगे खाक में लाखों हमारे गुलबदन पहिले

उन्ही के सिर रहा सेहरा, उन्हीं पे ताज कुर्बा हो
जिन्होंने फाडकर कपडे रखा सिरपर कफन पहिले

हो कुछ खौफ मरनेका, हो कुछ फिक्र जीने की
अगर हमदमों मन में लगी हो यह लगन पहिले

हमारा हिंदभी युरोपसे ले जायेगा बाजी
तिलक जैसे मुहिब्बाने वतन हो इंडियन पहिले

सहत की करे परवा, हम दौलत के तालिब हो
करे सब मुल्क पर कुरबान तन मन और धन पहिले

हमे दुःख भोगना लेकिन हमारी नस्ले सुख पाने
यह मनमें ठान लें अपने ये हिंदी मर्दोजन पहिले

मुसीबत , कयामत , कहाँ जंजीरों, जिंदा हैं
यहां तैय्यार बैठे है, गरीबाने वतन पहिले


हिंदोस्ताँ मेरा

यही पाओगे मेहशरमें जबां मेरी, बयाँ मेरा
मैं बंदा हिंदवाला हूँ, यह हिंदोस्ताँ मेरा

मैं हिंदोस्ताँ के उजडे खंडहर का एक जरां हूँ
यही सारा पता मेरा, यही नामोनिशां मेरा

मेरा है रक्त हिंदी, जात हिंदी, ठेठ हिंदी हूँ
यही मजहब, यह फिर्का, यही हैं खानदाँ मेरा

कदम लूँ मादरे हिंदोस्ताँ की बैठते उठते
मेरी ऐसी कहाँ किस्मत, नसीबा यह कहाँ मेरा

तेरी सेवामें भारत अगर सर जाये तो जाये
तो मैं समझू कि हैं मरना हयाते-जाविदाँ मेरा


हमी (हम ही) हमारे वाली हैं

जीती दुनिया उसी सिकंदर पर भी जो के शेर हुआ
भागे युनानी भारत आके जो तनीक भी देर हुआ

महाराज कहाँ वो आज श्री चंद्रगुप्त बलशाली हैं
रक्त रक्त में अपने भाई हमी हमारे वाली हैं

जापान, जावा, चीन, मेक्सिको चरणों पर था झूल रहा
जिस भारत के, देश जहाँ था हैं वो आज भी भाई वहाँ।।

सुवर्णभूमी खाना पीना, गंगा देने वाली हैं
फिर देर क्यों, उठो भाई, हमी हमारे वाली हैं।।

बीज वहीं हैं, रक्त वहीं हैं, देश वहीं हैं देवों का
सिरफ ठिलाई अपनी खुद की देती हमको हैं धोका।

एक दो नहीं। तीस कोटी हम हिंदी भाई भाई हैं
रोके हम को कौन, कौममें ताकत ऐसी आयी हैं।।

उतनेमें से एक कोटी भी होंगे जो नवयुवा खडे
धीरजमें रणमरणतेज में एक एकसे चढे बढे।

सिरफ करेंगे हुकूम, लाओ बे भारत का हैं ताज कहाँ.
पावोगे वो आजादीका ताज आज के आज यहाँ।।

हन्ता रावण का हैं अपना राम वीरवर सेनानी
कर्मयोग का देव हैं, स्वयं कृष्ण सारथी अभिमानी।

भारत तेरे रथको सेना कौन रोकनेवाली हैं
फिर देर क्यों, उठो भाई, हमी हमारे वाली हैं।



See Savarkar's "Hindustan Mera" rendered beautifully into music by singer-composer Tauseef /Akhtar:




- Anurupa