Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A Strange Problem by Kunwar Narain

Got my salary today! And just treated myself to a subscription to The Little Magazine.

Was reading the online edition just now, and read this poem which I think is really nice. It's been translated from Hindi by Pratik Kanjilal, and was originally written by Kunwar Narain.



I have a strange problem these days —
The power to hate with all my heart
Is ebbing by the day

I want to hate the English
(They ruled us for two centuries)
But Shakespeare sidles up
To whom I owe so much

I want to hate the Muslims
But Ghalib stands before me
Tell me, is it possible to stand up
To him?

I want to hate the Sikhs
And Guru Nanak fills my vision
And my head is bowed

And this Kamban, this Thyagaraja, this
Muthuswamy…
A hundred thousand times I tell myself
They are not mine
They’re from some place far South
But the heart does not rest
Till they are made mine

And that lover
Who betrayed me the first time
I’d as soon kill her as look at her!
I do see her, but
Sometimes she is a friend
Sometimes a mother
Often like a sister
And I drink from the cup of love, and am still

All my days
I wander like a madman
In search of someone I can
Hate with all my heart
And ease it for a while

But precisely the opposite happens
Somewhere, sometime
I find someone
I cannot help but love

Day by day, this disease of love is growing
Rooted firmly in the fantasy
That one day my love
Will show me Paradise