Penning love from across the salt desert
Sitting with his pen beyond the border, he writes of his yearning to be in his motherland. Partition left him in Sindh. Arhan Hasid who won the Tagore Literature Award for ‘Na len Na’ (No No Not) said that it is a blend of ‘Doha’, ‘Bait’ and ‘Wais’ sprinkled with modern poetic sensibilities.
“These all come from a loss of identification. I long to be in India. Sindhu river has been called Indus from which the name India is derived but Sindh is now in Pakistan and my writings are in Sindhi,” said Arjan. “Nobody wants to lose his identity. Now, money is the only language that counts. If you have money, you have an identity,” he said. Arjan is among the seven writers who won the awards for best literary contributions in seven Indian languages.
Universal truths take a regional flavour in the works of all the artists who capture the nuances of life and ethos of the land in local dialects. Unfortunately, as they do not have translated versions, only those who know the language gets to read them.
Akkitham Achuthan Nambudiri, who won the award for ‘Anthimahakaalam’, said that students today opt for English as it paves the way for more job opportunities and hence, more job opportunities should be there for those who pursue Malayalam language, he said. Age and ailments barred him from speaking much of his poetry which revolves round ordinary experiences that transcends to sublime realms of spirituality. Indramani Darnal approaches Hindu mythologies with a modern outlook in her plays. ‘Krishna Krishna’ a play in Nepali explores women’s quest for justice in society. She looks at Draupadi and Kunti in different light. Draupadi was born not from fire but by the warmth of the fire. She was genuinely in love with Arjuna but when she was to be shared by the five brothers, she agreed else she would lose Arjuna. “My next project is Urmila of Ramayana and I am doing research into it,” she said. Her plays have been staged across Nepal and won accolades. Jagdish Prasad Mandal, a social-activist-turned writer brings to light the sufferings of the people in Mithila in Maithili language in his short stories title ‘Gaamak Jingi’. He spoke of how the floods washed away the houses and the plight of the homeless villagers. With a stand against urban migration, his stories of way of life of the common people ends in hope.
Sheela Kolambkar’s one of the first Konkani writers short stories ‘Geera’ delves into the agonies and suffering of women in a male-dominated society. Kunjamohan Singh Manipuri short stories ‘Eina Kenge Kenba Natte’ brings to life the state of affair in Manipur.