A question


chipchipay doodh se nehlaate hain

aangan mein khada kar ke tumhein

shahad bhi, tel bhi, haldi bhi, na jaane kya kya

ghol ke sar be landhaate hain

gilasiya bhar ke 

auratein gaati hain

jab tivra suron mein mil kar 

paaon par paaon laga ke

khade rehte ho

ek pathraai si muskaan liye

but nahi ho

to pareshaani to hoti hogi


– gulzar


they put you in the courtyard

and bathe you with sticky milk

honey, oil, turmeric, what not

they blend into a paste

to pour on your scalp

while women sing together

in their shrill tones


but you just stand there

one foot touching the other

and a smile made of stone 

on your face

if not merely an idol

you must feel distressed

do you not?


In this lovely poem, Gulzar evokes a critique of ritual that has lost its power, and remains merely a sentimental activity performed for unthought reasons which are more social than spiritual. With quite humour and sarcasm, he asks Lord Krishna if he is a mere idol, or something more. There also lies  in the poem a hint of the notion that God is alive, he is life itself, animated and awake, and cannot be constricted into an idol. At the same time, Gulzar gently suggests that we may further anthropomorphise God, to see in God more vividly a reflection of feelings that we ourselves experience every now and then. For where else could they, like anything else, come from? Perhaps, then, He too, feels distressed. Or does He not?

~ by tdcatss on June 27, 2013.

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