Indian Widows by O.P. Bhatnagar by Bijay Kant Dubey SignUp
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Literary Shelf Share This Page
Indian Widows by O.P. Bhatnagar
by Bijay Kant Dubey Bookmark and Share

Widows are windows
To shut the past from the present
And see the future as remote
As the fading horizon at dusk.
They are like strangers
Not feeling at home
Forever peeping out of the window
In an indistinct anxiety to go;
Their feelings grow like caterpillars
Flying out as butterflies
Flitting from flower to flower
Eluding the fingers of man
Or like bats hung upside down
To see the world in right perspective
Making endless flights in the room
In a confused hurry missing all windows.

Indian Widows as a poem reminds us of the struggle and suffering of the widows. What treatment have they got so far? How our mind-sets and mentality? How have we seen them over the years? Where is golden Vrindavan? How did it Mira feel it? How did the medieval period change it the whole gamut? How have they struggled? How have they suffered? Above all, what treatment have they got at our hands? We forbade them to wear red and colourful saris? We forbade them to smile. We got their long hair cut short and made them wear white clothes, barred from wearing colourful bangles. How did we snatch the smiles even from their faces? We imposed a flurry of restrictions on them. The Sati system sparks a lot about them. The child marriage too reveals it how it was our customs and how was India then! We do not how the social evils grow it?

In reading the poem, several things dance before our eyes and conjure upon the mind’s plane. How was Mirabai treated when she took to the company of Krishnite saints and sadhus, fakiras and minstrels abandoning her royal robe? How did it Mahadevi Varma? How does it augur the poem of Nirala, Bharat Ki Vidhwa? Was Kabira not the child of a Brahmin widow who threw it the new-born baby out of shame into the bushes to be reared and picked by the Muslim weavers?

Lifting the blinds of the window, they have nothing to peep into as their future is doomed, as their destiny lies it darkened where is there is a complete black-out, there is no room for any light to be seen.

How pathetic and penetrating are the lines:

Widows are windows
To shut the past from the present
And see the future as remote
As the fading horizon at dusk.

They are like strangers, refugees in no-man’s land partitioning for what. They do not remain the same in-dwellers but turn into the aliens from a different space. Just like the NRIs, non-resident persons they are treated.

They are like strangers
Not feeling at home
Forever peeping out of the window
In an indistinct anxiety to go;

They go on hopping from flower to flower, go on dreaming, as human imagination takes one to, but the dreams turn out it not to be real, nor has it anywhere. The caterpillars will remain caterpillars. Beyond the grasp of man and his fingers, they keep eluding. Who are they in reality? What their entities?

Their feelings grow like caterpillars
Flying out as butterflies
Flitting from flower to flower
Eluding the fingers of man

To change the metaphor, the simile, they are like bats hanging upside down, the Gulliverian characters. The closed doors, the closed windows are the housing s and flats of their own from where they can go it nowhere.

Or like bats hung upside down
To see the world in right perspective
Making endless flights in the room
In a confused hurry missing all windows.

O.P. Bhatnagar as a poet is a poet of social ideas and thoughts. To delve into his poetry is to delve into the sphere of social poetry and tragedy. To turn to him is to turn to Beckett and Shaw and Galsworthy where debates and discussions take the centre space in the want of romantic heroines, and we feel it boredom and monotony.

What it is existent now? How the residues of meaning? How the windows of the past? Where to peep into? How the windows showing future? Should the blinds be drawn out or drawn in? Can she shut herself from the past? Where is her home? Where her land?

She seems to be leaving all that in a confused hurry, going to where, who can but say it? Widows of O.P. Bhatnagar remind us the widows in lines, rows or queues waiting to enter the Great Temple of Jagannath as it is in Jayanta Mahapatra’s Dawn at Puri. The future is just like a fading horizon of the dusk to them. If the insiders turn into outsiders, what will it happen to? How will the things appear to be? Stark realities keep us bleeding, naked realities, bare truths, pinching bitter truths.    

Image (c) istock.com

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24-Jul-2022
More by :  Bijay Kant Dubey
 
Top | Literary Shelf
 
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