Literary Shelf

Poems by Narenderpal Singh (1923-2003)

Narenderpal Singh, how to introduce him as he held several posts and positions and was the Editor of Byword too which he edited from Delhi. Born in Lyallpur in 1923, under British India, he joined the Army in 1942, serving West Asia during the World War II. A military and defense man, an attaché, he worked in several countries and visited them too. A Punjabi novelist, he received the Sahitya Akademi award and was a poet too. He was Deputy Military Secretary for some time to President, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan. He retired from the rank of the brigadier.

A foreigner girl talking about India, is the crux of the matter, which the poet comes to note it here in this poem reminding us of Namaste India, she the foreigner girl bidding it with her folded hands on her arrival and we garlanding her with a red paste on her forehead or while meeting in foreign and the turbaned maharajah welcoming her too can be seen in at our airport. The mascot we have not forgotten her. Now many maharajahs have with change in time and situation shifted to heritage management inclusive of visits to royal palaces, with relics, insignia on display, hotels and packages as for to house and take to for sojourns.

The poet as an interpreter or a tourist guide wants to know what she knows it about India. How is India like? How her perception about it?

Actually, India not, the lust of the poet needs to be listed as for he wants to know if she loves him or not which the poet should not have asked. Did he want to marry her? Was it not the repudiation of hospitality? Are our meetings as such? Owen’s not, Spenser’s, Wyatt’s, Drayton’s?

Had we been in the position of the girl, we would have, Krishna is in  the heart, Rama dwells it inside, do you want to see it as did show it Hanuman God? Ganesha sips it milk here during the Milk Miracle. Saraswati is on our tongue. We under the load of thirty-three crore gods and goddesses. But she is a foreigner girl. What will she anymore?

Lastly, is the poet himself asking and answering or the foreign girl is before him? Whatever be that, it is an exquisitely beautiful poem, lovely indeed, deserving our all praise and admiration for the same, the write-up done.

On reading the poem, we feel it within where to see the foreign girl and ask about her experiences of India or she planning to visit it. When will she come, during the winter or the summer? How her tour package and she affording to pay it?

To A Foreign Girl

You love India?
Yes, of course.
It’s lovely,
Large---yet exquisite.
You love my Krishna
My Buddha
My lord Ganesha
A thousand other
Gods and goddesses?

You love our temples?
Yes, you do!
Dotted all over India
With their rich treasures,
Treasures of art and architecture.

You love our lakes
Lakes and holy rivers
Sacred Ganga
Sacred mountain resorts?
Aren’t they?

You love my people?
Simple and honest
Poor my noble.

Thanks for all that and this,
Lovely girl.
But tell me
Do you love me-----

To A Foreign Girl is a lovely poem full of lovely expressions and the poem is enchanting indeed.

But how am I? What is your impression? O foreign girl! You say it, what will she rather than, you are fine, happy to meet you?

Ganga Water

Young Deepak’s temperature touched
A hundred and five Fahrenheit.
He was unconscious.
“Doctor!” “Help!” they all cried.
“Run and fetch Dr. Mathur or Dr. Amjad.”

The Brahmin next door, however, opined:
“Why not Ganga water, ignoramuses?
Run to Pandit Shiv Ram—
a bit far but cure is sure”
Another Brahmin said so too.

A conclave—
Father, mother, son, daughter and the neighbours conferred,
and the father ran to Pandit Shiv Ram,
ran fast he did
past Dr. Mathur’s and Dr. Amjad’s clinics.

Shiv Ram was all attention,
listened to even the symptoms:
“This is a horrible disease,”  he pronounced
“Needs special Ganga water,
Will cost you a little more,
Maybe more than the allopathic doctor’s fake medicines,
But, after all, it’s the son’s life or death!”

“Hari Krishna, Hari Ram,” the father cried.
Brought the Ganga water
Sprinkled; it all over Deepak
All around the cot and
Fed him sip by sip
Till young Deepak’s life
Was gradually extinguished.

“Oh, it was God’s will!”
They all sighed, cried, wept and felt consoled.

Such a thing we have seen in the villages and it has engaged us for quite a long time as the intention had not been so. A sprinkling of fresh water invigorates and refreshes rather than taking it otherwise. If we construe, the things will get misled.

The Ganga water is clean water. It is also holy. But to take it for medicinal purposes or cures may not be a method of diagnosing the health issue. Rather than taking him to the doctor, the lethargic, fatalistic, inactive, pseudo-godly people are raking him to an exorcist or a worshipper as for Ganga water to be sprinkled. Averting nazar-gozar, gunin-mantri, he must be taken to a clinic for to attend to him. The water-soaked bandage is okay, but never the sprinkling of the holy water for to cure him of high fever. Our superstition and black magic must come to an end. Rather than spending time with, admonishing our old and bizarre thinking we must take him to the allopath doctor to attend to. Turn up in time. Shed your negligence, old mentality, old and obsolete thoughts. Leave you not the all unto Him. You have also something to do in time with proper duty and care. Everything is not in the hands of God. Something is in your hands.


More by :  Bijay Kant Dubey

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