Hathwa Bazaar by Anil K. Prasad SignUp
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Theme: History Share This Page
Hathwa Bazaar
by Prof. Dr. Anil K. Prasad
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A small bazaar, in a small place
Growing as the population is growing in geometrical progression
With a name and fame founded on institutions like
Bapu Middle School, Eden High School, Gopeshwar College, and I. T. I. etc.

Farmers from the neighbouring areas, from far and wide
Thronged at the time of Dussehra Festival
Like harmless hordes of horses and bullocks moving towards the maidan
Behind Gopal Mandir, clinking bells, rubbing their hooves
Amid the humming tunes of humans.

We played football near Keshar Bagh beside the High School
Founded in 1881(now renamed after its student, the first President of India),
Well-known for good teaching, good discipline, football matches and
Kavi sammelan and Mushaira on the eve of Saraswati Puja.

Beside the Mosque, behind the Litti-shop of Manmohan
Not very far from Harijan School, Gandhi Ashram are 
the toddy stalls and the country liquor shops.
The bazaar is teeming with millions of human faces; gutka-gulping, pan-chewing,
busy talking faces -  from dawn to dusk peopled – faces with differing political opinions, faces puzzling and puzzled – uncertain dispositions, uncertain loyalties.

Places are faces of their people, their petty political leaders,
Their blasts and bombasts, their promises and premises
Places are faces of their people,
Their traumas, aspirations, trials and tribulations
Their deities and divinities -  deserted -
After a passing storm of prosperity.
Hiding treasures and snakes
Like the Old Forte of the Maharaja
– deserted –disintegrating….

Places are faces of their people
Always changing and changeless
Ripe with wrinkles excited suddenly
With sudden showers of rain
And calamities like a Draupadi
Waiting to be rescued from
The gambler's table in a casino
Nostalgic, waiting to be freed,
By a Krishna who might have said today,
"In the world of Virtual Reality,
I'm the Worldwide Web,
O Draupadi, I shall come again
Crossing space and Time's timeless terrain."
 
Gopal Mandir is deserted too, the population of the bazaar is found
Squatting at the morning and evening hours of worship.
The winds of liberalization have changed the face of the small place.

Now it is the subdivision of the district with new buildings of banks,
And public schools named St. Paul’s Academy and Rose Bud Academy
With the children of the local population trying
To keep pace with the sudden growth of the nation.

This is the global village  of today –
Squatting to jump into another century
Bent double on a laptop – amused by
The fluidity of  time and space -

Of oblivion and uncertainty, and
The lonely Lord Gopal is brooding over the dance of destiny
Amid the humdrum homage of humanity
To the peace and progress of the world

Amid the offerings of  flowers and  fire and fragrance
And furtive glances….

First written in September, 2000 and
Revised  during my annual  re-visits
With the hope that these words, one day,
One far away day, from  a distant
Destination, unreachable and remote in time and space
Will connect me to my birthplace –
The space which is forever
Timeless in my consciousness

 

Share This:
December 02, 2010
More By: Prof. Dr. Anil K. Prasad
Views: 1466      Comments: 1

Comments on this Poem

Comment Your poem took me back in time, nearly six decades back. I, too, was born at Hathwa in 1953 and attended the Primary School at Manichhapar(still remember Baldeo Master Saheb) and thereafter passed 7th class from Bapu Middle School in 1963. I had to move out of the place due to father's transfer in 1963, but the memories of my childhood often haunt me, more so after retirement . Those were the golden days, everyone knew all other persons. The places you hv mentioned are before my mind's eye right now. Of course, ITI was not there in those days.

I plan to visit Hathwa in near future to see old places and changes alluded in your poem. I do not expect to meet old acquaintances as their whereabouts are not known. But I am sure that my visit will not be an ordinary visit, it will rather be a pilgrimage. Meanwhile, I express my gratitude to you for giving me a chance to travel down the memory lane and re-live those happiest time of my life.

Regards.

Ashok Jha
10/07/2018 06:22 AM




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