Monday, November 23, 2009

The Autobiography of an Unknown Rebel

The Autobiography of
An Unknown Rebel

Jandhyala Ravindranath

Why do I write?
Something perishable
Is pen still mightier than the bomb in this turbulent age?
Many prefer pottery to poetry
Giver of subtle pleasure and wisdom
It may be read or killed by negligence
It may break into shreds on the rocks of time or silence
It appeals to mind, heart and soul eternal
Is it local or global?
Is it essential and consumable like bread?
***
What does a writer want?
Fame, manifestation of innate urge or meaning of an experience?
Hopkins’ poems and Kafka’s stories
Have seen the light after their death
The memory of a dead writer seems momentary
But an anonymous reader from a far-off corner
Pays homage to a writer cutting across time and place
Orhan Pamuk, Margaret Atwood and Doris Lessing
Wrote for decades for bread and beauty
They craved for creativity but not popularity.

***
I am tempted to attempt a long poem in praise of peace
Now real wars replaced the cold war
violence possessed the souls of the rulers and the ruled
indifference hovers like a cloud
Beasts and birds are bewildered by the brutality of human being
Peace and justice are human
war and injustice are inhuman
yesterday’s victims of holocaust
Have become persecutors of the Palestinians
The lone super power continued its ravage
Civilians turned the lambs of the butcher’s army
Is this century imitate the last one
That was a synonym of naked violence?
In the name of lofty ideals
Justifications jillion offered
To be insensitive to the sight of mutilated humanity
war and devastation embedded in the system
This free verse is not chained to Reason or Treason
A thousand reasons for violence
Can’t negate life/ non-violence.
Nuclear threat has been haunting
Self-control has gone with the wind in the pursuit of territory and technology
The sane voice of Sen falls on deaf ears
The impulse for violence bursts into many Hiroshimas
***
In this age of rat race
Practice is preferred to thinking
“Think until it hurts”
What is there to write about?
Broken hopes, hopeful breaks,
Lost memories, memorable losses
Wild promises, mild performances
Goalless efforts, effortless goals
History erased, humanity eroded
Mental conflicts and conflicting minds
Nourished bodies and cynical souls
Tales untold, truths unfolded
***
If you want to write, do it now
“Ideal” conditions are a pie in the sky
Remember Michael Phelps
Go on weaving stories ceaselessly
Not noise alone, stillness too speaks
When strife was there, you were restless
When peace reigns, You are complacent
Writing is as essential as eating and mating
Live in and grip the present
Wisdom tells past and future regrets are futile
Is it imperative to understand past
Either your own or that of your country?
From being a lover of history, I turn skeptic
As questions change in the course of time
***
“Market is an evil” averred Marxists
who had to live and die under its rule
Market fundamentalists marveled at the existence of Marxists
Although revolutions apparently disappeared
We still think in traditional grooves
The emotional mind annihilate
Things built in patience
Should man leave for other planets?
Should universe be left at the mercy of trans- planetary humans?
They failed the earth through their greed and thoughtlessness
In our penchant for the projects
What about the tribals of Papi hills?
***
While China that knows discipline wins many medals
India, A collection of individuals has one or two Bindras
***
The rebellious we thought Shakespeare was not for people
Not dwelling on why Marx read him time and again
Him I read initially with the help of Raghukul Tilak
After a while Shakapearean language became familiar
He touched the strings of harp of human heart
We also thought why should not he be called “Kalidasa of England”?
Antony’s honour, Othello’s fall due to green-eyed monster
Hamlet’s dilemma and Macbeth’s ambition
Are unforgettable tales of the bard of Avon.
Under the grip of dialectical materialism
We showed contempt towards bourgeois artists
Art was an indulgence, politics was human essence
forgetting that the artist influences subtly but deeply
As memories pale
The “heroic” deeds of the past seem quixotic
Commitment seems distraction
Social Concern seems paucity of career consciousness
But there is no need to whip oneself
Quixotic acts were testing of one’s limitations
Concern for change was the sign of the ideal youth
With age comes understanding
That change one must
Before demanding others
Deep changes takes decades
Let people know through suffering- a better teacher

***
Now some say Marxism is moribund
The passionate prophet who foresaw the fall of capitalism
Churned and stirred many hearts and souls
Many leapt into the fire of revolution
Marx’s bright ideals turned the feet of the Rightists cold
The ruthless genius of Lenin
Had drawn the censure of irreverent Russel
Who earlier taught me rationalism and the value of knowledge
His powerful language and works moulded my thought
Where have they gone?
The undaunted practical maturity of Mao,
The tenacity of Ho-chi- Minh
And the immortal intransigence of Guevara and Castro
The dogmatic language shackled the fresh ideas
Humans have been sandwiched between godless communism and
God-damn-it capitalism
Rigidity killed creativity , cat killed curiosity.
The computer revolution has demolished the wall of communism
The specter of Consumerism has been haunting the globe
A hungry dog in a remote corner
A poor soul in search of job
A passionate heart in search of justice
Would still swear by Marxism
***
Art flees when politics dictate
Gorky, Orwell, Koestler, Howard Fast and Solzhenitsyn
Suffered from the ravages of bureaucratic Socialism
Gorbachev effected the market mode
Maverick Yeltsin continued the stride
Many small states spelt the doom of the USSR
It took the iron fist of Putin to bring order out of chaos
People desire freedom
The unleashing of controls heralded independence to satellite states
The Eastern Europe embraced market
Globalization has come to stay
With all its pros and cons
The west wind became stronger
***
People want bread as well as freedom
Freedom and Equality are Siamease twins
They prefer love to war, life to strife and soul to material comforts
Humanity will reach its destiny of happiness
Neither ration shops nor shopping malls would bring cheeriness
Environment is as vital as development
The evacuees must be rehabilitated
Poverty is the foe of humanity
Profit is the opponent of equality
Technology must serve the common people
Terrorism needs to understand its folly
State terror must cease its assault on democracy
Nation must learn discipline and the value of time and cleanliness
***
Urban areas are concrete jungles
Highways are gateways to death
The weavers are withering and the farmers are falling
The students are slaying themselves on the altar of corporatism
Education becomes a farce
Industries want readymade students to use and throw
Health and wealth are costly and inaccessible
Society is waiting for glamorous Godots
***
When I think of my youth
I don’t know whether to praise or despise my efforts
I felt volcanic emotions
That made me non-conformist
Frustration born of terrible economic conditions
Caused ennui, anger , a rebellion of mind
I spurned academics
I devoured all kinds of books
I roamed pasting posters, waging struggles, collecting funds
All those ‘significant’ acts
Now appear naive
A few years passed energetically
Asthma made me writhe in spasms of pain many days and nights
I began thinking
Who will cry when I die?
I didn’t relish becoming statistics
Rest made me think of alternative path
Tianman square incident
Turned me a journalist for a while
Soon my zeal turned in to restlessness
I felt that there was much to read and do
The lonely nights spent on the terrace
Increased my anguish
I took French leave
And later resigned the job
Then passed one and half year of anxious period
My attempts to restore law or journalism failed
After a painful gap I rejoined another university
That helped me regain my academic interests
***
Reading has become rare and a ware in the market
The pleasure of meeting an advanced mind
Became conspicuous by its absence
Prosperity or promotion alone justifies it now
An English teacher in an engineering college
Is always an aberration
When utility substituted beauty
I remember Narain’s failed English Teacher
The painter of ironies of love versus duty
***
Think and act creatively and
Know that interpretation makes
or mars an experience
SF and Technology show future
She sells sea shells on the seashore
He sells samosas in the shopping malls
Values were not fixed just in the past
They are for now as well as for tomorrow
***
Some times I wonder
Whether I did what I wanted to
Can you decide your time and context?
Attain deeper peace
That unites fermenting ideas
In to a wholesome dish
To serve the hungry and the needy
Give up your illusion of grandeur
Give into that goddess of art
Who gives the milk of creativity , sustains your patience
***
The blade of grass that swings to air is a dancer
The wayside forest fire that arrests your feet is a painter
The cloud- capped hills too capture your heart
The dogs which bear their pain in isolation
Teach you the art of life
Their faith is your substance of soul
Understand the joyous devotion to the divine
Art and history lie in the daily chores but not just in cataclysmic events
***
Life gives no zeal or glory
When we fight the mother earth
And forget the “inconvenient truth” by Al Gore
It is time to make peace with the planet or perish in pain
Shun the path to perdition
Stand before the posterity
With moral authority
We have to wage peace but not war
The rival is blamed and the self is exonerated
For the crime and sin of war
NOT stopped by the UNO
The rich nations may better share their prosperity
But not their penchant for violence
***
Who moved your cheese?
Is it changed times or outworn ideals?
Why is there so much reluctance
To desert the melting ground
My mind enjoys the zone of comfort
Has the joy of learning has yielded to
the drudgery of earning?
***
To be creative means permanent amateurism?
In my dictionary of life
Decades have sped by
In converting my destructive impulse into
A harmonious one
One letter separates Revolution from evolution
Change must come by compassion
Bayonet begets revenge
The eternal battle rages between love and hatred
History need not adore hatred
Since love has won once in a bluemoon
Peace precious, War vicious
Tolstoy tells futility of war
The dreams of glory are wrecked with a shot
The carrier of ensign and the soldier
Lying wounded dead with open eyes on the battlefield
staring at the azure sky
Knows war is Mutually Assured Destruction
Think , live and use words new

***
Outside the market
Human feels worthless
Do other creatures have market?
Do they measure their worth in rupees?
We ignore the
The real gods of truth, beauty and bliss
A Moses should come and chide these folks
Who wallow in the filth of wealth
A Gandhi should come and teach
LOVE TO THE LOVELESS CROWD
We need prophets not for a millennium
But for every decade
As our forgetfulness is infinite
Martin Luther and Mother Theresa
Are forgotten in favour of
Movie stars
We are senselessly sensuous
And irrationally irrational
Are war mongers but not peace mongers?
Let spiritual spring banish nuclear winter
***
When human acts like a super human
He may turn into a hunted animal like Saddam
when super power shuns superior reason
and reach the end of imagination
when people submit to savagery
when they lose the respect for life
civilization and barbarianism are synonyms
should India become a super power
like Britain, Germany , Russia or America
in enslaving the hapless nations?
India should be strong sans aggression
It should show super spirit of peace and nonviolence
Nuclear nightmare is no substitute to the sweet dream of life

***
The villages are perishing
The cities are bursting at seams
Jobs are as rare as white crows
Will kalam’s vision be realized or etherealized?
Cars are produced in plenty
Public transport is neglected
Rice is scarce
***
Our attitudes are downbeat
Our aspirations are upbeat
Our capacity for risk is minute
The youth of India can rejuvenate the nation
They can write prosperity
On the face of our country
Time and Synergy are theirs
They can rewrite our priorities
They can reinvent the lost fiber
They are heroes of the present
They only need encouragement

***

Love for life will win
Lust for death will bow its head
The spirit of man will and shall rise
The earth and the universe would outlive
The foolish man who plays God
The Scientists must show restraint
and avoid postmortem over death of compassion
***
Some times I agonize
Whether I have squandered my energy
The tussle between potentiality and possibility
Is not absolute
Conditions draw our boundaries
Your life energy flows in bounds
You feel freedom only in thoughts
The irrationality of life stares at you
The budding technologist becomes a victim
To mysterious force in the land of promise
Violence explodes in markets
What is the meaning of life?
What is the meaning of my life?
***
the till you live
work till you rest
the notorious history eats one and all
who miss the meaning of experience
the journey to Eldora do
is not a National highway
crisis means an opportunity / calamity
Be a wave in the sea of happiness
And cease to see duality between life and you
Live your life but not your job
A wave that breaks away from the sea
batters its head on a boulder
This compassionate universe is ever changing

***
See yourself as a part of nature
Never pollute yourself
See no difference between you and god and dog
See the entire world in you
Never send missile against your innate sky
The death of a single ant is equal
To Your death, not a disaster to nature
O Human! You lost your way
In your search for power
See, listen and think with your heart
Find a way out of labyrinth
Do not reach the end of your imagination
***
Why should a small girl
Jump from the terrace
For the sake of education
That promises rosy job?
Why stress, distress and depression
In the name of corporate education?
No other creature dies
For want of prosperous life
It is the privilege of corporate creature
***

Move from extravagance to prudence
Mediocrity to excellence
Corruption to honesty.
---

2 comments:

kiran kothagudem said...

great.

vijaya lakshmi potu said...

vijayalakshmi(English)nagarjuna University
The autobiography of an unknown rebel is a known rebel to me. I read and re read his poems since they touch the most sensitive part in my heart.My evolution as a powerful individual was moulded/evolutionised by his thoughts which he was totally unaware of. He was my guru when he was a student.I am proud to say that his poetry still influences me and hopefully continues to influence me. My sincere respects to my guru.
From
Ekalavya sishyuralu
English
vijayaLakshmi