The Unadorned

My literary blog to keep track of my creative mood swings with poems n short stories, book reviews n humorous prose, travelogues n photography, reflections n translations, both in English n Hindi.

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I'm a peace-loving married Indian male on the right side of '50 with college-going children, and presently employed under government. Educationally I've a master's degree in History, and another in Computer Application. Besides, I've a post graduate diploma in Management. My published works are:- (1)"In Harness", ISBN 81-8157-183-5, a poetry collections and (2) "The Remix of Orchid", ISBN 978-81-7525-729-0, a short story collections with a foreword by Mr. Ruskin Bond, (3) "Virasat", ISBN 978-81-7525-982-9, again a short story collection but in Hindi, (4) "Ek Saal Baad," ISBN 978-81-906496-8-1, my second Story Collection in Hindi.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

A Brahmin Forgets his Hymn


I would not like to be associated with those who advocate that even census should be on caste line, yet while writing a poem I chose the topic from the caste quagmire. It is common sense that poverty could be anywhere, even in a Brahmin household. Many of our ancient stories used to start something like this: Once there lived a poor brahmin who used to go to village for begging alms...


A Brahmin Forgets his Hymn


A Brahmin

forgets his hymn...

When finds his three unemployed sons

plodding along the hungry bylanes

chasing the elusive urban employment,

When finds his daughter pale and pondering

educated, groomed homely, wearied at thirty

miles away from her indispensable wedlock,

When the sharecropper vengefully ruins

his ancestral paddy land of infertile acre

by his wanton step-fatherly neglect,

When his ageing wife sobs in silence

lamenting her birth as a woman

her lost life in drudgery and chores,

When his bed-ridden father

curses his unworthy son

desperate for a few pills of painkiller,

When his ritual fasts

end up in ulcerous hunger

before his stone gods fond of flowers,

When the generous god-fearing devotees

throw a ten paise-coin each

on a sacred brass plate in melting gestures,

When a corn on his naked heel

perpetrates excruciating pain on hot sand

of the lonely sizzling village lane,

When his perforated faded cloth cover

on his quarter century-old umbrella

bequeathed to him by his glorious ancestors

fails to prevent the meddlesome rainwater,

And the Brahmin

forgets his hymn,

salutes an officer in solemn sincerity

unmindful of his unnecessary ancestry

while dragging his feet out of the temple

to ask for a hundred rupees loan

for the day's ration...

And thus the Brahmin

forgets his hymn

of high-sounding Sanskrit

and hollow-sounding rhymes.


21 /03 /97

A. N. Nanda



Blogger A_N_Nanda said...


8:00 AM  
Blogger NS said...

This Poem really depicts the present scenario. When hungry starts all will be out whatever it maybe is the main crux here. Poverty changes the social order into its maximum extent is the theme of this heart melting poem.
Earlier I read your Poem “ Mother” translated from Oriya and I tried to translate into TAMIL in the name of “AMMA”. I felt very much that it reflects my mother. Many of my friends enjoyed very much the English version rather than my Tamil translation. But I really understood that poems are the children of hearts and not from mouth or hand. Thank god for his creation of mankind who can able to enjoy and create poems and I believe that a poet can change the world with his weapon of poems and not with any arms or ammunition.
-------------- N.Subramanian Tirupur

10:37 AM  
Blogger A_N_Nanda said...

Thanks Ns, I'll send the feedback to the original poet in Orissa. Truth be told, the poet is a postal assistant in CPMG's office in Bhubaneswar who has three poetry collections to his credit. He writes wonderful poems. I just liked it and translated. My gesture made him so happy that he made me talk to her mother in whose honour he had written the poem. These are memorable moments for poets, when its original form reaches its readers or its translated/transcreated form.

8:09 AM  
Blogger padmalayaa7 said...

The customs and rituals are mingled with the search of bare necessities of life and piles of tensions are added to it bring tears in eyes. How helpless a bread earner is depicted nicely here.

7:01 AM  
Anonymous Shalu Sharma said...

Very interesting. The caste system should change in India. No point dragging something that hampers human relations.

3:37 PM  
Blogger A_N_Nanda said...

Yes Salu. It should go...but then again there's attempt at caste census too.

Thanks for dropping by my site.

A N Nanda

4:31 AM  

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