Beyond The Beaten Track: Offbeat Poems From Gujarat (Heritage Collection)

Shouldn’t Someone Waken! (Venilal Purohit)

Can’t one amongst us waken –
can’t someone awaken!

Let one amongst us waken!
Fie! How the age
is inebriated on disgrace;
the sea of numbness rumbles –
its dark depths
can't someone fathom –
can’t someone waken?

Woe! The age has been drinking poison
of enmity, dark oppression -
the age choking wants a draught
of truth-valour!
Let someone waken!

Possessing inherited delis1
mansions with courtyards,
and concerns left at the village’s fringes
people relax on bedsteads
under neem trees –
why all seem to be snoring?
Let someone waken!

All of us are slumbering
using shoes as pillows
while dread darkness
drips from the sky
and a chronicle dark as a lightless night
rankles us -
let someone waken!

From this side arrives uproar
from that side flows a tide of blood
stand there, despite, these officials -
may batons rain on the heads of
these savage, deaf, wilful self-centered people!
Let someone waken!

Such was one evening when
anger flared in people’s hearts.
In the midst lay a corpse-like
servitude terrible.
Shedding its swoon
it wants to blossom:
let one amongst us waken!

Someone may awaken
or no one may awaken.
Why should another awaken?
If you are aroused
you go forward–
from amongst us
you march forward….!

1 A large traditional house like a castle or manor.

કોક તો જાગે (વેણીલાલ પુરોહિત)

આપણામાંથી કોક તો જાગે-
કોક તો જાગે !

કોક તો જાગે આપણામાંથી
હાય જમાને
ઢેઢફજેતી ઢીંચતાં ઢીંચી,
ઘેનસમંદર ઘૂઘવે-
એનાં ઘોર ઊંડાણો
કોક તો તાગે-
આપણામાંથી કોક તો જાગે !‌

હાય જમાને
ઝેરને પીધાં, વેરને પીધાં,
આધીનનાં અંધેરને પીધાં,
કૈંક કડાયાં કેરને પીધાં-
આજ જમાનો અંતરાશે
એક ઘૂંટડો માગે-
સાચ-ખમીરનો ઘૂંટડો માગે :
આપણામાંથી કોક તો જાગે !

બાપદાદાની બાંધેલ ડેલી,
એક ફળીબંધ હોય હવેલી,
ગામની ચંત્યા ગોંદરે મેલી,
એ...ય નિરાંતે લીમડા હેઠે
ઢોલિયા ઢાળી-
સહુ સૂતા હોય એમ કાં લાગે ?
આપણામાંથી કોક તો જાગે !

સોડ તાણી સહુ આપણે સૂતાં,
આપ ઓશીકે આપણાં જૂતાં,
ઘોર અંધારાં આભથી ચૂતાં-
ઘોર અંધારી રાત જેવી
ઘનઘોર તવારીખ સોરવા લાગે-
આપણામાંથી કોક તો જાગે !

આમથી આવે ક્રોડ કોલાહલ,
તેમથી વ્હેતાં લોહી છલોછલ,
તોય ઊભાં જે માનવી મોસલ-
આપરખાં, વગડાઉ ને એવાં
ધ્યાનબ્હેરાંનાં લમણાંમાં
મર લાઠિયું વાગે !
આપણામાંથી કોક તો જાગે !

એક દી એવી સાંજ પડી'તી,
લોક-કલેજે ઝાંઝ ચડી'તી
શબ જેવી વચમાં જ પડી'તી-
એ જ ગુલામી,
એ જ ગોઝારી,
મૂરછા છાંડી મ્હોરવા માગે :
આપણામાંથી કોક તો જાગે !

કોઈ જાગે કે કોઈ ના જાગે
કોઈ શું જાગે ?
તું જ જાગ્યો તો તું જ જા આગે-
આપણામાંથી તું જ જા આગે....

Category in Beyond The Beaten Track

Protest Poems


The poem is a bit rhetorical and preachy; but it is somewhat rare in the cosmos of self-centric poetry. The language is passionate, and the poem echoes Tagore’s call: ‘If no one hearkens to your call, go forth alone!’ The poem appealed to the hero within me. But did the fellow budge even an inch…?

About The Author

Venibhai Purohit, school dropout (1916 – 1980) was born in Jamkhambhaliya, Saurashtra. The township was known for the locals' love of Indian classical and semi-classical music. His father was very fond of music and astrology, and he could pass on the love of music to his son. Purohit participated in the 1942 Quit India Movement and was jailed for a year. He worked in a number of publishing houses in Ahmedabad and Mumbai. He was a columnist, and reviewed music and cultural programs and films for papers. He also wrote songs for films. Purohit attributed his love of songs to his childhood in his native place and the pretty landscape of Saurashtra. His poems were influenced by the indigenous tunes of his native land. Purohit published a number of volumes of poetry, his forte being songs and bhajans (devotional songs). For these he drew on his childhood exposure to music. Besides poetry, he was also a short story writer, and published a number of volumes of stories.