Thursday, March 14, 2013

Nandini Sahu : A Poet - in - the- Making

Nandini Sahu is a new  promise  from the Land of Odissi and Geeta Govind . Her poetic output may be small  at present,but it  holds the promise of a rising star on the eastern horizon of India .

Her poem Bridge -in  - Making serves as an apt self- introduction . This poem is intensely reminiscent of Kamala Das's poem An Introduction . Every Indian poet writing in English has found it necessary to justify their use of English . There is nothing of Kamala Das's vehemence in Nandini  Sahu's vindication of her use of English .Kamala Das says to her critics :

                  Why not leave
Me alone , critics , friends , visiting cousins
Every one of you? Why not let me speak in
Any language I like , The language I speak
Becomes mine , its distortions , its queerness
All mine mine alone , It is half  English , half
Indian, funny perhaps, but it is honest

Nandini Sahu's justification of English is a subdued one She says :

I guess what I write is not English
Still it's  a negotiable alternative
To breathing , to the art of living
It is the aroma to keep my spirit buoyant
It's a reconciliation  a bridge-in- making



At times Nandini thinks that  her poetry is subaltern speaking . Yes, it is subaltern speaking back to the centre . She has successfully broken down the barrier between the periphery and the centre .Her poem is indeed a pearl of post-colonial poetry which is as delicate as "watered-rice-brinjal-fry-and dry fish"

There is a marked distinction between Kamala Das's and Nandini Sahu's attitude to English Kamala Das says

I speak three languages, write in
two, dream in one

Nandini's language to dream in is, of course, her mother tongue , Odia . It is the language in which she likes to think , feel and dream! It is  as real and inevitable as the funeral pyre . . English, on the contrary, is her garland , her sword , and refuge . It is the voice of her longings and belongings . It is as real as the elemental fury of nature.   Nandini takes her imagery from the world of nature which imparts to her poetry  a touch of elemental power. See how a poet's use of a single metaphor can replace a myriad words ! Speaking of English as the language of her poetry , she says " it is like rain-drops shaped into a pearl "The crowning glory of this striking pageant of metaphors can be seen in the lines

The alphabets of the English I use with their
Jingling anklets , flood my world with joy 

My Home reveals Nandini in a different light . This is a delicate poem which captures  a rare mood of nostalgia and melancholy. What are human beings if they have lost their capacity to dream ? Nandini's dream home is in Delhi " Delhi away from Delhi" . , at the foot of a hillock , all covered with flowers .


Here I am given more 
than I could ever ask for 

Peacocks dance to the rhythmic beat of the rain  , camels graze at will, birds sing  soothing melodies to calm her frayed spirit . Her son is playing around and the country road is a feast to the eye . She sings a tune in her velvety voice . She holds a book close to her chest while the trouts with joyful haste swim in the aquarium . There is silence throughout winter  The instabilityof life is reflected  in the fickleness of the seasons.. Summer night's silence is broken by the frantic songs of nightingales .The passionate rain reveals yet another aspect of nature  After all, man and nature are so closely linked - one only reveals the other!


Thank you for visiting 

Prof V.P.Rajappan

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