The poem that alleviates India’s anger over epidemic diseases Salil Tripathi

P.Arul Khakhar had little idea about it Storm His 14 line poem will be released. Posted on social media on May 11, the Gujarati language expression expresses heartfelt frustration and anger over the epidemic deaths in India. Shab Vahini Ganga (“A horse named Ganga”, as the river Ganga is known all over India.) There is a happy rhythm and it is accused of emotions. The tragedy is regrettable which has shocked the Indians.

India had survived the first wave of Kovid-19, and the Narendra Modi administration thought in exchange for smuggling that the country would be exempt. The World Health Organization hosted the then President, Donald Trump, in Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s largest city, in February 2020, the week before Kovid 19 was declared an epidemic. In the months that followed, in addition to announcing a brutal lockdown that disrupted the lives of millions of Indian migrant workers, the government did business as usual, allowing the world’s largest religious festival and this year Hold wide-ranging political rallies for elections in early (which is a big blow). Modi also donated vaccines to other countries, perhaps winning the Nobel Prize for himself, and the Virtual World Economic Forum claimed in January that India had overcome epidemics.

It was an act of confinement, as the world and India have discovered. Within days, it became clear that the emperor did not really have clothes (Khakhar referred to the folklore of Hans Christian Anderson in his poem). With a massive shortage of oxygen, medicine and ambulances, India turned from a “pharmacy of the world” to a charity. Not only did patients have to line up beds in the intensive care units of hospitals (some died at the doorsteps of hospitals, waiting in ambulances or cars), mourners had to line up at places in cemeteries, which were piles of wood. Running away from and melting in whose furnaces, the trees around the cemetery turn to tears.

Khakhar did not name Modi, but his anguish and anger are evident in his poem. Notably, he wrote in Gujarati: Modi is extremely popular in his home state, which his Bharatiya Janata Party has ruled almost unhindered since 1995. From late 2001 to 2014, he was the Chief Minister of the state, when he was elected. Prime Minister of India There are broader allusions to this poem. It has revealed to Indians how it is becoming unpopular in its own state, which goes to the polls at the end of next year.

The poem has alienated Gujarati society, many are cheering it on, and many are openly abusing its author. It has encouraged Modi’s opponents within the state to raise their voices. At the same time, Modi’s supporters have doubled. He has written answers, including some verses on Khaksar’s desecration, comparing him to Khaksar, as well as the generally rude, absurd and imaginary image that trolls the Internet when he He meets such a sharp woman when his words are like this. Don’t want to hear Indeed, it has allegedly attracted more than 28,000 hate messages, and at least in India it has become perhaps the most critical poem ever.

Meanwhile, the poem itself has spread across India at the speed of a virus. It has been translated into at least seven languages ​​- Bengali, English, Hindi, Marathi, Punjabi, Malayalam and Tamil, and music in Gujarati and Punjabi. I translated it into English, and it was published in a free edition with a few other translations. the wire. While many well-known Gujarati writers have remained silent, some have spoken. Khakhar has had to lock his social media profile. He responded mildly to my emails but chose not to comment in public – preferring to let his own words speak. As the attacks against him intensify, he posted an encouraging verse on his Facebook page last week: “Congratulations and satisfied that Parol is still alive. Are taking. “

Salman Rushdie has written in Satanic verses In 1988, a poet’s job was to “name unknown people, identify frauds, take sides, argue, shape the world and prevent it from falling asleep.”

This is what the verse of Khakar is doing.

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