Poetry

October 10, 2017 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Reuters photo

 

By

Satis Shroff

 

 

 

A pantoum poem is a poem of any length, composed of four-line stanzas. In each stanza, the second and fourth lines of each stanza, serve as the first and third lines of the next stanza.

 

 

 

Gorkhaland Blues

 

 

Early in the misty monsoon morning,

A Gorkhali meets a Bengali,

Below the statue of Bhanubhakta Acharya,

At Darjeeling’s Chowrasta.

 

A Gorkhali meets a Bengali,

The Bengali doesn’t like the Adi Kavi

At Darjeeling’s Chowrasta.

The prime poet of the Gorkhalis.

 

The Bengali doesn’t like the Adi Kavi

Why do you have your poet here,

The prime poet of the Gorkhalis.

Why not also Tagore?

 

Why do you have your poet here?

The Gorkhali says,’ Tagore belongs to Shantiniketan.’

Why not also Tagore?

East Bengal belonged to ancient Bengal.

 

The Gorkhali says,’ Tagore belongs to Shantiniketan.’

East Bengal belonged to ancient Bengal.

But it turned into East Bengal overnight in 1947.

You Bengalis had nothing in common

 

But it turned into East Bengal overnight in 1947.

With the Muslims of East Pakistan

You Bengalis had nothing in common

Freedom from Pakistan led to Bangladesh.

 

With the Muslims of East Pakistan.

We in the hills of Darjeeling,

Freedom from Pakistan led to Bangladesh.

Want freedom from Bengal.

 

We in the hills of Darjeeling,

We want our own Gorkhaland.

Want freedom from Bengal.

‘But Gorkhaland lies in Bengal,’ says the Bengali.

 

We want our own Gorkhaland.

What do you have in common with us Gorkhalis?

‘But Gorkhaland lies in Bengal,’ says the Bengali.

The Bengali replies: ‘We have the same religion.’

 

What do you have in common with us Gorkhalis?

Ah, but nothing else. You eat fish, we eat dal-bhat-shikar.

The Bengali replies: ‘We have the same religion

We fought for our Nepali language.

 

Ah, but nothing else. You eat fish, we eat dal-bhat-shikar

It has been recognised as one of the languages of India.

We fought for our Nepali language.

The Bengali retorts with gleaming eyes:

 

It has been recognised as one of the languages of India.

 ‘Tagore got the Nobel Prize.’

The Bengali retorts with gleaming eyes:

We are fighting for our Gorkhali identity.

 

‘Tagore got the Nobel Prize.’

Neither do you speak our tongue nor do you read Nepali literature.

We are fighting for our Gorkhali identity.

You read your own books and watch your own Bengali films.

 

Neither do you speak our tongue nor do you read Nepali literature.

We read Bhanubhakta, Bangdel and Devkota.

You read your own books and watch your own Bengali films.

You have usurped our land,

 

We read Bhanubhakta, Bangdel and Devkota

You have usurped our land,

And have become rich and arrogant in the process.

The monoculture Thea sinensis was planted

 

And have become rich and arrogant in the process

By the Nepalese migrants under the British Raj.

The monoculture Thea sinensis was planted

The plantations are not owned by Gorkhalis but Bengalis.

 

By the Nepalese migrants under the British Raj.

The migrants from Bengal have done in Darjeeling,

The plantations are not owned by Gorkhalis but Bengalis.

What the Han Chinese have done in Lhasa.

 

The migrants from Bengal have done in Darjeeling,

You have taken our jobs away: the teaching profession,

What the Han Chinese have done in Lhasa.

Administrative jobs all run by brown Bengali babus.

 

You have taken our jobs away: the teaching profession

‘We are better qualified, perhaps,‘ says the Bengali.

Administrative jobs all run by brown Bengali babus.

Qualification takes time and money.

 

‘We are better qualified, perhaps,‘ says the Bengali.

The only legacy and pride left to us is our brawn,

Qualification takes time and money.

As soldiers under foreign flags and India’s Gorkha regiments.

 

The only legacy and pride left to us is our brawn,

Where is the liberty, equality and fraternity

As soldiers under foreign flags and India’s Gorkha regiments.

Guaranteed by the biggest democracy in the world?

 

Where is the liberty, equality and fraternity?

Had Darjeeling been reverted to Sikkim we’d be well off,

Guaranteed by the biggest democracy in the world,

As the Sikkimese are today under Central rule.

 

Had Darjeeling been reverted to Sikkim we’d be well off,

What have you Bengalis brought to us besides poverty and misery?

As the Sikkimese are today under Central rule.

The railways, roads and telegraph were introduced by the Brits,

 

What have you Bengalis brought to us besides poverty and misery?

The three leaves and a bud were planted by the English.

The railways, roads and telegraph were introduced by the Brits,

The entire administrative jobs were kept by the Bengalis.

 

The three leaves and a bud were planted by the English.

The Gorkhalis transferred to jobs in the plains.

The entire administrative jobs were kept by the Bengalis

How can you say Darjeeling belongs to Bengal?

 

The Gorkhalis transferred to jobs in the plains

The bespectacled Bengali Minister Namata Mukerjee,

How can you say Darjeeling belongs to Bengal?

Warns the Gorkhalis with a raised index-finger,

 

The bespectacled Bengali Minister Namata Mukerjee

Delays development in Darjeeling deliberately,

Warns the Gorkhalis with a raised index-finger,

Demands more troops from Delhi,

 

Delays development in Darjeeling deliberately,

Instead of solving Gorkhaland’s people’s demands.

Demands more troops from Delhi,

Please read the history of Sikkim and Darjeeling.

 

Instead of solving Gorkhaland’s people’s demands.

Please read the story of Sikkim and Darjeeling.

We never belonged to Bengal in history.

We never belonged to Bengal in history.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Satis Shroff

Satis Shroff is based in Freiburg (poems, fiction, non-fiction) and has studied Zoology and Botany in Nepal, Medicine and Social Sciences in Germany and Creative Writing in Freiburg and the United Kingdom. He describes himself as a mediator between western and eastern cultures and sees his future as a writer and poet. Since literature is one of the most important means of cross-cultural learning, he is dedicated to promoting and creating awareness for Creative Writing and transcultural togetherness in his writings, and in preserving an attitude of Miteinander in this world.

He lectures in Basle (Switzerland) and in Germany at the Academy for Medical Professions (University Klinikum Freiburg), VHS-Freiburg, VHS-Dreisamtal. He has also worked at the Center for Key Qualifications University of Freiburg, as a Lehrbeauftragter for Creative Writing and Scientific English. Satis Shroff received the Pablo Neruda Award 2017 as well as the German Academic Exchange Prize. He was awarded the Social Engagement Prize of Green City Freiburg and was nominated by Stadt Freiburg for the German Social Engagement Prize 2011 in Berlin.

Editor review

1 Comment

  1. satisshroff2015 October 21, at 13:53

    The people of the Darjeeling hills are struggling for their rights under the Bengal government which has been ignoring them and treating them badly by using police forces to keep down peaceful demonstrations. The Gorhkhaland people want to be ruled by the Central government, like Sikkim, as they will benefit more than under the miserly Bengal government. The government in Caltutta (Kolkotta) is only interested in promoting its own ethnic Bengalis. That's the reason. The Gorkhali language was recognised by the Centre in Delhi and now they want more legimate rights. Do read the poem in the above-mentioned site 'Tuck Magazine' and you'll have an idea of what's going on in that part of the world. Thank you.

    Reply

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