This is the first time when you do not feel like saying anything big about the death of a loved one. The height of Kedarnath Singh’s body was also light. He was very fluid, poignant, informal and lively as he grew up.
Due to the fluidity and lightness, where he used to reach, no man fed by knowledge, publicity and sponsored perceptions can reach. Even if he is really a poet.
Really, it seems necessary to say here because these days the poetry of poetry is spread on the pages of Facebook and magazines. There is a plethora of plastic poets and poets who make desperate efforts to aggressively place their own photos in the memory of people, rather than saying something useful.
The last meeting with Kedarnath Singh took place two years ago at a hotel in Nakhalau, which was ordered to be demolished after declaring it illegal. The rooms were rooms but all were empty. Beira’s work was being taken as a fee from a poor rickshaw-maker in the parking space.
The light was burning in a room alone in which he stayed. Like it was the scene of a live film in which a poet stood in the midst of the domination of Fareb, Tikadam, Gundagardi and injustice, who had a yearning:
What to do?
What to do if I feel that I am from these,
I belong to them, that is where my people are,
Those I power in poetry /
And this is what I will never read.
Those who would never read them were the ones who would have built this hotel after being threatened and lured and eventually forcibly evicted from their homes. This slightly late film showed the real place of poets and poetry in our society made up of a combination of peculiarities.
In that meeting, he was not talking about his Acharya Hazari Prasad Dwivedi’s scholarship but about how to wake his disciple from sleep. Acharya woke him up on foot with a skull skirting despite the rush of catching the car one morning.
He knew the difference between a towel and a towel that comes up in a poem like this:
You are drying in Hindi, dried up,
I nap in english
In his poetry, both the chic and artistic height of the folk meet together. It seems very easy to move from language to life and from life to language but it is a rare thing. Usually, the poet either starts writing slogans or spends time being sold as an artisan in the language.
The Bhojpuri dialect was proud for them, for me it was a cause of fear and weakness. I know it strangely. I went to the North-East at a time when the militants of the ULFA (United Liberation Front of Ahom) were carrying out the killings of the Hindi speakers of UP and Bihar.
Ideally, these people were not Bhojpuria speaking Hindi. In those days, I used to introduce myself like this – Our name is Anil Yadav … Then I was afraid that I should not be recognized due to Bhojpuria tone. I used to get annoyed with myself that I force myself to introduce myself on behalf of so many people.
Later, reading his poem “Bhojpuri”, it was known that it was a thing of pride:
Long before the birth of democracy,
It is a vibrant sound democracy,
In a small “we”,
You can hear
Flashes of millions of ‘I’.
It was not known then that one day the poem of Kedarnath Singh of Ballia will introduce me to his Ghazipuria roots in this way.
How does a common man know a poet? This is an Ashtavakra type of question because most of the poets in Hindi get as much information about the universe from Google but do not know anything about themselves because they hide behind huge words. Then the reader does not believe both the poet and the poem. This can be done with the publishers who are running away from printing poetry books nowadays.
But there is something else about Kedarnath Singh. If people read them, they can find themselves in fear and shame:
I am irritated by the police station,
I tear apart the police station,
I point to that,
Where there is no police station.
A lot is being said about globalization, markets and separation from nature, but which poet has said about the relationship between man and nature:
Market does not come in the middle,
And once we,
Meet rice secretly,
Mix with salt, mint,
How about once only… once.
The departure of Kedarnath Singh is the breaking of the bridge between the people and politics. It will be difficult to forget them even after wanting them because their poems are in the organicness of man. His primitive habits will flow for many days.