ગાંધીજી વિરૂદ્ધ ગુરુદેવ/પરિશિષ્ટ૨
(૨૦૦૫માં ટોરંટો, કેનેડામાં એક પરિસંવાદમાં ભાગ લેવા વિલિયમ રેદિચી ગયા હતા ત્યારે મોડી પડેલી ફ્લાઈટને કારણે રાત્રે જાગતા રહેલા. તે સમયે રવીન્દ્રનાથ સાથે કરેલો કાવ્યમય સંવાદ)
TALKING AT NIGHT TO RABINDRANATH with thanks to jet-lag
by William Radice
Toronto 12 November 2005
What would you say, Rabindranath,
If you could take some magic path
And join us in Toronto?
Don’t tell me, please, that you are dead!
Speak as I lie awake in bed:
Answer me, Rabi, pronto.
What would you now regard as best?
The world you wanted in one nest
On red earth and khoyai,
Or all of us mixing willy-nilly
In Rome, Times Square or Piccadilly,
L.A., Tianmen, Mumbai?
What best for your sweet Bangla tongue?
To be just spoken, read and sung
Jol-pothe, sthole, ghate,
Or part of the babble we now hear
In cities if we cock our ear,
Sipping our Coke or latte?
Would you, Rabi, fear and grieve
That bhodrolok should now believe
Their children’s future safer
If in their sandwiches they stick
Maths, science and English layered thick
With Bangla just a wafer?
That from the best ingreji schools
Pour forth the bright who yet are fools
Faced by your sadhu bhasha?
Would rage compelling you to start
A school with a swadeshi heart
Be now, today, still harsher?
Or would you thrill at seeing how
Translators labour now to plough
A field where each short story
Or poem of yours can grow and bloom
In speech you too tried to assume
But not with lasting glory?
You didn’t have a means to beam
The light of your Rabindric dream
To each and every corner.
Would you now, at the global way
English can give your sun new day,
Be gladder or forlorner?
Would you be sure your songs would thrive
As once you hoped they would – survive
When your great Rochonaboli
Is just wall-cover, like the shelves
Of nick-nacks telling deshi selves
Ekhane-o amra bangali?
If all your songs were only known
By those who from their birth had grown
To wheezing of harmonium,
And noticed not (the sound seemed cosier)
How new artistes made songs not rosier
But garish pandemonium?
Or would you have observed how when
A great composer travels, then
(Beethoven in Beijing,
Puccini in New York, John Lennon
Everywhere) can shine and burgeon
The songs he meant to sing –
Whose sounds he nijodeshe learnt
But whose creative fire burnt
With longing to speak to all?
If just one people sings those songs
In style that just to them belongs
What petals then can fall,
What fruits from the tree of genius
Can lie in the hands of each of us,
Bangali or obangali?
Would you, Rabindranath, have wanted
Your songs in just one soil cemented
Or roving digitally
Across this internetted world,
This new Kurukshetra where is hurled
No victory spear unless
It targets world-wide excellence,
Lets others judge the truth and sense
Of what your works express?
Which world can better – yours or ours –
Remove the national gates and bars
You wanted to dispel?
Could Visva-Bharati ever have done
What here in Toronto with such fun
This conference does so well?
Could Sriniketan ever gain
Relief from poverty and pain,
From want and hunger that,
If every narrow domestic wall
Can, as it must, decay and fall,
Our age will best combat?
You stood for freedom from all fear,
For heads held high, and vision clear.
Are we now edging closer
To all you hoped for? Tell me now,
Speak from the dark, please bend, please bow
Your noble head and whisper
An answer to my jet-lagged plea:
From where you are, can you now see
The straight, unfettered path
That in your songs, time out of mind,
You sought but could not wholly find?
Tell me, Rabindranath!
Have you attained the total view,
The purnota which we, like you,
Must grope for, bit by bit?
I lie in bed; you do not speak.
Out of the dark, a bath-tap leak
Is all (I must admit)
I hear from you: it drips, it drops,
It seems to say, ‘Your fears and flops
Are yours to fix, not mine.
I gave you questions, not replies,
No more than at its first sunrise
My Rabi gave a sign –
Or at its last descent, to where
I too now rest in quieter air
And even darker night
Than is the dark outside your room,
Where you, like I, must in the gloom
Search for your own light.’
It’s half-past six. Soon I must rise,
And shave, and bathe my bleary eyes:
The conference starts at nine.
The drip of the tap will stay with me
As speakers, listeners, clash, agree:
‘Your world,’ it says, ‘not mine.’
Yet none would to this meeting-place
Have come if, free of time and space,
A poet were not speaking:
‘Keep on, keep trying, I did no more,
I merely made, to love and adore,
Images of my seeking –
Poems of beauty, songs of joy,
Rhymes for the learning girl or boy,
Questions, never replies.
Don’t worry if you don’t know me yet:
When all solutions have been met,
That day my spirit dies.’
Enough! It’s time to wash, get up,
Or maybe fill my coffee-cup
Once more before I dress.
There’s love in knowing no answer! May
Rabi that truth to us convey
And this our conference bless.