Kalpna Singh-Chitnis


Kalpna Singh-Chitnis is a bilingual, Indo-American poet, writer and filmmaker based in California, USA. Author of the “Bare Soul” (a poetry collection in English) and three poetry collections in Hindi, she won the prestigious “Bihar Rajbhasha Award” (1986-87) given by the government of Bihar, India, for her first poetry collection “Chand Ka Paivand” (Patch of Moon) before age 21, and the title of ‘Bihar Shri’ (Jewel of Bihar) in 1988. She also received “Rajiv Gandhi Global Excellence Award” in 2014 in New Delhi, for her contributions to literature and film at national and international levels. Kalpna’s poetry collections “Chand Ka Paivand,” (Patch of Moon) “Tafteesh Jari Hai” (The Investigation Continues) and “Nishant” (The Dawn) have received praise from eminent writers, scholars and critics such as Nobel prize nominees Dr. Wazir Agha, Naseer Ahmad Nasir, Vaptsarov Award and Ordre des Arts et des Lettres winner poet Amrita Pritam, Academy Award winning lyricist, poet and filmmaker Gulzar and others. Kalpna’s literary works have been widely published in the Indian Subcontinent, Europe and North America. She is the creator and editor of “Life and Legends”, a multilingual literary magazine and contributing editor of Levure litteraire in Paris, France, where she was nominated for “HONOR OF YEAST LITTERAIRE” in 2014. Known for her feature film “Goodbye My Friend” and “Girl With An Accent” she is currently working on her next film “Dancing in the Rain” (based on a true story), to raise awareness about the issue of honor killing in Indian sub-continent and Mid-East. More about Kalpna Singh-Chitnis at – www.kalpnasinghchitnis.com







Dhondup Wangchen was released today,
and everything inside him
was an ocean of tears.

How would it be like
to dive in this ocean,
and come out with a conch that can tell
what resounds in the heart of an empty shell?

How would it be like
to sleep in the cover of darkness,
not knowing,
when the sun will appear in the sky?

How would it be like to become none,
for wanting to be one,
who they are?

I can only imagine the darkness
and dampness of their prison,
setting many of them on fire, in the streets…

How would it be like, to be Thubten Ngodrup,
Ngawang Choephel, Dhondup Wangchen?

And many others…
Who didn’t return home?






In harsh winters,
they sobbed silently at nights…

and when it rained,
they shed their tears, not to be seen by anyone…

they washed their bloodstains from their bodies,
without touching the rain,

and imagined the rolling clouds taking their messages home,
that they could never write from the prison.

Standing all day, in the naked sun,
without any food or water,
they survived all on their tattered hopes.

They became a symbol of both empathy and cruelty,

but could never become one,
they wanted for themselves!






Dear friend,
you must speak.

I know,
silences can be louder than a thousand words,

but when all our books and scriptures are burned,
and the words born from the wombs of our mothers, are massacred on the streets,
and every song, that our ancestors sang and wrote, is now muted,
you must have a voice!

A voice that can be heard by all.

Only a voice, can be heard by everyone,
friends or enemies…

They may close their eyes and choose not to see,
what’s written on the forehead of time,
to deny a future that we must have…

but our voices,
even our enemies can’t resist!

So speak dear friend, you must speak,
so that you can heal…
and the world can share your burdens,
that you have been carrying all alone,

for so long.



“Poems for Tibet are dedicated to my friend Ngawang Choephel, Dhondup Wangchen and many others who have faced political imprisonment in China, and are fighting for the human rights in Tibet. These poems are also a tribute to the victims of self-immolation and died for the cause of Tibet.”  ~ Kalpna Singh-Chitnis.



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