Sarojini Sahoo: Translations by Jagadish Mohanty

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Born in 1956, Dr. Sarojini Sahoo earned her Masters and PhD degrees in Oriya Literature, and a Bachelor of Law degree from Utkal University. She teaches at a degree college in Belpahar, Jharsuguda, Orissa, India. A distinguished South Asian feminist writer Sarojini is also an associate editor of an English journal Indian Age, and a member of the advisory board of Indian Journal of Post Colonial Literature, published from the English Department of Newman College, Thodupuzah, Kerala. She has been enlisted among 25 Exceptional Women of India by ‘Kindle’, an English magazine from Kolkata, and has received the Orissa Sahitya Academy Award in 1993. She has written many novels, short stories and poems. Gambhiri Ghara (The Dark Abode) is one of the most acclaimed novels of Sarojini Sahoo. Her books of essays Sensible Sensuality has also received much praise from her readers and critics. Sarojini Sahoo married the veteran Oriya writer Jagdish Mohantey. Her other awards include Jhankar Award, Bhubaneswar Book Fair Award and the Prajatantra Award.

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Jagdish MohantyBIO

Jagadish Mohanty (17 February 1951 – 29 December 2013) is a renowned Oriya writer, considered as a trendsetter in modern Oriya fiction, has received the prestigious Sarala Award 2003, Orissa Sahitya Akademy Award 1990, Jhankar Award, 1985 Dharitri Award, Prajatantra Award. Born in Gorumahishani, Mayurbhanj in northern periphery of Orissa, he spent more than 30 years of his life working in the coal mines, but he is mainly known for his writings and contributions to the mainstream Oriya literature and culture. Indian feminist writer Sarojini Sahoo is his wife.
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दांपत्य

हम दोनों बैठे थे चुपचाप
दिन बीता, साँझ हुई
साँझ बीती, रात हुई
पंछी लौट चले अपने घोंसले में
चाँद निकलने वाला था,
हमें मालूम न था
शुक्लपक्ष था या कृष्णपक्ष था .

हम दोनों बैठे थे चुपचाप
चारों तरफ सरीसृप,कीडे-मकोडे घेरे हुए थे हमें
लता-गुल्मों की तरह,
उस ओर हमारी नज़र न थी
अँधेरा गहराता गया,
और अब एक-दूसरे को देखना भी संभव न था.

फिर भी दोनों बैठे रहे, चुपचाप
क्योंकि एक की साँस दूसरी की पहचान थी.
हम बैठे थे
ओंस भिगाती गई,
कुहासा ढंकता गया,
पावों से हम जमते गए,
बर्फ बनने के पहले देखा,
किसी ने मेरी हथेली पर अपना हाथ रखा.


A CONJUGAL VIGNETTE

As we sat quiet, the two of us,
the day passed, dusk fell,
birds returned to their nests
and the night set in.
We waited without caring
if there would be darkness
or a moonlit night.

We sat quiet
as strange creatures
surrounded us like foliage;
but we didn’t look at them.
It grew darker still
until we couldn’t see each other.

We sat silent
without exchanging a single word,
but we could feel each other’s breathing.
We continued to sit
as dew fell
and mist gathered around us.
And then I felt my feet freezing.
But before I could turn into ice,
someone placed his hand on mine.

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कौए

तुम क्यों बुला रहे हो? मैं तो छोड़ चुकी हूँ कबसे
चूल्हे-चौके का संसार, नहीं देख रहे हो,
अब मेरी मुठ्ठी में है मेरे पायल
मुझे और क्या अच्छा लग रहा है
जाडों की सुबह में नहाना
काजल सिंदूर लगाना?
मुझे घर-बार से क्या?
मुझे क्या लेना संन्यास-फन्यास?
जो जब ढूंढे, मैं उसकी बन जाऊं,यही तो आस है.

वही तो मैं बता रही थी,
कि गिद्धों के पीछे-पीछे कौए चले गए,
और सुबह दिखाई नहीं देते छत पर
छह महीने पहले,
सोनमणि कि दुकान के सामने,
बासी पकौडे खा रहा था,
कि अगर मैं उसकी भाषा जानती तो जरुर पूछ लेती
कहाँ है उसका गाँव, उसकी जमीन, रिश्ते-नाते
कब कैसे खोए,कहाँ सब गए?
मणि साहू का बेटा रेवती नंदन
उस दिन खूब रोया था
मैंने कितना ढूंडा गलियों में और हारकर बच्चों कि किताबों से
दिखलाया उसे कौआ तो हंस-हंसकर पेट फूला.
इत्ते से जीव को इतनी प्यास लगी
कि चिलचिलाती धुप में कितनी नौटंकी की.
जंग लगे पिंजरे थे घर में,
अगर कौआ अघोरी न होता,
उसे बोलती रह जा, खाली पडा है
पर अधखाए पकौडे छोड़ वह उड़ गया
जा बैठा मणिआ बाबा के आश्रम के खंभे पर,
एक पैर पर बैठे-बैठे ताकता रहा.

इतना गुरुर मत कर,
तेरा क्या लेना-देना संन्यास-फन्यास से?
एक-आध कहीं अटक गए हो,
द्दश्कर्म तक मेरा भाई कितना परेशान रहा
पिंड पडा रहा अस्थि के पास.


CROWS

“Why do you call me?
Can’t you see that I have left behind
my small domestic world ?
I have my anklets in my hand;
I have no need
of baths in winter mornings,
or of wearing kajal and sindur.
Nor do I have desire for sannyas.
I want to become only his
whoever seeks and desires me.”

Now even crows are not to be seen;
they have flown away with the vultures.
Sometime back,
eating at Sona Mani’s roadside eatery
I had asked him:
where is your village?
what about your land?
who are your relatives?
when did you lose them all?

Mani Sahu’s son Rebati Nadan was crying
and I searched in the pavements
At last I had to console him with a crow’s picture
in a children’s book.
He burst out laughing.
The silly creature!
Felt so thirsty?
Made so much drama in the blazing sun. ?

There was a cage in my house
If the crow were not a bohemian
I would ask him to stay in that cage.

Running away from bits of leftover food
it now sits on the column
in front of the Mania Baba’s ashram,
as if in meditation!

You should never think of running away.
What need do you have of sannyas?
It is only a fleeting phase.
Do you know ,
how my brother kept worrying for you
during my father’s funeral rites
even as the soul hovered
over the charred bones on the pyre?

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NOTE: These poems originally written n Oriya are translated in to Hindi and English both by Jagdish Mohanty.

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