Gujarati Poet Parul Khakkar Blames 'Naked King' for Corpses Floating in the Ganga

NB: Thank you Parulben for reminding us of the humanity and decency of the Indian people. No matter how much abuse and how many threats are hurled at you, remember that you speak and write for all suffering people. We are with you. Charan-sparsh. DS

दया धर्म का मूल है पाप मूल अभिमान, तुलसी दया न छोडिये जब तक घट में प्राण

Top Gujarati Poet Blames 'Naked King' Modi for Corpses Floating in the Ganga

A poet from Gujarat once hailed as “the next big icon of Gujarati poetry” by right-leaning litterateurs in the state, has become the latest target of the BJP IT cell’s troll army for a powerful poem she has written on the sufferings of Indians as the Union government grossly mismanages the second wave of the pandemic. Parul Khakkar’s poem titled Shabvahini Ganga, which she posted in her social media account on May 11, is a short but powerful satire in Gujarati that describes Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a ‘naked king’ ruling a ‘Ram Rajya’ (kingdom of gods) where the sacred Ganga serves as a ‘hearse’ for corpses.

The 14-line poem was promptly translated into at least six languages, becoming the voice of all Indians who are saddened by the tragedies wrought by the pandemic and angered by the government’s aloofness and mismanagement of the situation. Writer Mrinal Pande is all praise for Khakkar’s poem. So is Manishi Jani, who had been the president of the Navnirman Andolan which, in 1973-74, had managed to oust Chimanbhai Patel, the then chief minister of Gujarat, on charges of corruption. The Navnirman Andolan had been praised by freedom fighter and political leader Jayaprakash Narayan for its originality, raw energy and creativity. But the BJP’s army of trolls has also sprung into action, attacking Khakkar with its usual barrage of abuse and misogyny.

Poet of truths: Written in the language that Narendra Modi, the ‘naked king’, knows best, by a poet from the state where ‘Ram Rajya’ first began two decades ago, Khakkar’s poem speaks truth to power. Describing a regime where the king’s aloofness to the citizens of his country has been exposed and there is helplessness, poverty and mismanagement all around, the poem hits out not only at the government, but also at the mainstream media, the opposition political parties and others as they choose to remain silent and spineless under the reign of the ‘naked king’.... read more..

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A Call for National Mourning and a Proposal for a National Government

‘Stand by the poet’ : Two days after Khakkar posted her Shabvahini Ganga poem, pro-BJP trolls announced that the poet had removed the poem from her Facebook page. However, The Wire can confirm that the poem is very much there, although since her account is now private, it can only be seen by Khakkar’s friends. And Khakkar’s friends say she is certain that she will not withdraw it.

Meanwhile, the Gujarati Lekhak Mandal (writers’ forum), consisting of more than one thousand writers and poets of Gujarat, has spoken out in support of the poet who has dared to speak up. Manishi Jani, president of the Gujarati Lekhak Mandal and former president of the Navnirman Andolan, issued a communiqué to the forum on May 13 that subtly referred to the BJP IT cell trolls.

 “Parul Khakkar is being inundated with abuses and excessive trolling for her poem. Social media is full of certain people systematically targeting her in abusive language and forcing her to cage her expressions,” the communiqué said. “The Lekhak Mandal criticises this and the efforts of a lobby to curtail the creator’s freedom of expression.” Jani and Manhar Oza, the secretary of the Gujarati Lekhak Mandal, have also started the social media trend of #ISupportParulKhakkar and appealed to every Indian to stand by her....

The original Gujarati

એક અવાજે મડદાં બોલ્યાં સબ કુછ ચંગા-ચંગા
રાજતમારા રામરાજ્યમાં શબવાહિની ગંગા.
રાજતમારા મસાણ ખૂટયાખૂટયા લક્કડભારા,
રાજઅમારા ડાઘૂ ખૂટયાખૂટયા રોવણહારા,
ઘરેઘરે જઈ જમડાંટોળી કરતી નાચ કઢંગા
રાજતમારા રામરાજ્યમાં શબવાહિની ગંગા.
રાજતમારી ધગધગ ધૂણતી ચીમની પોરો માંગે,
રાજઅમારી ચૂડલી ફૂટેધડધડ છાતી ભાંગે
બળતું જોઈ ફીડલ વગાડે વાહ રે બિલ્લા-રંગા’!
રાજતમારા રામરાજ્યમાં શબવાહિની ગંગા.
રાજતમારા દિવ્ય વસ્ત્ર ને દિવ્ય તમારી જ્યોતિ
રાજતમોને અસલી રૂપે આખી નગરી જોતી
હોય મરદ તે આવી બોલો  ‘રાજા મેરા નંગા
રાજતમારા રામરાજ્યમાં શબવાહિની ગંગા.

Hindi translation by Ilyas Sheikh

एक साथ सब मुर्दे बोले सब कुछ चंगा-चंगा
साहेब तुम्हारे रामराज में शव-वाहिनी गंगा

ख़त्म हुए शमशान तुम्हारेख़त्म काष्ठ की बोरी
थके हमारे कंधे सारेआँखें रह गई कोरी
दर-दर जाकर यमदूत खेले
मौत का नाच बेढंगा
साहेब तुम्हारे रामराज में शव-वाहिनी गंगा

नित लगातार जलती चिताएँ
राहत माँगे पलभर
नित लगातार टूटे चूड़ियाँ
कुटती छाति घर घर
देख लपटों को फ़िडल बजाते वाह रे बिल्ला-रंगा
साहेब तुम्हारे रामराज में शव-वाहिनी गंगा

साहेब तुम्हारे दिव्य वस्त्रदैदीप्य तुम्हारी ज्योति
काश असलियत लोग समझतेहो तुम पत्थरना मोती
हो हिम्मत तो आके बोलो
मेरा साहेब नंगा
साहेब तुम्हारे रामराज में शव-वाहिनी गंगा

English translation by Salil Tripathi

Don’t worry, be happy, in one voice speak the corpses
O King, in your Ram-Rajya, we see bodies flow in the Ganges

O King, the woods are ashes,
No spots remain at crematoria,
O King, there are no carers,
Nor any pall-bearers,
No mourners left
And we are bereft
With our wordless dirges of dysphoria

Libitina enters every home where she dances and then prances,
O King, in your Ram-Rajya, our bodies flow in the Ganges

O King, the melting chimney quivers, the virus has us shaken
O King, our bangles shatter, our heaving chest lies broken

The city burns as he fiddles, Billa-Ranga thrust their lances,
O King, in your Ram-Rajya, I see bodies flow in the Ganges

O King, your attire sparkles as you shine and glow and blaze
O King, this entire city has at last seen your real face

Show your guts, no ifs and buts,
Come out and shout and say it loud,
“The naked King is lame and weak”
Show me you are no longer meek,
Flames rise high and reach the sky, the furious city rages;
O King, in your Ram-Rajya, do you see bodies flow in the Ganges?

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