‘Shav Vahini Ganga’ irks Gujarat Sahitya Akademi; sharers termed ‘literary naxals’

The poem penned by Gujarati poet Parul Khakhar is a critique on the suspected bodies of COVID-19 patients floating in the Ganges in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, and has been widely shared

During COVID’s brutal second wave, hundreds of bodies were found floating in the Ganga | File Photo

The corpses spoke in one voice : “All is well, sab kuchh changa-changa”

Lord, in your ideal realm the hearse is now the Ganga

Lord, your crematoriums are too few; fewer the wood for pyres

Lord, our pall-bearers are too few, fewer yet the mourners…

These are the translated lines of the poem Shav Vahini Ganga written by Gujarati Poet Parul Khakhar that have created a ripples in the literary society. The poem which is a critique on the suspected bodies of COVID-19 patients found floating in river Ganga in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, has been panned in an editorial in the June edition of Gujarat Sahitya Akademi’s official publication Shabdashrushti.

Although the editorial did not make a direct reference to Shav Vahini Ganga, it termed the poem a “pointless angst expressed in a state of agitation” while calling people sharing it as “literary Naxals”.

Also read: Panic in Bihar as after bodies found floating in river Ganges

The 14-line poem posted by Khakhar on her Facebook page on May 11 has been translated into several languages and widely shared.

According to Indian Express, Sahitya Akademi’s chairperson Vishnu Pandya, has confirmed writing the editorial. In the write-up, Pandya says the poem has been misused by those against the Centre and its nationalist ideology.

“The said poem has been used as a shoulder to fire from such elements who have started a conspiracy, whose commitment is not to India but to something else, who are Leftist, so-called liberals, to whom nobody pays any attention…Such people want to quickly spread chaos in India and create anarchy…They are active on all fronts and in the same way they have jumped into literature with dirty intentions. The purpose of these literary Naxals is to influence a section of people who would relate their own grief and happiness to this,” the editorial originally written in Gujarati says.

Stating that he has no personal grudge against the poet, Pandya told Indian Express that the poem lacks essence and is not qualified to be called poetry.

“There is no essence of poetry in it and neither it is the proper way to pen down poetry. This could be merely venting out one’s anger or frustration, and it is being misused by liberals, anti-Modi, anti-BJP and anti-Sangh (RSS) elements,” he said.

Read the full poem here:

(English translation by Rita and Abhijit Kothari)

The corpses spoke in one voice : “All is well, sab kuchh changa-changa”

Lord, in your ideal realm the hearse is now the Ganga

Lord, your crematoriums are too few; fewer the wood for pyres

Lord, our pall-bearers are too few, fewer yet the mourners

Lord, in every home Yama performs the dance macabre

Lord, in your ideal realm the hearse is now the Ganga

Lord, your smoke belching chimneys now seek respite

Lord, our bangles are shattered, shattered are our hearts

The fiddle plays while the towns are ablaze, “Wah, Billa-Ranga”

Lord, in your ideal realm the hearse is now the Ganga

Lord, your clothes are divine, divine is your radiance

Lord, the town entire sees you in your true form

If there be a real man here, come forward and say

“The emperor has no clothes”

Lord, in your ideal realm the hearse is now the Ganga.

 

 

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