Saturday, September 12, 2009

Christopher Columbus, Shiv Kumar Batalvi, and I

Two months ago while looking for a poem by Amrita Pritam on YouTube I chanced upon the poetry of Shiv Kumar Batalvi. The teeth haven’t stopped spilling out of my mouth since then. I feel like Christopher Columbus must have felt after discovering America. Silly man. He set off for someplace, reached someplace else and thought he had discovered it! Never mind that it had always existed and had long been home to races older and wiser than his. It is the same with me and SKB. I can’t get over the thrill of discovering him, notwithstanding the fact that his poetry has been around in this world for longer than I have been here.

They say the end of all exploration is the finding of oneself. I don’t know if Christopher Columbus, alighting off the Santa Maria found his own essential humanity mirrored in some Red Indian chief’s eyes. But I do know, as I embark upon this journey to transcreate as much as I can of Shiv Batalvi’s poetry into English, that a whole continent of resonance awaits me.

1 comment:

  1. What a great poet!SKB, After Sanjay Leela bhansali the best movie director of india ,if someone artistic work inspired me then that is SKB....I am a writer and oing to writer some dramas for SKB.....can you help me in this case...
    I am from Pakistan....islamabd...want to work for betterment of Punjabi language Promotion