The true spirit of delight, the exaltation, the sense of being more than Man, which is the touchstone of the highest excellence, is to be found in mathematics as surely as poetry, opines Bertrand Russell. For Albert Einstein, pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas. What happens when a mathematician pens poems?
सत्य को बरतना कभी भी नहीं रहा सहज
लेकिन काल की गति ऐसी है कि अब इसे देखना
दीठ में चमकते झीने तार की तरह दुर्लभ है
This is Sudhanshu Firdaus. A researcher in mathematics. He is trying to interpret real-life problems regarding cracks in materials as mathematical equations. But in poetry, he finds it almost impossible to explore, exhibit or express truth for the present swings such a way. The material physicality of his subject in research turns into a magnificent traumatic expression of the reality in his poems. He underlines:
बेध्यानी में खारिज़ करता समग्र जीवन-संघर्ष
Displacement and migration are hallmarks of history, but the tragedies inherent in this flow are just too heavy to carry on. Sudhanshu is a migrant. He caresses this pain. No wonder, he makes Kalidas and Mir his companions in this endeavour.
एकाकी ही रहता है
But he longs for return.
No one returns from a city. It is an inferno. Either you are burnt and simply lost. The poet in Sudhanshu tries to reconcile with this.
किसी पूर्वजन्म की स्मृति लगती हैं
At times the melancholic devastation is very much evident in his lines. However, the voices of tenderness, love and surroundings are never absent. ‘दरवाजे बंद हैं / बंद हैं खिड़कियाँ / जनपद में इन दिनों / भय का उत्सव है’, but our poet is not running away.
कहता हूं जला दी है मैंने अपनी नौका
मिटाता आया हूँ अपने पदचिह्न
पीछे हटने का रखा नहीं विकल्प
He wanders in the past or his own place from he has departed from. Not to locate his present, but to register it in an intense way. Sudhanshu offers a profound tribute to his past, our past. He knocks the door of Kalidasa. He peeps into the later years of Mir Taqi Mir. He is romantic. He is classical. But he has not forgotten the ‘rustic’ Bhojpuri. He intends to compose 100 poems in the language of his people.
When much of contemporary Hindi poetry, particularly practiced by the young ones, has become a jarring word-play with little sensibility and lots of frustration and shallowness, the whisper of Sudhanshu brightens the sphere. And it is disturbing to the core too. As his ’72 नश्तरोंवाला’ favourite poet has uttered:
आह जिस वक़्त सर उठाती है
अर्श पर बर्छियाँ चलाती है