Sudhanshu Firdaus : The Young Bard of Trauma

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:

बहुत व्यस्त और निर्मम समालोचक है समय

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.

लेना ही पड़ता है कालिदास को एक न एक दिन संन्यास

‘ऋतुसंहार’ से ‘अभिज्ञान शाकुंतलम्’ तक आते-आते वह मांग ही लेता है मुक्ति

नंदीग्राम के त्याग का उज्जैन के त्याग से होता है उपसंहार

मल्लिका का सान्निध्य हो या प्रियंगुमंजरी का सहवास

विरह हो या संसर्ग एकाकी कालिदास

एकाकी ही रहता है

But he longs for return.

घर की याद में बेकल हैं प्रवासी परिंदे

अपनी खुमारी में बेटिकट या टिकटयाफ़्ता

गिन रहे रवानगी का दिन

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.

दूर नदी मंझधार में नौका पर झिझिया खेलतीं स्त्रियों द्वारा गाए जाते 

हलकी पुरवा बयार के साथ ग्राम में पहुँचते गीतों की मद्धम स्वर-लहरियां

कीर्तनियों के झाल, करताल, मृदंग के आरोहावरोह की मादक ध्वनियां  

रेत पर सूर्य-किरण के साथ दौड़तीं निश्छल सुबहें 

चंद्रछवि के साथ नदी में तैरतीं शीतल रातें 

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 Sundhanshu 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  

[Posted on DictaFicta on April 22, 2017]

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