Bijay Kant Dubey


Jayanta Mahapatra And His Poetical Paper On The Dark Daughters


To talk of Jayanta Mahapatra is to talk of the dark daughters,
The dark daughters of the land which he refers to
At the end of Relationship
And this is in reality one of the mysteries of his poetry,
The image of the dark daughter so mythical, mysterious, symbolical,
Historical, artistic, aesthetic,
Archival, archaeological and museumlogical
And here lies in the philosophy and sociology
Of his interdisciplinary poetry
Drawing from history, art, culture, myth, mysticism,
Society, science and painting
Or these may be the dancers dancing
And making Buddha follow up the middle path of life,
Neither too much austere nor loose,
But of the middle path.

They may be dark outwardly, but are not so, but full of
So much so love and affection, sympathy and bonding;
They are dark as for the blazing sun and sun burnt summers
Lasting long and days drawing out,
Earths cracked, parched and baking;
Dark is not the dark daughters only; dark is Kali,
Call her Uma, Sati, Chandi, Kalika or Parvati;
The myths of Creation and of Darkness;
What it is dark, let it be, as they will remain,
Continue unto the last,
Have you not heard it, dark is beautiful?
So are the dark daughters, the creations of
Various yoga-yoginis, various make-overs, take-overs or attributes
Representing in the ways varied and reflective enough.

They keep the houses, work on the farmlands, rear up the children;
They work as planters, reapers and harvesters, let them be,
Give value to their labour and sweat,
But lest it be not that we snatch their sweet pulsation of life,
Let them be vibrating and humming;
Reaping, cutting and humming into the fields of life
As they are the beauty of the world to see and feel;
Art and artifacts, the aesthetic sense and value
Which also constitute life;
They are the art-symbols and the myth and mysticism of it
With which the things of art and artifacts made
And in whose absence the world may turn
To a dull and dreary affair;
Art and artistic sense.

The art pieces he comes to mark them on the pillars of history,
Art and architecture and museumlogy and he thinks of their making
With his efforts in understanding and working of these,
How had it been the times, how the people engaged in work,
Who those unknown builders,
How the artisans, masons and architects at work?
The dark daughters the daughters of the land
Who struggle, suffer and sacrifice their lives to keep
The homes intact, livable and healthy,
Bearing heat and dust.
When she is in the house, the house looks a house
And when she is not, the same house turns into a haunted house
In the absence of sweeping of dust daily
And showing of light at day and night to God,
Burning of a candle before to light it all.

The dark daughters are the girls of museums
Seen in priceless and rare potteries,
Art and artifacts excavated and found, pirated, sold and found again,
The dark daughters are the sculptures and figurines embossed
On the temple pillars of terracotta temples,
Lime clay and small brick made temples and decorated with
The borders on the entrances leading to the sanctorum,
But it startles us to feel that
They made grand temples, rock-cut and stupendous
As structures of art and architecture
Just to house in mute gods and goddesses,
Not for themselves,
The poor builders and workers doing construction work.

It is a fact that those who build houses are but the houseless people,
Sleeping on the muddy floor of the house,
They dream of making great architectural things and house-plans,
Similarly the case of her,
The dark daughters help the labourers on the scaffold for
The house under construction in heat and dust,
But remains unable to get diet for two times
Whereas she keeps nurturing the dreams of the owner,
For her labour, what does he get from?
Just a hand to mouth living is the expectancy of her
And what more to ay about?

The dark daughters are the daughters of the soil
Whose troubles, tears and tribulations
We come to feel it not; who keep labouring
Like the ox, getting skeletoned,
Reeling under the load of life and the world
Whereas we go elating about,
The dark daughters are a picture of toiling, striving hard mankind,
Womankind itself and we lying hard of heart to understand their
Feelings and emotions,
They too have a passion for living;
They too have a heart vibrating and pulsating within,
The dark daughters are the girls trafficked round,
Sent across, sold and re-sold with
The whereabouts unknown and traceless.

Have we at least of them, what they dreamt and what have they got
From this life of ours?
Perhaps we do not have any time to give to them,
As self-possessed are we thinking about our own things
Rather than them writhing under misery and pain of living,
Hiding the faces from broad daylight, they continue
To eke out a poor and humble living,
But they too are men
However detestable they may be;
In the sun burnt dark and nondescript hamlets and thorps,
Dotted and littered across a vast stretch of lands,
Just like the mounds of old earth.

She continues to live strugglingly, just like a nameless entity
Whose household legacy and values and housekeeping attach we to not,
The small-small daughters, poor, humble and simple,
Half-fed and half-clothed, unoiled and lousey
Going to read under the shade of the orchard plot
With jute knapsacks to sit upon and slates and lime stick pencils,
Eating late into day, taking stale food of night-time as breakfast,
Helping her mother at work, burning the earthen oven
With haystacks and dry leaves and cow dung cakes,
Taking the younger brother into the lap and left-overs
She passes a life of her own,
A very neglected and ignored girl child of India,
Perhaps going to be extinct,
Poverty, malnutrition and gender bias wiping it out.

Dark is dark, let it be, whatever it be, as we cannot change
The course of life and the world we are born in,
The situations and circumstances born with;
Light and darkness are the two sides of the Creation
And both of these bound to have their turns one by one,
If there is light, there will be darkness and vice versa
As one is followed by another;
Dark is dark, let it be
As the dark will remain dark,
But the dark daughters no doubt lovely and affectionate,
See you them,
Forget them not at all,
Dark is Kali,
The tales of the Creation,
What it is dark will remain.

Submitted: Sunday, April 20, 2014

Topic(s): Art


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