Biography of Rajendra Bhandari
Rajendra Bhandari (born 1956) is a Nepali poet and academic at the Sikkim Government College in Gangtok.
Born in Darjeeling, Bhandari has lived in Gangtok since the 1980s. He is the son of Bhagirat Bhandari a prominent writer and an astrologer. He received a doctorate in Nepali literature from the University of North Bengal.
Bhandari has won awards for his poetry, including the 1981 Diyalo Purashkar in Poetry from the Nepali Sahitya Sammelan in Darjeeling, the 1998 Shiva Kumar Rai Memorial Award from the South Sikkim Sahitya Sammelan and the 1999 Dr. Shova Kanti Thegim Memorial Award for poetry from the Shovakanti Memorial Trust in Gangtok.
Rajendra Bhandari's Works:
1979: Hiundey yee chisa raatka pardeharuma ("In the Veils of Cold Wintry Nights"), Gangtok, Sikkim: Padmakala Prakashan
1986: Yee shabdaharu: yee harafharu ("These Words: These Lines"), Gangtok, Sikkim: Jana Paksha Prakashan
1998: Kshar/Akshar ("Perishable/ Imperishable"), Gangtok, Sikkim: Jana Paksha Prakashan
Rajendra Bhandari Poems
Father and My Birthday -new-
Stretching wide his chest my father readied the field, studded the boundary with sal saplings nurtured them with his blood. Along with the gagun, the simal, the badahar trees I too took root, raised my head high. My father remembers the first harvesting day more vividly than my birthday. Father is as old as the courtyard's parijat, as firm as a rock. The wayside pebbles, earthy songs, the whistling thrush, the rafters of the ancient house, the rhythmic gong of the primary school, sweating, hurrying, panicking, the god, the usurer, the locality, and Father. An image of all these dances before my eyes. Father, the genesis of my universe, the household primordial sound. Father, the sun around whose axis rotate Mother, brothers, the neighbours. Father, the unborn. The ketaki bloomed in the garden. I, on the portico. A maize, an alder or a fig tree have no birthday and neither have I. My father does not know my birthday. What I do know definitely is my features are gradually resembling my father's. Even my temples are graying in much the same manner. My father let his graying hair gray while I engage in some black politics there.
THE EXPANDING UNIVERSE -new-
Abandoning ancestral homelands of meaning words find new shelter. From lisping and napkins through the attire, moustaches of youth I'm heading towards wrinkles and walking sticks. From where I stand the graveyard is nearer than my home. The noonday shadow under my foot stretches in the afternoon. Everything is running further: Mother's embraces, Father's blessings, the childhood landscapes the playground of my youth the bamboo groves. My classmates who used to be punished together for multiplication mistakes are disappearing: Bhakta Bahadur … died in an accident, Ambarey … joined the army, Rajaman, Dilip, Kesang … no news of them, backbencher Ramey is a distantly smiling officer. After an unknown big bang villages, neighbours, friends, cities form supernovas. Spaces fly from sight, gasp, body. The past remains a misty phantom. All escapes all from temples, God from hearts, hope, from courts, justice, from embraces, intimacy and I, from myself the sky, from the sky.
SOME QUESTIONS FROM THE ANNUAL EXAMINATI... -new-
What could be more explosive the city's lonely man or the bomber's lonely briefcase abandoned at some junction? Memory's tree, lush branches laden with fruits Where are the roots? Here the breath's polluted Ganga flows thus Where is the sea? Where its Gangotri? The body bears the mind's burden Or has the history of the body burdened the mind? To build which palace of faces must this face become a wall? And to save which face must this face become a martyr Which face? What face? How many faces can fit inside one face?
FROM THE MARKET -new-
Forests of people, caves of faces adrift on the sea, the lonely ships of the mind Bermudas of ideas islands ascending islands descending (How far the distance between the corporeal and the sublime?) For no reason I flag suddenly walking On the mind's shoulder desire's bag in which I carry groceries of dissatisfaction (How far is nirvana from the kerosene queue?) Meat, sugar, Surf, baby clothes a packet of contraceptives vegetables, a bar of the latest soap odds and ends, etc, etc. I head for the bookshop below the hospital and slip Arnold's new translation of the Gita into my bag (What is the relationship between a bank pass book and blood pressure?) (between a Prime Minister's digestive system and the nation's future?) (between the nation's constitution and wrinkles on one's face?) From the market in the evening via the morgue I return.
Time does not pass -new-
Baje has become incapable of going down to the fields. Last year, using a stick, he could reach the yard. This time he only made it to the porch. After a three day confinement, Baje passed away. Boju passed away. Then mother began to pass away. At first, she passed from the bazaar to seclusion. Then she passed from the yard to the porch. At the porch she became a scarecrow to the grain drying in the yard. The light passed from her eyes, From her legs, the strength to stand. Even her desires were passing, she passed away herself. One day, a wild young thing flirted with me But like a calm lake, I pooled by her side. Youth was passing from me. In the yellow autumn, in floe fields the paddy was passing into haystacks. The grain had passed and become manure. The world itself is passing every day. The atmosphere is passing into the ozone hole. With the passing of seedling, and of plant the passing of flower and dead leaves the passing of leaf and shoot the passing of bud and flower. With these passages the venerable lotus passed from the face of the earth But time has not passed Time is just not there Time would pass; if it at all existed. Translated from the Nepali by Anrnole Prasad
Awake, asleep -new-
To slumber amongst the awakened is more difficult than staying awake amongst the slumbering. slumbering can be contagious, one slumber leading to another, another, ..... and another till an epidemic of slumber explodes. During the pandemic of sleep the despot sings of peace. The slumbering public is innocent, like a slumbering child, smiling in its sleep. Asleep, it does not know when it bedwets, asleep, it is photogenic, asleep, it does not cast stones at the mirror does not ask for aeroplanes and guns,- Things, a despot knows better than a poet. Like sleep, wakefulness too is contagious, One rubs his eyes as he awakes, sighs and coughs... another coughs, another sits up, talks. all talk to each other, the talking growing into a din... Like a sprouting shoot of thought One thought sprouts, and another... and another. becoming a bountiful harvest of thoughts. Things, a poet knows better than a despot. Translated from the Nepali by Pankaj Thapa
an incomplete folk-tune -new-
The Autumn Sky, droops like an apple. The perpetual burden of the skies has hunchbacked the hills, The eagle soars high above as it's shadow seeks hapless chicks pecking. The teenaged trees are mesmerised by their own reflections in the Teesta. The clouds wander from hill to hill slandering the sultry sky. The lush ricefields sway In the yellow fragrance of the soil. Miles below, the plains look jumbled. The Khangchendzonga strolls out to bask, it's sibling peaks in tow. An incomplete folk tune drifts along on Teesta's froth, 'Chhati bhari bokera pirai pir Jadaichau hai Tista ko tirai tir..' A northern breeze flirts across the nose. Setting aside his plough, Hariprasad settles down to read the travelogue on his soles. Opening wide his chest he glances at a sepia album of his past. The walls washed bone-white and blood-red, - he has lost count. The numbed skin forgets to scream. But the heart remembers its map of dreams, lovingly preserved where children gambol through fields, through forests, through teagardens, seeking to pluck their own sun.
Day´s Footprint -new-
Parting the leaves of the banyan tree the egg-shaped sun came and dropped The Times of India at my door. The Times of India gave me a country floundering to be a nation, a blood-stained earth crying out to become a mother. Later, the day gave me agitating streets on fire seeking a clear identity. As the sun flared up in a flame, the griddle of the sky roasted the earth like a roti ravenously consumed by a handful of mouth round a table. Translated from the Nepali by Pankaj Thapa
Quiet Chaos -new-
Forests are quietly green Waters glide to the fields, The scarecrow stands guard over the crops. In me is buried a whole city The park, its benches and the temple A noisy procession, too The chaos is weighed down. Riding the melody on a sitar, I long to journey to a land of calm I desire to swim along a river And land on a lonely stone that shines. Out of the sores of the earth Pus seeps into my tea cup. Skeletons scream out of newspapers, A rickety bus hurls me Towards my office at ten (Time, accounts of an inept clerk) And home, comes there clamouring in. To erase one chaos I search for another. To forget one chaos The chaos in me craves for another. One chaos overwhelms another And is overwhelmed by another chaos Ever bustling, scuffling, playful. In the midst of chaos Chaos itself sits quiet. Translated from the Nepali by Dorjee Lepcha
Parting the leaves of the banyan tree
the egg-shaped sun came
dropped The Times of India
at my door.
The Times of India gave me a country
floundering to be a nation,