The Purposeful Literary Life: A Tribute.

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On the stage of the classroom you stood –

addressing the aficionados of literature,

who’ve been invited to pay their homage

to the well-known departed Hindi litterateur:

along with professors and batches of students

who shared with him their Alma Mater –

the Udai Pratap Autonomous College,

where we’re all – now solemnly gathered

after you brought us to listen to your tribute –

as you’re being profiled, in this book, on Benaras.

.

The deceased was your senior, friend and mentor;

also you’re a friend of Kashinath Singh – his brother:

So Gaya Singh – yourself a reputed Hindi professor,

who’s revered in this city that pride’s it’s men of letters –

also that you’re a strong upholder of Benarasi culture;

have been called upon with other literary stalwarts

to speak at this afternoon’s bereavement get-together –

of those, the Hindi language scholastically nurtured.

 

As an essayist, poet, and a short-fiction writer,

also a literary critic, linguist, and commentator –

the late Namvar Singh has had a progressive career:

A long-term academician – as founder and chairman

of the Delhi based Jawaharlal Nehru University’s –

Centre of Indian Languages; also as a professor

of Hindi literature in several reputed colleges

including Banaras Hindu University –

where he completed and received his doctorate,

after matriculation and higher secondary education

from this college where we’re now assembled –  

to pay venerations, reacquaint with the departed soul’s

magnanimous contribution to nationalist literature –

for which he received the Sahitya Academy Award.

 

The attentive audience seemed amply morose,

even as the speakers droned in monotonous tones –

keeping their voices and sights bent low

in reviving memories of interfaces with the deceased:

for didn’t he also belong to them as to Banaras –

though in Delhi his remains still await to be cremated.

But a posthumous honour in his college, he’s accorded –

for as its illustrious scholar he’s brought upon it credit,

that will inspire batches of students currently tutored:

who’ll take back the day’s involvement with them

and never fail to evoke – hard work pays rich dividends,

not just in this lifetime, but also after one’s death.

 

And in recognizing, that life opens many more doors

in one’s childhood and throughout youth –

but starts to close them beyond the age of twenty-two:

Students may be inspired in creating a vision for life

which they feel free to update from time to time –

to also pursue short term goals and desires,

so their cruise of life may be more significant.

As long-term goals need patience, steadfast purpose –

for only with a sustained body of recognizable work

and not just bursts of fading out streaks of genius –

as fleeting trails left by large shooting stars that fall:

Can you earn devotion not only of benefactors,

but vie to be the pride – even of mere acquaintances.

 

PS: Dr Gaya Singh, second on the left of the photo on top, has been profiled in the Nov 2018 Bollywood film ‘Moholla Assi’ starring Sunny Deol…from the Hindi novel – ‘Kashi ka Assi’ – written by reputed Hindi novelist Kashinath Singh. You can watch the trailer here on this link:  https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4949324/videoplayer/vi2566699545

🙂 Also …after reading my previous posts on Benaras here…You can watch the full film “Mohalla Assi’ – if you’d like, from the link below: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6xnYRxU_V2syp2ZvNSYdMw

 

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‘A Banarasi Thahaka(laughter)’

An elderly gentleman with gravitas to his name –

fit and agile, over seventy – flaunts a sturdy gait;

is much respected, but also feared in Banaras 

for his forthright and strict instructional ways.

 

These, define his professors personality traits,

of a lifetime of upholding values and principles

prescribed in several books in Hindi to his name –

while retiring as principal of a reputed college.

 

Gaya Singh, is revered in Assi by young and old,

for he possesses a robust heart, of pure gold –

helping the poor, an auto driver acquainted me,

concluding – “I have to keep his word, at all cost!”

 

Meeting him officially, yet Gaya-ji escorted us, 

showing us his Banaras, hosting several meals:

but what he carried always was his simplicity –

deep throated, soul deep laughter of a Banarasi.

 

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