“From childhood there was something like a piece of ember trapped somewhere inside me.” (First sentence in the book, Preface)
I had stumbled upon an article about Jacinta Keketta from Jharkhand, a brave journalist and fierce poet, who gives a mouthpiece to troubles in her roots, the tribal areas where she was born, where she belongs. Jacinta Kerketta has in a short time succeeded in becoming acclaimed in the Hindi literary world and this is her first work published. This book is special.
It has both the Original Hindi and the English translation side by side. or the entire book, left side pages have the original poems in Hindi (which is not difficult Hindi- very comprehensive and understandable) and right side pages have translation of the same poems in English. The English translation is jointly done by Ms. Bhumika Chawla-D’Souza, Mr. Vijay K Chhabra and Father Cyprian (edited), and is one of the best works of poetry translation I’ve ever seen. It is crisp, holds meaning (not lost in translation) and is not irritating, like a lot of work of translation can be.
This kind of poetry is special and should be endorsed and appreciated because it comes directly from that person’s personal experience. The authenticity acts as a dagger, blowing holes in the reader’s view about the world. You feel humbled, you feel lucky and you feel privileged. It makes you feel undeserving.
While reading, I tried to take in the fragrance of the book, just checking if it can give me the feel of what makes someone so brave, so outspoken. It is perhaps beyond human capabilities to exactly feel like someone. But I empathize. There are portions in the book that are disturbing yet relatable. I am not sure if I want to categorize it as ‘Tribal Literature’, this is a literature for all. But her poems convey the pain, anguish and anger that the tribals in our Indian Society feel. We must appreciate her efforts to reach here, especially by buying her book, reading and recommending it.
This is recommended to anyone.. Especially the ones who like Manto, Ismat Chughtai, Anton Chekhov and the likes, even if they wrote prose, there are lot of parallels to draw here. Sheer joy to have read this one!
Support Jacinta Kerketta. Buy Angor.
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