Three months back in Kolkata, I was gifted by author extraordinaire Dr.Santosh Bakaya, a phenomenal book of verses that she wrote, a first of its kind on the political life of Bapu, Mahatma Gandhi, and a tour de force in exceptionally woven poetry where she gives her signature touches of exuberant language and brings to life the travails, challenges, glories and the exceptional life journey of the political leader of our nation, the oft misunderstood and oft revered Gandhiji.
While like many other quite ordinary folks, I have read history as a compulsory subject in school, but forgot many important lessons and imprints history has carved in our souls. Perhaps, like those many humdrum souls, I rushed along the tides of time, trampling on the myriad turbulent, horrific, vigorous, sinful and embarrassing chapters that have defined our course of history and shaped the very core of the present times that we breathe in. Dr. Bakaya’s poetic representation of our national leader, her subtle, vigorously painted brushstrokes of every single incident of his life in a fine, eloquent verse made me face those overlooked, forgotten days and nights etched in the annals of history and rediscover Bapu’s life through her charming, remarkably humane and empathetic lens. Her poetic narrative wins hands-down, as it assured me that amid all the barbarity, violence and apathy around, both in the physical world and in the virtual space, where dissenting voices are tarnished, crushed, nipped in the bud, such sagas are there to stay for their powerful chronicling and the priceless seeds of knowledge, the lessons of love and empathy they sow in the process.
Here in a short video I present my very humble recitation of a chapter/excerpt from the book ‘Ballad of Bapu’, titled ‘Jallianwala Bagh’, which again is a very powerful chapter of the book in which the author/poet recounts a historical massacre which we all know about since our school days, only here, the historic happening gains greater momentum by virtue of the brilliant rhetorical representation by Dr. Bakaya. This is just a small excerpt or example from the book to illustrate how a lesson from history becomes a tool of literary dissent of a powerful author, to pave the way for us to raise awareness regarding the role of literature in shaping humanity.
I hope and pray that the book becomes a mandatory read for all young minds in their classrooms, internationally, urging us all to nullify and stand against the “Insidious currents of hatred”, as Dr. Bakaya herself writes in her Author’s note in the book.
To purchase the book, do visit:
- Publisher: Vitasta Publishing Pvt.Ltd (April 1, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9382711570
To listen to my recitation of ‘Jallianwala Bagh’ from Dr. Bakaya’s book ‘Ballad of Bapu’, do click here: