India

Harivansh Rai Bachchan
आज मुझसे बोल, बादल! ,~1930

आज मुझसे बोल, बादल!

तम भरा तू, तम भरा मैं,
ग़म भरा तू, ग़म भरा मैं,
आज तू अपने हृदय से हृदय मेरा तोल, बादल
आज मुझसे बोल, बादल!

आग तुझमें, आग मुझमें,
राग तुझमें, राग मुझमें,
आ मिलें हम आज अपने द्वार उर के खोल, बादल
आज मुझसे बोल, बादल!

भेद यह मत देख दो पल-
क्षार जल मैं, तू मधुर जल,
व्यर्थ मेरे अश्रु, तेरी बूंद है अनमोल, बादल
आज मुझसे बोल, बादल!

Harivansh Rai Bachchan, कविताएँ बच्चन कीं चयन अमिताभ बच्चन का, Bhartiya Jnanpith, Delhi, 2012, p. 23


Talk to me today, clouds!

Filled with darkness are you, filled with darkness am I,
Filled with sorrow are you, filled with sorrow am I,
Today weigh out your heart against my heart, cloud
Today you with your heart weigh it against mine
Talk to me today, clouds!

Fire inside you, fire inside me,
Melody inside you, melody inside me,
Come let’s meet today with our doors open, cloud
Talk to me today, clouds!

Don’t see these differences for a moment-
I am salty water, you are sweet water,
Worthless is my tear, precious is your drop,
Talk to me today, clouds!

Translated by Mehak Burza


The poem is written by Harivansh Rai Bachchan, father of the famous Bollywood celebrity Amitabh Bachchan. When it comes to introduction, Harivansh Rai Bachchan (1907-2003) needs none. Writing majorly as a rebellious poet of the Nayi Kavita literary movement in the early decades of the twentieth century, his writings are considered a landmark in the domain of Hindi literature as they explore a myriad of themes.

Sound is often the most powerful device for expressing emotions. It however is accompanied with different emotional connotations. Some are in the habit of blurting out their emotional feelings, which manifests in ways such as singing or expressing themselves aloud. Others prefer to be surrounded by silence, which surprisingly holds meaning for them. Yet others try and find an objective correlative, which for them is the formula for their silence. Such is the thematic concern of the above poem.

The poet here is in the epitome of his silence. His gloomy and sullen mood finds sudden a parallel in an inanimate object – the clouds. The poet pleads to the clouds to speak to him, which will lift up his mood. Highlighting the objective correlativeness of their situation, the poet speaks of the similarities between them reflecting in darkness, sorrow, fire and melody. He further requests the clouds not to see the differences between them and sees himself as salty water with worthless tears. The poet wants an emotional unison between him and the clouds; a unison triggered by their silences. The poet therefore beseeches the clouds to speak to him (in any form), a sign,
which will ease him from his present state of awkward silence. This thus becomes the poet’s only way of expressing his emotion, which here is silence.

Prepared by Mehak Burza

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