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Nand Kishore Acharya

Nand Kishore Acharya is one of the foremost creative writers of our times. Beginning his writing career early with an analytical work on the writings of one of the most eminent writers of India, Ajneya, Nand Kishore Acharya himself grew to find his own distinct voice in the affectionate guidance of litterateurs like Ajneya and Chhagan Mohta. His plays, poems criticism, articles on issues of contemporary concerns and on education, and translations have given Hindi literature a new insight, a new direction and a new recognition of values. A command of almost every genre of creative writing, clear incisive vision and originality of verbal expression has earned him great respect amongst his contemporaries. His writing explores the grey and untouched subliminal zones of myths, legends and history, redefining human sensibilities and piercing the contemporary social and political scenario, and in his poems he delves deep into the recesses of human experience enthralling the reader like a whiff of fragrant breeze. Doctor Acharya has distilled the forts, havelis, squares, narrow alleys, windows and casements and the desert breeze so beautifully in his poetry that Ajneya called him the 'inimitable bard of the beauty of the desert'. The conflicts of the creative heart are etched verbatim in his creation. The words written upon the paper are not mere words; they are the yearnings of the heart distilled upon paper. As a thinker Dr. Acharya is an altogether different person. His critical insight into contemporary literature, art and culture, society and civilization education and humanist concerns, and an ability to carry them out to their logical conclusions, establish him as a mature and complete thinker.


Sings the sky
In luminous notes
Stars twinkle in accord

On veena sometimes , on ektarra
and on sarangi at times

I too long to sing
this night symphony
will you accompany?

Or you sing
accompanying with me
say, let us sing together
the whole creation will be in accord!

Language in the void

Poet has no home
only a quest
He seems to dwell in language
but only as the bird wings the sky

language is a void
unyielding to the dwellings of poets-
anyone’s dwellings

He is always on wing
for tarrying hurts him from the sky

for this he does not build houses
only their images
wherein lingoes- the fragrance of his being.


That leaf
Wavering there
Who knows if it is
Falling towards the earth, wavering
or rising?

What did the artist desire
could’ve asked were he here
but neither artist
nor tree
nor the earth between whish it wavers

Tree, earth have no meaning in this moment
The leaf, complete in its wavering
Unconcerned with where it comes from
Where it is headed
enough for now
to be a leaf-
wavering !

Every Night that voice

Every night that voice
leads me, chatting
to the threshold of her silence
but there returns me
not allowing me in
despite the open door.

Are poets worthy only of words
not of silence

How will she know
how she dwells in me-
if she would only allow me in

she is my language
and knows well too
where can I go-
she is my destiny.

Night’s flight

Who is it
That the night invokes

with whom she cannot remain
night any longer

who bares her

or the dark
wherein is her completion
where she finds herself

All hostile to the dark
But night
Yet has her own flight !

Only this vast expanse of sand

Hymes of Desert
Neither summits, nor depths
Only this vast sandy expanse
sprawling, searing, shadeless !

chanting a name
how far in this sandy void
would a thirsty wailing bird fly-

seeking shade in its own shadow
when it falls upon the flaming sand,
hapless, singed!

the dream nurtured
barely drops out of his eye, when it dries!

detached, the sandy vast
burns on, shade less
scorching! March 1982

Dying hearth

Sand sprawls
all around
cold and dark as death
this hearth is dying now:

patted and gathered
like dung-cakes
burn to ashes.

let me see, if under
these layers of ashes
smouldering, is an ember,
which, if for only a moment
will give out a flame and
glow the sleeping blaze
of your face

for the batting of an eye.

let the night then sprawl, all
around like the sand-

cold and dark as death

It is not dry

They think
you have no past:
that you have been dry like this forever-

for those with a past
are always whimpering about it !

there is a kind of grief, though
that turns one to stone
though a spring
-spouting within-
breaks forth someday

yet you are only sand
and that which could have been
has also dried within
Or perhaps it hasn't
or you would not cache
in your frail breast the fossils
which once were your world

As long as these memories, lie
vaulted in your soul
-if only as fossils-
there is grief
and so, dreams !

Deeper the grief
greater the force-
with which someday bursts the spring!

March 1982

It was the sea

It was the sea
abounding deepening
where I slept in peace
for there was you-
rowing the bark !

how long and how deep
was the sleep ?

there is the vessel still-
glutted in the sand

and there is also me
bare- bodied !
The abounding water
is this burning desert now
and you ...
where there is no water

why would you be ?
But this fire raging-within
will one day consume me-
clouds will gather again

and again will it rain
and again the bark flow,
into the boundless ...

I will bring you into being again!

December 1980

You'll be a meadow again

The emptiness-stretched
across the sky of your eye-is me
and upon me, dwells
the leafless stem of your being.

dwell upon me
like a prayer
and dissolve in the rhythm of this void

only then
in this sky will the clouds gather-
and you will be nurtured with your own water, again,
and wear me,
like new leaves!

Time that now breathes its last,
like a hungering, thirsting, cringing sheep
will graze me like a joyous lamb

you will be a meadow again!

Like the Khejri

Like the khejri
you grow within me
like the greening khejri
in the sandy vast

from you I sprout
like the dense new leaves!

the fall winds, dry
will one day shed me,
and these drought sighs

Poems translated by Anju Dadda Mishra

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