Friday, March 3, 2017

'Shakuntala' by Saroj Dutta (Agrani Magazine, January 1940)

Tale of an angry sadhu’s curse,
of wisdom,  of the ring,
Splendid scenes of love –
All these falsities and rude deceptions
hide the tale of one
among countless women
at the altar of kings’ lust
And then, some court poet, putting his oblations unto
the fatal conspiracies about divinity – out he slandered in verse!

The girl’s man might have stayed in faraway places
Her hut might have borne ill the tides of life and the world
The king saw her, and gave up on his game
He didn’t need the deer’s meat anymore
He needed the woman’s meat.

He was bored of the monotony of endless sex with the courtesans
He wanted the girl from the wilderness
So, he seduced her

The theater is silent today
Oblations to the manes
Suddenly, the man, the master of this ceremony
He who must bow before the ghosts of dead ancestors
stunned by purple terror, he turns speechless!

cloud of verses torn apart! up rises the sun of truth!

The audience shudders at the moral of the story –
“Horny Hero Impregnates Heroine!”

The poet, who had lived by another king’s grace,
Wove the natya through art and craft.

The stage is dark. Shankuntala weeps on earth.   

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