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RAJDEO MANDAL- THE POET, THE NOVELIST/ PARALLEL HISTORY OF MAITHILI LITERATURE
No. 88 (November – December 2019) of Muse India at http://museindia.com/Home/PastIssue
displays Maithili literature in a very poor light. Moreover, it wrongly
claims to be a representative review of the entirety of Maithili
Literature. In actuality it was a representation of the so-called “dried
main-drain” of Maithili Literature, in line with the Sahitya Akademi,
Delhi. It is expected that Muse India will correct itself by announcing
an issue exclusively devoted to the parallel tradition of Maithili
T.K. Oommen writes in the
'Linguistic Diversity' Chapter of 'Sociology’, 1988, page 291, National
Law School of India University/Bar Council of India Trust: "...the
Maithili region is found to be economically and culturally dominated by
Brahmins and if a separate Maithili State is formed they may easily get
entrenched as the political elite also. This may not be to the liking
and advantage of several other castes, the traditionally entrenched or
currently ascendant castes. Therefore, in all possibility the latter
groups may oppose the formation of a separate Maithili state although
they also belong to the Maithili speech community. This type of
opposition adversely affects the development of several languages."
T.K. Oomen further writes: “… even when a language is pronounced to be distinct from Hindi, it may be treated as a dialect of Hindi. For example, both Grierson who undertook the classic linguistic survey of India and S. K. Chatterjee, the national professor of linguistics, stated that Maithili is a distinct language. But yet it is treated as a dialect of Maithili”. (ibid, page 293)
RAJDEO MANDAL- THE POET, THE NOVELIST
The constant shedding of Tears
-Maithili poem by Sh. Rajdeo Mandal - from his anthology of Maithili poems "Ambara"
Out of the eyes of my beloved
tears like a river
always keep flowing
and in that water of tears
some feel cold
and some feel hot
some say wow!
and some feel bad.
but my blind-deaf accomplice
does not care,
her tears always keep flowing
but from some time her tears have stopped coming out
now perhaps she has emptied herself of tears
is she storing it !?
Verse is not apopular genre.it is appreciatedby a few. For a language like Sanskrit, the volunteers who are engaged in its popularisation, are using simple Sanskrit for it. They translate short stories and novels from other Indian languages into simple Sanskrit. But here translation of verse into Sanskrit is not done, because verse is read by none. A language, the number of whose speakers are so little that a need has been felt for organisation camps for its spoken form, translation from verse into that language is considered misuse of energy.
In Maithili the situation has become so grave that if we envisage a situation where there are no villages left, the number of speakers of this language would become a small number. People would speak in Maithili only in seminars and sittings. Thje need has already been felt for pronunciation and vocabulary enrichment classes even for the authors and singers of Maithili.
Then what is the purpose of writing verse in this language, i.e., Maithili? What is the purpose and what is the need for it? People write verse due to paucity of time, as the other genres require devotion of more time. The situation becomes even more grave when people gives the reason for writing verse in this way.
In this situation the happenings of the neighbourhood, personal ambition, derogatory remarks on others and the travelogue, all these have become the subject matter of verse. But why not use prose for these kind of subjects? The short stories are transformed into drama form for the purpose of staging it. But what is the purpose of converting prose into poem?
The answer is both obvious and simple who know the so-called dried main-channel of Maithili literature. The readers of the converted poems are only the partisan-critiques. And writers of those great poems themselves throw eulogies on themselves as they have understood the call for self-sufficiency in this way. Why to depend to others for it? They write long prefaces in prose and add it to their collection of verses, declare ther verse as great and path-breaking!
Who will understand the value of creation of verse?The personal worldly experiences, if it is not allowed to percolate deep down, would not be able to become a great poem even though it may remain in rhythm. The spiritual and other-worldly thinking, howsoever non-concrete would still be not able to mesmerise, if that is not able to meet the worldly and make itself relevant, even though it may remain non-rhythmic and may even subscribe to a particular partisan-grouping or even with the use of crutches of ideology. The essential needs of man are food, clothes and housing. And after that the spiritual thinking and related needs. When Buddha asked that all those people wo were participating in the festivities know the eventuality of death and if they do how can they participate in those festivities? Likewise the modern Maithili poets, when they find the base of their language-culture and economics missing behind their feet even then they refuse to accept that truth and then they try to insert the –isms to the national-international happenings into their poems, they want to create a patronising literature for the depressed classes and the natives, they want to become benefactor and so it fails to have a cutting-edge.
But when Rajdeo Mandal writes:
From the percolating blood drops
The earth has become freshly-bathed
The bird then asks
Asks from its heart
In the incoming heavy and pitch-dark night
Would our species survive?
, then it goes into our blood and the blood starts running fast. The species of the poetics of the poet or the species of that word? No partisan-critiques nod of self-obsessed preface is required for this poem. No groupism or crutches of ideology is required for this creation.
So the poem needs excellence. It requires base of language and culture. It does not want imported plots and subjects, which is imported to do favours to the poem. It also does not need the imported emotion, which would be a superficial attempt for searching for the disappearing language, culture and dwindling economy, which has gone missing beneath its feet.
Good poem can be written on any subject, it can be written on the anxiety of Buddha regarding future of mankind, for consoling the heart also otherwise people will have to go to the pseudo-preachers. For the language, culture and economy base also, otherwise we will have to start camps for Maithili soon. The transmigration of imagery isalso required, otherwise we will have to create an artificial atmosphere for the poet and for their poems we will have to arrange stage, a stage-camp will have to be organised for his artificial vocabulary and ideology. And people would have to be trained for it. The poets of the so-called mainline of dried-drain are just doing that.
The rhythm and ups and downs of Maithili language, the cultural and professional superiority of its proletariat brimming with confidence having all kinds of professional and cultural skills, the superiority of its cooperative living style, cultural conservatism, polity, daily affairs, social values, morality, economic situation and adaptation in the flood ravaged economy, religion and philosophy all should be the subject of Maithili literature. And if that does not happen it would become one-sided, it will get entrenched after getting lopsided, would become dead fit to be framed and put onto the wall.
To create poetry is a necessity, a literary urge for creation for fulfilling it. When the people of Mithila would go to the camps for learning Maithili language, then can only we start questioning the need of writing poems and creating all type of verse forms. Only then we should discuss the futility of writing poems in Maithili. And that day must not come, for that thew poets would have to remain alert. And so is Rajdeo Mandal and that is why “Ambara” a collection of poem written by him has become the best collection of its genre in the first decade of the 21st Century. His collection of poems “Vasundhara” is the next step. The excellence of verse created by Rajdeo Mandal isbecause of its foundation, the foundation of language and culture. The excellence is because he does not and have not to import the contents of hissubjects. He does not import emotions either, you will not find any of these. The expressions of his imagery lies in the rich vocabulary that he possess. To create poem is the only way left for Rajdeo Mandal. He has to create poem, it’s a literary hunger and essentiality of his literary existence. The emotions are poured out in spinning rhythm and becomes his poetry.
“Rahab Ahink Sang”- (Will remain with you only)- From “Ambara”
My throat dried
The lips dried
As if I was thirsty
The corpses all around
Are laughing at me
Nobody is listening to my voice
Where has went
It was necessary to break
Turning of direction
For the future
You all are yourself the greats
Move forward and leave the squabbling
No interruption will be able to stop it
I have not done any big crime
Hey respected you, come here
Do not get angry
I will not break any law henceforth
I will not bother any of you now-on
Keep your kingdom
I donot want the headgear the throne
I will not change my colour anymore
I will be with you all only peacefully.
RAJDEO MANDAL- THE FICTION WRITER
“Paro” of Nagarjun-Yatri, notwithstanding the unanswered question whether it was written originally in Maithili or was a translation from Hindi into Maithili by the author himself, did depict first hand account of Maithil Brahmin caste of his contemporary times. He did depict the socio-cultural situation of the period. The novel “Hamar Tol” (My quarter of the village) by Rajdeo Mandal is a first hand account of “Dhanuk” caste of Mithila and has been written in thesetting of the socio-cultural situation that this caste is peculiarly placed in. He inserts everything in it, the belief, which are sometimes not rational, social reform, love, hate, hope as well as disappointment. There was a void after Lalit, the mainstream, as it is called, writers of Maithili language got themselves into a maze due to their chosen subjects. The dark enveloped the literary scene wherein they found the exit tough the going-on impossible. The “Hamar Tol” of Rajdeo Mandal purifies the account of the second-hand account or description of Lalit in “Prithviputra”; and as a result the parallel movement of the stream was able to take along the main course of literatureand moved it forward and relevant.
The author, being a realistic writer, has been forced to make the ending a tragical one. He refuses to see some struggles, or is not able to see, or nobody is able to see it. But he gives details of those struggles too.
“Everyone left in a hurry.
There began a fight between the crow and the Myna. That fight remained unseen, only the tree saw it. And the tree saw many more things, but yet the tree remained silent”.
The complexity and perplexity of that silence refined and presented owing to the first hand experiences of those unseen things, this novel has secured its position in the literary history of Maithili literature.
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