santè’s lost it!


Santè’s gone crazy today—crazy like anything.
All relate his insanity to his drinking habit
but the reality—unknown.
Back in the village–
Santè was one happy family man;
making his living
beating pebbles by the riverside.

How could he go insane all of a sudden
upon arriving Kathmandu?

What’s such a mistake of Santè not to
—cast dirt on the well that gave him water?
—quarrel with his tools before using them?
Not probably that his only son
was nibbled by the war–
But the very pride of being a martyr’s father
must have made him go haywire?

May be Santè got screwed off
while trying to save his brother
from the pounce of wild hounds–
approaching the city.

Still Dushashanas are walking—chest broad.
Has Santè lost his mind
only because he couldn’t withstand
the shrieks of his daughter
before Dhritarastra’s blindness?

An unwanted caw of reform and change
A useless growling of fake guarantees
Terror and threat—protest and pretense
Ego and vaunt—deceit and reproach
Olympic marathon of power—avarice
All my geese are swans—obstinacy
In this nugatory combat of power bulls
where does Santè fit?

Another monocracy in republican’s camouflage
Was it an offence to speak?
He who learnt to pronounce yes couldn’t say no.
He who learnt the lessons of truth couldn’t lie.
Had it not been for Santè–
who otherwise should have lost it?

But this is not the very first time he went crazy.
Santè—banished from his village,
vanished from the human list.
Santè—a scapegoat—a victim of cruel hoax,
crushed under the grindstone of anarchy.
After the mountains of endurance ultimately collapsed
Santè–time and again–has gone frantic.

Whenever the hollow tune of such changes is heard
Whenever the disguised saviours turn predators
Whenever the avowers spew the truthless
Whenever impunity assaults the state
Many Santè(s) are still bound to go crazy.

(Original: बिचरा सन्ते बाैलायो by Jayant Sharma)

1. Kathmandu: the capital city of Nepal
2. Dushashana: one of the hundred Kaurava sons of Dhritarastra in the Hindu epic Mahabharata, who set an evil eye on his sister-in-law Draupadi and forced her to go bare in the court of Hastinapur; symbolically used to refer the sex predators prevalent in our society
2. Dhritarastra: the blind king of Hastinapur, who gave a silent solidarity to the atrocities of his sons Duryodhana and Dushanshana despite of Draupadi’s countless pleading; symbolically used to refer anarchy and impunity

About Poet:

Basically a translator and editor, Jayant Sharma (b. 1981) contributes regular write-ups to major national dailies and South- Asian journals regarding arts, literature, and culture. He writes primarily in English but occasionally pens poetry in Nepali. He has more than a dozen of books translated to his credit out of which some are ‘Guerrilla Girl’, ‘Children Stories of Nepal’, ‘In the Battle of Kirtipur’, ‘Gurkha War Poems’, ‘Odes from the Himalayas’, etc. He is also the publisher and editor of an English literary magazine ‘SATHI’ which promotes Nepali literature through English translations. An engineer by profession, he switches back and forth between the likes of technology and literature.

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