Tag Archives: Sonnet

(249) Expositions of Chosen Poems – 3 (The Flute Vendor-A Gujarati Poem)

(249) Expositions of Chosen Poems – 3 (The Flute Vendor-A Gujarati Poem)

Click here to read in Gujarati

My friend Mr. Sharad Shah of Ahmedabad had commented my earlier post of this kind. It was an English poem of William Wordsworth titled as “We are Seven”. In his opinion, Indian poetry like written in Gujarati, Hindi and any other Regional languages compared to English ones have much more taste and beauty. In reply to his comment, I had only written that we cannot make any generalization that particular language has very good literature and others don’t have. It is true that the literature of Indian Regional languages could not spread worldwide in spite of being it superior. It is but natural that any literature written or translated in any International language has much more scope to spread.

Today, I am determined to give my exposition of a Gujarati poem titled in English as “The Flute Vendor” written by the Late Umashankar Joshi {1911-1988), a renowned Man of Letters of his times and will be remembered for the years to come as and when Gujarati language and its literature is going to be discussed. Mr. Joshi had received many literary awards.

By the way, I am tempted to say that during the course of my Post Graduation, I was awarded the Certificate of Extempore Speech Competition with second rank by Umashankar Joshi, the Chief Guest of the Function of College Annual Day then. I picked up a cover of the unknown subject on the stage and just like the improvisator, I had delivered my speech on the subject “If Mahatma Gandhi were alive!”.

Before to proceed on my exposition of the poem, my Readers will have to be familiar with the poem in discusstion. I am going to give you the poem in Gujarati first and then its translation in English in its poetry form.

વાંસળી વેચનારો

’ચચ્ચાર આને !
હેલી અમીની વરસાવો કાને !
ચચ્ચાર આને !
હૈયાં રૂંધાયાં વહવો ન શાને !’

મીઠી જબાને લલચાવી હૈયાં,
રસે પૂરા કિંતુ ખીસે અધૂરા,
શ્રમીણકોને અમથું રિબાવતો,
બરાડતો જોરથી બંસીવાળો.

ઘરાક સાચા સુણવા ના પામે
વેગે જતી ગાડી મહીં લપાઈ જે
બંસી સુણંતા પ્રણયોર્મિગોષ્ઠિની.

‘ચચ્ચાર આને !’
ના કોઈ માને
અને ખભે વાંસળી-જૂથ એનું
થયું ન સ્હેજે હળવું, ભમ્યો છતાં !

‘ચચ્ચાર આને!’
લો, ને રમો રાતદી સ્વર્ગ તાને !
‘ચચ્ચાર આને?’

‘દે એક આને !’
‘ના, ભાઈ, ના, ગામ જઈશ મારે,
છો ના ખપી ! ઈંધણથી જશે નહીં.
ચચ્ચાર આને ! બસ ચાર આને !!

પાછા વળંતાં, પછી જૂથમાંથી
ખેંચી મજાની બસ એક બંસી,
અષાઢની સાંજની ઝરમરોમાં
સૂરો તણાં રંગધનુ ઉડાવતી,
એણેય છેડી ઉરમાંથી ઝરમરો !.

જીવંત આવી સુણી જાહિરાત, કો
બાર મહીંથી જરી બ્હાર ઝૂકતી
બોલાવતી તાલી સ્વરેથી બાલા.

હવે પરંતુ લયલીન કાન,
ઘરાકનું લેશ રહ્યું ન ભાન !

– ઉમાશંકર જોશી

A Flute Vendor

“Four annas1 a piece!
Have a shower of nectar
deluge your ears!
Four annas a piece!
Why not let
your suffocated hearts gush?”

Cried loudly the flute vendor
enticing with a sweet tongue
the bosoms
of those relishing melody
but with empty pockets,
unfairly tormenting the toilers!

The genuine customers
were bereft of music.
Cozily listening to the flute
of amorous words
were those
speeding in cars.

“Four annas a piece!”
And despite wandering
no one bought
and the burden of the bunch
on his shoulders
diminished not.

“Four annas only!
Buy and revel
day and night
in heavenly melody!”
“Four annas each?”
“Sell for an anna.”
“No sir, no.
Will return to my village
though they remain unsold.
This is no firewood stock.
Four annas each.
Only at four annas a piece.”

Turning back, he picked
a nice one from the bunch of flutes.
In the drizzle of Ashadh2
he too began to spray from his heart
a fount of rainbow notes!

Hearing this live display
a maid from a window peeped
beckoned him with a clap.

Ears immersed in lilt the vendor
remained oblivious of the customer.

– Umashankar Joshi

1. An anna was one-sixteenth of a rupee. Now, 4 annas = INR 0.25
2. The first month of monsoon

This is a Free verse poem i.e. without any metre/s written in free style rhyme and also just like telling a story on a particular episode. The hero of the poem is both a workman and also an artist. In the beginning of the poem, his role seems to be of a hawker or a vendor of flutes. By carrying the bunch of flutes on his shoulder, he verbally advertises for his product in his different slogans spoken in flowers of speech. All his efforts prove to be in vain. The certain class of the people have no any value of flutes in their minds. The flute is just like a commodity for them made of a narrow hollow bamboo with very simple workmanship of some holes to be opened and closed with the finger-tips while blowing the air from mouth from one end of the flute played vertically or horizontally. Some labor-like common people cannot afford four annas of the flute and hence they bargain and demand the flute at one anna a piece.

In my view the original Gujarati text of the translated line as “This is no firewood stock” indicates that he would rather use the unsold flutes as fire-wood but won’t sell the flute for one anna. He wandered and wandered through streets but the burden of the flutes did not decrease from his shoulder. He was not disappointed with the flop day of his business. He drew a flute from the bunch and began to play. This was his live advertisement and as a result a girl gets attracted. She leaned from the window and by clapping tried to call him for the purchase of a flute. But now, the flute vendor was engrossed in playing the flute and therefore he could not pay attention towards this prospective customer. His ears were engaged with hearing the tune of his flute. This time he was neither a workman nor a salesman of the flutes, but he was an Artist, a true Artist.

Thus the poem ends in such style of a Shakespearian Sonnet as “Ears immersed in lilt the vendor, remained oblivious of the customer.”

– Valibhai Musa


Tags: , , , , , , ,


Click here to read in Gujarati
During our schooling, many of us would have studied a Gujarati Poem in which repentance was compared with a stream in a figure of speech descending from heaven and the sinner, by diving in it, can become pious and sinless.

There are two words – sin and crime. According to some scholars, both are synonymous; but many define them as different. Sin is categorized under the doctrines of religions and the Creator. Same way, crime is related with the worldly laws concerning to creations, not only human being but all and all created by God. Sin is to be understood under divinity and crime under state laws. Crime or sin whatever you call them – they are of two kinds; one capital and the other trivial.

But, it is immaterial for the purpose of this essay to go deep into the controversy of interpretation of these words and we shall consider crime and sin equivalent as our aim is to discuss here repentance only. It is said, “To err is a human.”; but it is not to be taken easy as easy as it looks. All evil deeds being cause of sufferings to the victims of sin or crime are liable to be condemned under any moral, social, state or divine law applicable.

Now, let us come to the point with some ideologies and quotes in this regard. “Repentance is the door to forgiveness.” One, besides forgiven or hoping forgiveness, gets full satisfaction and pleasure beyond words after repentance. But, at the same time, there are certain conditions to be fulfilled. Imam Ali (a.s.) has laid down some elements of repentance and they are :- (1) Repentant must be really sorry by heart. (2) He or she must be firm not to repeat the evil deed committed. (3) After repentance, there should come change in one’s behavior. (4) One should remember always what wrong was done previously. (5) The heart of repentant should burn in the fire of repentance. (6) One should feel taste of satisfaction of repentance equal to he or she had previously enjoyed the taste of sin or crime when it was committed.

Sincere repentance makes the sinner like a newly born child as it had never committed any sin. Repentance is the greatest and effective intercessor between the sinner and the affected one. Bonnell Thomton has quoted “Some often repent, yet never reform; they resemble a man traveling in a dangerous path, who frequently starts and stops, but never turns back.” Repentance for the past crimes is just and easy, but sin-no-more’s task is too hard and difficult.

Religious minded and naturally good people unanimously admit that one oneself is solely responsible for good or evil deeds. God has created human pure by heart and soul and He never thinks that His created human should go to the path of those people who wander astray. Randy Alcorn says, “God’s grace never encourages us to live in sin; on the contrary, it empowers us to say no to sin and yes to truth.”

God is so kind towards his creations that He gives chance before punishment here or here after with the provision of repentance. God has created human with a gift of the divine soul. This soul of human cries whenever any sin is committed knowingly or unknowingly. Johann Arndt quotes, “Heart – suffering because of sin is the best proof that the Holy Spirit dwells in your heart.”

Before summing up, it would be appropriate to glance a bird-fly-view at some unfair practices also which are neither crimes nor sins; but they are simply morally wrong deeds. They are – disobedience towards parents or elders, unfair attitude towards others, back biting, telling a lie un-purposeful and un-justified, to make a fun or fool of somebody and tease anybody for the sake of entertainment, going out of family, social or religious track of conduct and character, jealousy etc.. All these are moral indisciplines which cannot be imposed or forced on anybody. They can be judged introspectively by individuals and avoided, corrected or repented by themselves. Repentance can be done by awakening inner conscious in such cases also to reform self, be honorable in the eyes of the people and get nearness to God.

B. K. Thakore, a Gujarati sonneteer, writes in a Sonnet that the earth is not beneath the heaven. To make a peaceful world and make the earth paradise, every individual should try to say goodbye to all such negative deeds. Good deeds always leave their impression on the mind, heart and soul of the person and they become helpful for advancement towards spirituality.

Let us go on,
– towards good deeds,
– to virtuous living,
– in company of righteousness,
– to steer ourselves safe from deviations to right direction,
-to listen to the cry of our souls and lead ourselves towards light from darkness of ignorance.

Lastly, I would like to let the youngsters and students know a slogan, very popular amongst the Social Workers – “Do a good turn daily.”. Please, try to follow.

With best regards,

– Valibhai Musa
Dtd. 19th July, 2007

Leave a comment

Posted by on July 24, 2007 in લેખ, MB


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,