Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Kavi Bhushan Way

Mahakavi Bhushan, is one of the most enigmatic poets from our history. His poems- based on veer rasa, with Shivaji as its central theme are often considered as an unparalleled collection diving into the realm of imaginary and fantasy. They have, thus been dismissed as frontline evidences which tell us our history. Another possible factor which has led to this belief is the language that has been used to compose the poems- they are in Braj, a dialect of hindi from Uttar Pradesh, and that is not fully understood in Maharashtra. Efforts by people such as Ninadrao Bedekar and Babasaheb Purandare have definitely made Bhushan more approachable for common man. Bedekar excels in this field. His lecture series on Shivaji Maharaj are filled with poems by Bhushan which adds a shine and gloss to the character of shivaji, for Bhushan has richly ornamented Shivaji with all sorts of adjectives.

Recently I happened to stumble upon a pdf of a Marathi translation of Shivbhushan – a set of poems by Bhushan ji on Shivaji Maharaj. Reading through the pages, while initially hard to understand, I started to get hold of the poems one by one. Two factors contributed to this:
  1.    The brilliant style in which Shri. Bedekar recites the poems rubs off on you, and you attempt to learn new ones in the same way, and grasp them quickly. The meter to which the poems are set is that of veer rasa. It sets a tempo of excitement, bravado.
  2.     The Marathi translations provided by the translator Durgaprasad Asaram Tiwari are fantastic. All poems have been fabulously translated retaining the rhyme and meaning in equal measures.
These styles of saying the poem and its valuable translations have made me understand them better. They do come out as a valid evidence of the events of the past. A lot more on this issue has been dealt with in depth by Shri. Bedekar in his cassette titled “ Shivaji ani Kavi Bhushan”. The set of four cassettes is actually a must listen to all of us,  for they bring out the reality from the 17th century, and not the cover up versions provided by the government to appease certain people. Bhushan, thus plays a big role in fully understanding Shivaji. It has been said that his collection of poems on Shivaji do not include events such as his coronation, so there must be other, as of now unknown set of poems which do tell of these events, for they are unlikely to escape the eyes of Bhushan.

For all of us, eager to learn more about Shivaji in an unbiased way, and not the government cover up way, then such literature is of utmost importance, and efforts must be taken to translate it into English, which unfortunately has become the language to reach the masses today.  Literature given by people such as Shri Bedekar and Purandare is priceless in its value. However, to gain a better perspective, Ive also referred to books by authors such as Kinciad, Jadunath Sarkar, and Grant Duff. However, all these are latter accounts, from a point of view of the author. Such literature though, is always welcome, for it gives a fresh outlook. A few sources can, and will actually shed more light on the life of shivaji- Shivbharat by Kavindra Paramanand, Shivbhushan by Kavibhushan, other so far unknown and lost collections of KaviBhushan, and better studies of the letters, bakhars and other historical data from that period. It is totally upto us to get this task done, and uncover the glorious deeds of the King before whom even 300 years after his death we bow down in respect.

The  sole purpose of writing this article was to try and reignite the fire of history within myself and inspire myself as well as others to spend some time of our lives devoted to this glorious study. As and when time permits from my PhD studies, I go through the writings of Bhushan which are available in pdf formats. (You can contact me by mailing to me.punekar@gmail.com, I can send you the pdf) It certainly sheds a new light on our outlook on Maharaj. 

To end this post, I'm putting up one of the most famous poems composed by Kavi Bhushan and its poetic translation in Marathi by Shri Durgaprasad Asaram Tiwari, and an english word to word translation by myself. The mention of Kavi Bhushan invokes in the Marathi souls the spirit of the poem “Indra jimi Jrambha par” made immortal by Pt. Hridaynath Mangeshkar and Lataji, and refurbished with a new look by the superb duo of Ajay-Atul for a Star Majha Serial. Although both versions are superb, I still urge people to get hold of the version read by Shri. Bedekar in many of his cassettes for that is the best one we have.

The story of this poem is as brilliant as the poem itself. When shivaji maharaj was on his daily patrol of the Raigad fort, he saw a stranger sitting near the Mandir on the fort. On asking, he came to know that this stranger was a poet from North who had come to sing ballads on Shivaji. Maharaj, who was disguised at the time requested the poet to sing a poem. The poet with all his gusto sang the poem given below. Maharaj was so awe struck by the lucidity of it that he requested the poet to sing it again and again, 18 times in total, till the poet could sing it no longer. The next day, when the poet came to the royal court, he was awarded 18lakh Hons and 18 villages as gift- one for each time he had sung the poem the previous night. While this story can never be authenticated, it is a brilliant one, for it tells of the donations of Maharaj- another quality which Bhushan so often praises.
So, yes, without saying much, here is the original poem from Shivbhushan itself and its translations:

इंद्र जिमि जम्भपर, वाडव सुअंभ पर, रावन सदंभ पर रघुकुल-राज है |
पौन बरीबाह पर, संभु रतिनाह पर, ज्यो सहसबाह पर राम द्विजराज है||
दावा द्रुमदंड पर, चीता मृग झुंड पर भूषण वीतुंड पर जैसे मृगराज है|
तेज तम अंस पर, कान्ह जिमि कंस पर, त्यो मलिच्छ बंस पर सेर सिवराज है||

 जम्भावारी इंद्र, लांकापतीच्यावारी की जसा जानकीचा पती|
मेघावरी वायू, कामावरी की महादेव- ज्याची तापाची रती ||
दुःशासनाच्या वारी भीम, किंवा कन्हय्या जसा दुष्ट कंसावरी|
हा भोसले- भूप गाझी शिवाजी तसा भूतली म्लेंच्छ वंशावरी ||

Like Indra attacking Jambhasura, or as an inextinguishable fire dancing on open ocean and like Shri Ram attaking Ravana
Like the winds that blow away the storm clouds, or like Shiva who incinerates the arrogant husband of rati, and like Parshuram on Sahasrarjuna,
Like a fire which decimates the forest, Like a leopard that stalks a deer herd and like an emboldened lion who attacks an elephant,
Like the light of dawn that dispersed darkness, and like Krishna who kills Kans, like all the above the lion hearted Shivaji-the religious protector of the earth is fighting the clan of Mlenchchhas.

(I cannot make it any more poetic, I call on my friends who do it better to come up with something. Ive just given the literal translation of the original verse.)

5 comments:

  1. Wonderful. And take pride in knowing that you have inspired me to restart reading about our history, especially that which pertains to Shivaji.

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  2. interesting and inspiring. please send me the pdf files on bhushan on nalin9@gmail.com. thanks for reminding me about bhushan to whom i read in my final year graduation studies.

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  3. please send me the pdf files on bhushan on saisadashiva@yahoo.com

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  4. Could you please send me the pdf of Marathi translation of Shivabhushan at (ameya.dhanashri@gmail.com)

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