22nd June 2012, This Day, Last Year



This is what we call Indian ingenuity –

All scam records are wiped clean;

One helluva decisive conspiracy,

On fire raging in Mantralaya we’re keen

To know, and wonder about the timing.

In one masterstroke that destroys,

All scam related documented ploys,

But still no one at all is really whining.

For nowadays, even spectators appreciate

Slimy, cunning innovation that may grate

Of a deviousness that’s quite chilling,

A moral turpitude long simmering.

Fifteen were injured and two died,

But in Kali Yug, that’s a small aside.



Now even the Left is divided on

The issue of Pranab’s candidature.

And the CPM sees a new dawn;

Its anti Trinamool stance is miniature.

This is what the Left is reduced to:

A house divided, agenda-less,

Eliciting a strange queasiness;

A marginal future will have to do.

Again in the news is Kapil Sibal.

The HRD minister fails to sell,

For all IITs a common entrance test,

For each thinks they are the best.

We have this knack sometimes I think,

Each to our own, even if we sink.



For we are an easy prey of gleeful sufferers

Stoned in a patriotic cage for victims,

A tolerant fatuous bunch of duffers,

Weighed under idiotic self-limiting dictums.

As a country we’ve on shortages grown,

Afflicted deeply by a starvation syndrome,

Burdened under it, we soundlessly groan,

Snatching in response, or living on loan,

Hungrily devouring power and position,

Steal before it exhausts, the driving notion.

It’s the insecure fear of missing and losing.

Grabbing, snatching, and greedily consuming,

We’re agriculturists lost and confused amid industry.

Ensnared completely by ritualistic astrometry.


10 responses

  1. May the power of your writing serve your cause well, this day and every day.

    1. nirbhayasindia | Reply

      Thank you so much. 3 sonnets are posted each day to cover the event blow by blow. And it’s eeerie how nothing changes. In June last year the rupee fell to new low (this year, same month too); the Bombay monsoons wrecked have havoc and now in the same month Uttarakhand! Thanks for following and hope you continue to follow

    2. nirbhayasindia | Reply

      WordPress had deactivated my blog by mistake, but now it’s up. Thought I will let you know.

  2. Hi, Nirbhaya’s India! I am enjoying reading your sonnets. But I have a question — I thought sonnets are strict on the number of syllables and the rhyming of lines. But I see that you have found some freedom within the genre. Would you please tell my your source for this freer style of sonnets? I would love to read about it. Thanks! Great post!

    1. nirbhayasindia | Reply

      Hi Judith,
      Thank you for asking a question on the form itself and I may have a longish answer.
      From the time the sonnet was invented by the Sicilian poet Lentini, the sonnet has undergone innumerable variation, even while it has retained two aspects that qualify it to be called a sonnet – one, that it must have 14 lines and two, they must follow a strict rhyming pattern (i.e which line rhymes with which line must be the same for all sonnets).

      Now the reason why the sonnet has many versions as perhaps poets perhaps is of course individual preference but also language and content. Now Pushkin’s classic Eugene Onegin was written in Russian, considered to be a much richer and nuanced language than English and that made it’s strict translation impossible and many versions emerged. Vikram Seth followed the rhyming pattern of the Pushkin sonnets, but not strictly meter in all cases, if you read The Golden Gate carefully. Even the Iambic pentameter has not remained through the life of this form called sonnets.
      Many versions of the sonnets have evolved (and are still evolving) since the original italian sonnet. Even while the Shakespearean sonnet follows the iambic pentameter but Sir Philip Sidney’s has 12 syllables. So even ‘English’ sonnets have huge variations.
      The 12th century sonnets in Italy determined their form from the storyline! Quatrains were based on argument, proposition, problem, question and resolution! Thus what you are trying to achieve must dictate the form, rather that be imprisoned by the form.
      Dante had his own variations and in fact he did not always follow the same rhyming scheme!
      The Occitan sonnets which were about war had their own celebratory style which broke many conventions.
      In Shakespearean sonnet, the volta or the thematic turn or summary comes in the last two lines i.e. the couplet (something I have followed too)
      The remarkable thing about sonnets has been that when they have idled (by that I mean when their subject or theme has been a passive one like eg romance), they have managed to stay trapped in strict form, but sonnets as a form that are powerful to use when there is a purpose. They have been often used in revolutions and war.
      Nirbhaya’s India is the story of the awakening of a spent nation and while it is a chronicle (I am not aware of any other poet / sonnet that has been a chronicle), it has a story, which I at least can see. And I am joining the dots, making lines to see patterns leading to outcomes. I have a specific purpose for which I have chosen a specific rhyming pattern that I follow in all sonnets (abab, abba, aabb,aa) that is because, I use the volte to say something quotable in the end (it’s about spreading the word), and I have to build to a climax. I cannot afford a Pushkin method of putting the abba quatrain later, because then I can’t make it climax as well. Then my poetry has to be mass – that is it’s purpose. That is why I have worked hard to make it more limmerical rather than lyrical, as I am fond of saying. Then I use contemporary language, because I, the poet am not some exotic commentator, but am the voice of the people, so I must speak in their voice.
      As a matter of fact, the sonnet has been one of the most flexible forms of poetry. And just as even grammar is evolving, poetry is too. Now the Spencerean was almost child-like in simplicity. That made it more readable. Poetry is in itself trapped in an irony. Almost everyone is a poet! But very few can be read. That’s because poetry has often become a loud musing that has to do with one’s own self, rather than the reader! In Nirbhaya’s India, I have intentionally not even shared the name of the poet i.e me! Because it is not about me. It is about Nirbhaya’s India and Nirbhaya’s India must understand my sonnets! And one lesser know form of sonnets is actually the Urdu Sonnet of the Indian sub continent. It has its own variations, partly also because, as many would say, that as a language Urdu is perhaps richer than even Russian. And because it’s themes were driven by the period of its royal patronage and therefore chose the form accordingly.
      Phew! This post was longer than any other! But Judith, you really asked a very pertinent question, a question I asked myself too before deciding to write Nirbhaya’s India in sonnets. I bet you are planning to write something big. All the best!

      1. Nirbhaya’s India, you taught me more in this comment than I learned in entire years of literature classes. Thank you for that. I was aware that not all sonnets follow one rhyme scheme, but I must admit I thought those were aberrations of the basic form. You have piqued my interest — I will be researching and practicing the many different types of sonnets. Meanwhile, I have an ongoing spat with my father, who believes I should stick to strict form and vocabulary. This is one of my sonnets: http://thesundripshoney.com/2012/12/16/a-lament/
        Thanks for all the info! Judith

        1. nirbhayasindia | Reply

          There was a word I once wrote in a fiction manuscript. It came out of my mind and slipped out of my pen just like that. It was altitudinarian. As I type it, it has the red underline, begging a spell check. Upon reading it, an acclaimed editor and famous writer said that the word doesn’t exist, but it works! I ran to every dictionary I know and couldn’t locate it. It still sits in my manuscript. But now I even find it in dictionaries. There is no such thing as strict rules in writing. Remember we were simians who once wrote nothing! Do read a book called ‘Narcopolis’ by Jeet Thayil. It was nominated for the Booker. The first chapter, a long one, is written in a single sentence without punctuation and it is beautiful. Why do the best of writers face scores of rejections? Because they break conventions and the publishing industry is rife with people who follow the rule book everywhere! From a query letter, to a synopsis, to even a story line for Godsake. One glance at Tolstoy’s War and Peace, will tell you that he couldn’t have published today! Thank god for self publishing. And thank god twice, for blogging!

  3. Very powerful writing. You are right thanks for blogging otherwise where would I go with so less knowledge. I always though that thoughts and expressions are more important then all grammar and punctuations.

    1. nirbhayasindia | Reply

      Dear Indira,

      Many thanks for all you have said. We in India, especially the class that is still seeking azaadi, needs to be on the same page on the same day. Nirbhaya’s death was an ‘event’ that brought people together; now it is the man-made disaster of floods in Uttarakhand. Please do share our thoughts and verses with your friends and dear ones.
      Many thanks for following. I post 3 sonnets a day to chronicle each day starting with 17th June last year i.e. 2012 and it is eerie how things are mirrored year of year. Last year, same time, it was floods in Bombay, because like I am fond of poetically saying “but when water flooded in from the sea; we still exclaimed what can the matter be”. The ‘but’ in the beginning of the sentence was the man-made element in the disaster.

      Thanks and be around please.

    2. nirbhayasindia | Reply

      My blog is up again, thought i will let you know. WordPress had deactivated it by mistake.

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