Oct 16, 2009
Kavi Shri Niranjan Narharibhai Bhagat,
• (b. 18-5-1926, Ahmedabad )
This Diwali time, I chose a lovely poem by Shri Niranjan Bhagat , titled " Let us shake hands". It was a sheer joy to write it 20-30 times on the back of a post card - a joy which is different than the convenience of "cut & paste" of modern word processing ! The joy was so enhanced when a friend from Surat rang up to convey how much he liked it. Post card costs just 50 paise ( or one US cent) and in less than 24 hours, our grand old postal system had delivered it his town 75 kms away!! Thanks dear Post Office team!!
I am tempted to share it here, but not in my hand writing. Instead, I have scribbled another of his poem " I have come here only to wander" , on a back of another post card, waiting to travel to another town .
It is worth trying your hand at the post card, of course if you have time, inclination ( and the postal address of your friend !!)
( Addl information as an extract : courtesy http://gujaratonline.com/arts/nbhagat.htm)
'Chhandolaya' (1943) and 'Kinnari' (1959) brought to us poems Niranjan Bhagat had written since 1943. These collections created a new note; a beginning of what is called in historical terms, ‘Rajendra-Niranjan Yug.' The Age of Rajendra-Niranjan was the one following that of Sundaram and Umashankar. With this, Niranjan Bhagat established himself as a major poet of the language.
Niranjan Bhagat has always been an urban poet, unlike his predecessors Umashankar, Sundaram and Rajendra who moved to the cities after a rural life. Niranjan was born in the textile city-Ahmedabad. Save a few years in Mumbai, Niranjan Bhagat's childhood, adolescence and youth were all spent in Ahmedabad.
Niranjan Bhagat was born in businessman's family and originally his last name was 'Gandhi’. His grandfather was an active member of a 'bhajan-mandali' and hence came to be known as Bhagat.
Niranjan’s uncle Ram Bhagat was an exemplary student of English Literature and studied Law in London for a few years. The uncle had an untimely death. However, among the things he left behind-books etc.-was a map of London. This injected a desire in the young Niranjan to travel in the city of London. The desire found fulfillment to the extent that since 1982 Niranjan Bhagat has been visiting London every year.
The most tragic event of Niranjan's family and his personal life took place when his father renounced home in 1936. Niranjan was ten years old then. There has been no news from his father since then. Niranjan’s poetry reflects a quest for childhood as well as for the father.
Rabindranath Tagore died in 1941.The experience of reading 'Gitanjali' was a profound one for Niranjan Bhagat. He wrote about 100 poems in English in the style of 'Gitanjali'. He taught himself Bengali to read Rabindranath in the original. He even tried his hand at writing in Bengali.
Niranjan Bhagat studied English Literature in Elphinstone College, Mumbai. Living in Mumbai brought a profound, yet tangible difference to Niranjan's poetic consciousness. The poet completed his M.A. in 1950 and joined L.D. Arts College as a lecturer. After teaching in various colleges, Niranjan Bhagat retired from St. Xavier's College in 1986.
It is hardly a matter of surprise that Niranjan Bhagat came under the influence of western modernism with his wide range of exposure and experience as a teacher of English Literature. His poetic consciousness has been constituted by poets like Baudelaire, Pound, Eliot, Auden and Rilke. Niranjan Bhagat's poetry indicates the first contact Gujarati poetry made with modernism.
In addition to creative writing, criticism and editing, Niranjan has established a significant place for himself even in the field of translation. He has translated many Bengali poems of Rabindranath Tagore into Gujarati. He has also rendered Tagore's verse-play 'Chitrangada' into Payar chhand. His translation of 'Svapnavasavasavadattam' (The Vision of Vasavadatta, Penguin,1972) was enacted in the United States.
Niranjan Bhagat was awarded the 'Kumar Chandrak' in 1949 for the best contribution to the monthly 'Kumar' during the year. In 1957, his collection 'Chhandolay‘ was adjudged as the best collection of poems during the previous five pears and he was awarded the 'Narmad Suvarna Chandrak'. In 1969, he received the 'Ranjitram Suvarna Chandrak' for his outstanding contribution to Gujarati literature.
At-present, translating Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal'and 'Petits poems en prose' from French into Gujarati