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After Mahabharata

To Karthika Nair

Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee translates ‘महाभारत के बाद’ by Uday Prakash

S. H. Raza, Untitled, oil on board, 37 x 25 cm, 1964

The dhobi’s son is a little mischievous
And he lacks civility altogether
He wants to watch Mahabharata on TV and brings
Even his filthy sister along

There will be a day this serial would end

Then Dhritarashtra
Will wander all over Delhi, asking for a dhobi’s address
And the noise from horns will repeatedly strike his ears

After Mahabharata ends, says the wheel of time,
Only horns blare,
And even on searching, a dhobi is found nowhere in Indraprastha.

After Mahabharata,
On everyone’s clothes you find stains of blood.


धोबी का लड़का कुछ शैतान है
और सभ्यता की उसमें निहायत कमी है
वह महाभारत देखना चाहता है टीवी में और अपने साथ
अपनी मैली-सी बहन को भी ले आता है

एक दिन ऐसा होगा कि यह सीरियल खत्म हो चुका होगा

फिर तो धृतराष्ट्र
पूरी दिल्ली में पूछता फिरेगा किसी धोबी का पता
और उसके कान से टकराएँगी लगातार हार्न की आवाजें

महाभारत के खत्म होने के बाद कालचक्र कहता है कि
सिर्फ हार्न बजते हैं
और खोजने पर भी इंद्रप्रस्थ में कहीं कोई धोबी नहीं मिलता।

महाभारत के बाद
हर किसी के कपड़ों पर दिखाई देते हैं खून के दाग।

Manash ‘Firaq’ Bhattacharjee’s poems have appeared in The London Magazine, the New Welsh Review, The Fortnightly Review, the Elohi Gadugi Journal, Mudlark, Metamorphoses, Modern Poetry in Translation, The Postcolonialist, and The Indian Quarterly. His first collection of poetry, Ghalib’s Tomb and Other Poems (2013) was published by The London Magazine. He teaches at the School of Culture and Creative Expressions in the Ambedkar University, New Delhi.

Uday Prakash is a Hindi poet, scholar, journalist, translator and short story writer from India. He has worked as administrator, editor, researcher, and TV director. He writes for major dailies and periodicals as a freelancer. His poetry collections include Suno Kārīgara (1980), Abootar Kabootar (1984), Raat Mein Harmonium (1998), Ek Bhasha Hua Karati Hai (2009). Peelee Chhatri Wali Ladki (2001) is Prakash’s best known, and longest continuous story. Often called a ‘novella’ Prakash calls it ‘a long short story’. His 2006 novella Mohan Das has been translated into English, seven Indian languages, and adapted by the author for the ‘Mohandas’ screenplay (2009).