Kali of Kalighat, Chitpur, Bengal, 1870
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  Nameless in Avanti  

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  Vol I : issue 4

  Gloria Orenstein
  Tapan Raychaudhuri
  Paula Gunn Allen
  Prayag Shukla
  
Shrikant Verma
  Lakshmi Kannan

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Shrikant Verma

Would it make any difference

If you were to say ‘I belong

Not to Magadh but Avanti?’

Yes, indeed it would

For then

You’d be acknowledged

As one belonging to Avanti

And you’d be compelled to forget Magadh

But you would not succeed

In forgetting Magadh

Nor would you be able to fathom

The ways of Avanti

Despite having spent a lifetime there

And then you’d tell yourself

Over and over again

‘I belong to Avanti, not Magadh’

but no one would take you seriously

You’d keep insisting

‘I speak the truth,

Avanti and not Magadh is my land’

But it would make no difference

You would remain

Unacknowledged by Magadh

And unrecognised in Avanti.

Watercolour by SUDIP ROY

 

 
Shrikant Verma was one of the most popular Hindi poets of his time