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Saturday November 27
|Harivansh Rai Bachchan (b. 1907) – Indian poet, Hindi language scholar – Madhushala / House of Wine [(HINDI)] (1935)|
Read the Wikipedia article about Harivansh Rai Bachchan
From an obituary for Harivansh Rai Bachchan
“He lived in an era when a great political experiment was being enacted in India — Gandhi’s non-violent campaign against the British Empire. He was living in a town, Allahabad, which was in the vanguard of that struggle and was the home of the Nehru family. A sensitive writer living in those troubled times could think nothing but harmony and hope, and it was these that preoccupied Harivansh Rai Bachchan throughout his life. His couplets were often quoted in school debates, in drinking sessions in the taverns and in the exclusive parties of affluent housewives.”
Listen to the opening verses of Madhushala
Whatever life has to offer me, I take it as sheer ecstasy.
I greet the server as a barmaid,
Such is the joy which life has to offer to me.
Never mind what I see in front of me,
To my inner eye, the world is a large tavern.
The fire of the tavern has extinguished
The passions of religions
The fire has destroyed temples, mosques, churches
Breaking them asunder
The tavern welcomes all those
Who are rid of the trappings of all faiths.
And when the protagonist would be no more, he exhorts his near ones:
Pour not pure ghee on my pyre
But this elixir,
Tie the ceremonial pots with grape vines
And fill them with more elixir
And for my last rites, my love,
Do it thus.
Invite all the imbibers,
And have a tavern indulge them.
Listen to the entire Madhushala, sung by the famous film singer, Manna Dey