LitBirthdays November 27, 2010

November is

National Peanut Butter Lovers Month

and

National Drum Month

and

Jewish Book Month
and

National Novel Writing Month
and
American Indian / Native American Heritage Month

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Tweet us today with author birthdays!

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Saturday November 27

Harivansh Rai Bachchan (b. 1907) – Indian poet, Hindi language scholar – Madhushala / House of Wine [(HINDI)] (1935) Harivansh Rai Bachchan

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

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