This poem is of the era when food scarcity and droughts were chronic problems in India. The joy of getting some grains and cooking food after days without food can be imagined. It would have been celebrated not only by humans but the tiny animal life that lurked around. Enjoy this classic short poem by Nagarjun.
अकाल और उसके बाद: नागार्जुन
कई दिनों तक कानी कुतिया सोई उसके पास
कई दिनों तह लगी भीत पर छिपकलियों की गश्त‚
कई दिनों तक चूहों की भी हालत रही शिकस्त।
दाने आये घर के अंदर बहुत दिनों के बाद‚
धुंआं उठा आंगन से ऊपर बहुत दिनों के बाद‚
चमक उठीं घर भर की आंखें बहुत दिनों के बाद‚
कौए नें खुजलाई पांखें बहुत दिनों के बाद।
He started his literary career with Maithili poems by the pen-name of Yatri (यात्री) in the early 1930s. By the mid 1930s, he started writing poetry in Hindi. His first permanent job of a full-time teacher, took him to Saharanpur (Uttar Pradesh), though he didn’t stay there for long as his urge to delve deeper into Buddhist scriptures, took him to the Buddhist monastery at Kelaniya, Sri Lanka, where in 1935, he became a Buddhist monk, entered the monastery and studied the scriptures, just as his mentor, Rahul Sankrityayan had done earlier, and hence took upon the name “Nagarjun”. While at the monastery, he also studied Leninism and Marxism ideologies, before returning to India in 1938 to join ‘Summer School of Politics’ organised by noted peasant leader, Sahajanand Saraswati, founder of Kisan Sabha. A wanderer by nature, Nagarjun spent a considerable amount of his time in the 1930s and the 1940s travelling across India.
He also participated in many mass-awakening movements before and after independence. Between 1939 and 1942, He was jailed by the British courts for leading a farmer’s agitation in Bihar. For a long time after independence he was involved with journalism.
He played an active role in Jayaprakash Narayan’s movement prior to the Emergency period (1975–1977), and therefore was jailed for eleven months, during the emergency period. He was strongly influenced by Leninist-Marxist ideology. This was one of the reasons that he never found patronage from the mainstream political establishments.
He died in 1998 at the age of 87 in Darbhanga.