Papia Sengupta presents two poems in Hindi, translated into English by Smeetha Bhoumik


नाम क्या है पूछते हो तो बताऊँ तुमहे कि क्या हूँ मैं । 
कभी खुशी का फव्वारा तो कभी गम की बौछार हूँ मैं। 
न पूरी पतझङ और ना ही बसंत की बाहार हूँ मैं । 
हॅसी और दर्द के बीच का अहसास हूँ मैं ।

न जब सुबह खीली हो और न ही रात पूरी ढली हो। 
उस भौर से पहले का आभास हूँ मैं ।

हर शहर हर पहर हर गाँव को तो दिया है नाम तुमने। 
अब मुझ पर करते हो सवाल कि कौन हूँ मैं । 
नहीं बाँट सकते हो दो हिस्सों में वो आसमान हूँ मैं ।

मैं शीतल पवन। मैं झुंझलाती अगन।
युद्ध के बीच मौत का अमन।
न नाम न कौम। न ही रहती हूँ मौन, लवजो के बीच की शान्त हूँ मैं ।


What's the name you ask, so let me tell you what I am.
At times a fount of happiness, at others, a sad shower am I.
Not the full decay of fall, neither the blossoms of spring am I.
Between laughter and pain, that's the feeling am I.

Not the sparkle of morning, nor the complete clearance of night.
Moments before dawn, that's the feeling am I.

Every city, every scape, every village you have named.
Now you are asking me who am I.
That which you cannot divide into two portions, that sky am I.

I am a cool breeze. I am the roaring fire.
In the midst of war the call for peace.
No name no nationality. I don't remain silent, but the silence between words am I

खुद को खुद ही मे समेटे हुए
अपनी गर्माहट की चादर लपेटे  हुए, 
चली जा रही थी मै।
कभी दबे पांव,  कभी सरपट
कभी थके हुये, कभी हर पल को जीते हुए।।

तभी तुमने आकर मेरा हाथ थामा
सरल मुस्कुरा के दोनो हाथो मे समेटा ।
मुझे माँ  कहकर, तुमने पुकारा
मेरी तन्हाई को तुमने संवारा।।

एक नयी पहचान,  एक नया नाम दिया तुमने
मुझ को, मुझी से, तुमने मिलाया ।
सब कहते है, मै माँ हू तुम्हारी 
मगर मुझमे ममता तुम्ही ने जगाई।।

मेरे साथ हंसना, मेरे साथ रोना, 
और कमी मुझको डॉटकर चुप कराना।
मेरी माँ जैसी, तुम बेटी हो मेरी,
मुझे पूरा बनना तुम ही ने सिखाया।।


Wrapping the self within myself
Clad in sheets of my own warmth
I've kept moving on
Sometimes on tiptoe, at times a gallop
Sometimes tired out, and at others living every moment.

Then you came and held my hand
Smiling easily, you took my hands in yours,
Called me "mother", and crying out loud,
My loneliness you made better.

A new identity, a new name you gave me
You introduced me to myself
Everyone says I am your mother,
But the mother in me, it's you who have invoked!

With me in laughter, with me in tears,
Sometimes scolding me into silence
Like my mother you are, daughter of mine
You have taught me to become whole.

Dr. Papia Sengupta, has a doctorate in Political Theory and Indian Politics from the Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University where she now teaches. Dr. Sengupta has long experience in teaching and mentorship of students and was awarded the Distinguished Teacher of Delhi University Award. Her research interests are in decolonization, institutional-mechanisms for minority accommodation, democratic and human rights, language-education and policies of multiculturalism and gender issues. She is the author of Language as Identity in Colonial India: Policies and Politics (2018) and Critical Sites of Inclusion in Higher Education in India (2022). Dr. Sengupta has published in reputed national and international journals including Economic and Political Weekly, Geoforum, International Journal on Diversity, Social Action, International Journal of Multilingualism and Droit et Cultures. She has been a fellow at Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities, University of Edinburgh (2016), Brown University (2015), Institute of Federalism, University of Fribourg, 2013. Dr. Sengupta has held visiting professor positions at Rhodes University in South Africa and at University of Edinburgh in 2016. She won the South Solidarity award for her work on language in 2021 by International Association for Applied Linguistics The Netherlands.