Sonali Pattnaik’s poem ‘Identity in non-separation’, translated into Hindi by Smeetha Bhoumik

Identity in non-separation

they say, when they see my daughter
express her infallible love 
for me that makes
of the strongest and coldest heart
a gushing river
that makes legs into seas, 
that it will end one day, you'll see
that the separation between 
mother and child
hadn't yet taken place,
but I refused to believe
in this "stages of growth" theory
or in "separation as identity"
we swim in instead
in the sea of connectivity
drenched in the rain
of intertwined desire
not split by the mirror

I know when i see her
speak calmly and proudly
of just who she is
that my love for her
is the fount of her self-love
the cornerstone of her dialogue
with all the world,
I know that loving me fiercely
is the tool with which she carves
out her unique identity,
that identity is not a balancing act
between self and other
a trade-off or a pact
marked with forcible severance
or slants or the breaking of hearts,
not one of us is ever separated 
from our mothers,
we walk in the invisible 
weave of a mother's being,
some wispy, marked with blood
or with the flimsy ropes of loss,
some forever ghosts, loveless
in deathly silences hovering

my not believing in hearsay 
but that which I feel and hear and see
gives me and her the brushes
with which to colour the threads
that tie us to each other
for cycles of eternity
with love and boundless joy
unspooling fearlessly
not in erasure or a cutting
but in celebration of the embedding
of one in the other,
we become more ourselves
through this wild grafting
richer in indubitable togetherness
not shrinking or fighting
in territorial isolation
her identity not surrendered
to painful separation
but cast in strength
as the warp and weft
of a bonded skein.

(From Sonali Pattnaik's poetry collection 'when the flowers begin to speak', Writers' Workshop, 2022)

पहचान अलग न होने में  

वह  कहते  हैं , मेरी  बेटी  को  देख 
अभ्रान्त  प्यार  व्यक्त  करती  हुई 
मेरे  लिए  जिससे  बनते 
बेदर्द  और  निष्ठुर  ह्रदय  भी 
एक  बहती  नदी 
जिससे  बनते पैर  समुन्दर 
की एक  दिन यह  ख़तम  होगा , तुम  देखना 
की अलगाव 
माँ  और  बेटी  के  बीच 
अभी  तक  नहीं  हुआ है। 
पर  मैं  नहीं  मानती 
इस  वृद्धि  के  चरण  की  सिद्धांत  को 
या  अलगपन  पहचान  के  रूप  में।
बल्कि  हम तैरते 
संयोजकता  की  समंदर  में 
भीगते  बारिश  में 
गुंथे  हुए  चाहत  की 
नाकि  विभाजित  आईने  से 
मैं-वह- वह- मैं ।

मुझे  मालूम  होता  है  जब  उसे  देखती 
शांति से  गर्व  से  कहते  हुए 
की  वह  कौन  है 
की  मेरा  प्यार  ही  उसके  लिए 
उसकी  स्वप्रेम  का  फुवारा  है 
उसकी  वार्ता  का  आधारशीला  है 
साडी  दुनिया  के  साथ ।
मुझे  पता  है  की मेरे  वास्ते  प्रचंड  प्यार 
उसकी  औजार  है  तराशने  के  लिए 
उसकी  निजी  अद्वितीय  पहचान 
जो  पहचान  एक  संतुलन  कार्य  नहीं 
खुद  और  पराये  के  बीच 
अदला-बदली  या  समझौता 
जिसमे  हो  जबरन  विच्छेद 
या  तिरछा , या  दिल  तोड़ता ।
हम  में  से  कोई  कभी  नहीं  बिछड़ता 
अपनी  माँ  से ,
हम  चलते  हैं  अदृश्य 
बुनाई  में  ममता  की 
कुछ  धुंधला , खून  भरे  निशान 
या  खो  देने  के  कमजोर  रस्सियों  से  बंधे 
कुछ  हमेशा  भूतिया , बिन  प्यार ,
घातक  चुप्पी  में  मंडराते ।

मेरे  अफवाह मैं नहीं  विश्वास 
पर मैं  जो  महसूस  करती , सुनती , देखती 
वह  मेरे  और  उसके  टूलियन  बनती 
जिससे  धागे  रंगते 
हमें  साथ  बांधने  वाले 
अनंत  काल  के  चक्र  में 
प्यार  और  असीम  आनंद  से 
निडर  खुलता  हुआ 
न तो  अपमार्जन , न  विच्छेद 
बल्कि  उत्सव  जड़ने  की 
एक  दूसरे  में ।
हम  और  भी  खुद  को  बनाते  हैं 
यह  जंगली  कलम  बंधन  से 
और  भी  अमीर  निर्वाद  एकता  से 
न  सिकुड़ते , न लड़ते 
प्रादेशिक  एकांत  में 
उसकी  पहचान  हार  नहीं मानी 
दर्द  भरी  अलगाव  को 
पर  ताकत  से  जुडी 
उस  ताने  और बाने 
भरी  बंधे  हुए  खाल  में ।

Dr.Sonali Pattnaik is a feminist poet, an educator, academic and artist. She is the author of a book of
poems titled when the flowers begin to speak, Writers Workshop, India and is the recipient of The
Orange Flower Award for Poetry, 2022. She was formerly Asst. Professor of English (full-time) at
Delhi University’s Kirori Mal College and has taught Literature in English for more than twelve years
to students of Delhi University, Mumbai University and SNDT University. She is mostly a self-taught
artist and began writing poetry when she was thirteen. She is currently associated with St. Xavier's
College Ahmedabad and is working on her upcoming book on Masquerade in Indian Cinema from
Orient Black Swan.
Smeetha Bhoumik is an artist, editor, poet, founder- WE Literary Community, 2016, founding editor Yugen Quest Review, 2021, Chief Editor of a WE anthology. and author of two poetry collections :Where I Belong – Moments, Mist & Song (2019), Return to Love – The Point of Poetry (2021). As founder- WE, she is instrumental in establishing the Kamala Das Poetry Award (2018),  Eunice de Souza Award (2020), The WE Trailblazer Teacher Poet Award, WE Gifted Poet Award, and Special Recognition Book Prizes. Her poems feature in national/ international journals, anthologies including Oxygen - Parables of the Pandemic 2022, Quesadilla & Other Adventures 2019, Muse India 2017, 2018, Life and Legends 2018, Modern Indian Poetry – a Sahitya Akademi anthology, 2019, Unlikely Stories Mark V, Open Your Eyes - A Climate Change Anthology, Freedom Raga, Poetry & Covid project - Universities of Plymouth, and Nottingham Trent, Writing Language, Culture - Asia vs Africa, Mwanaka, among others.

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