Monday, January 30, 2006

My life is my message

January 30, 1948. It's 58 years since that fateful Friday, when an assasin's bullet felled Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. In India, January 30 is marked as Martyr's Day, in remembrance of those who gave their life in the cause of freedom.

Something that our visiting priest said in Sunday's homily reminded me of this poem. In refering to Mark's account of Jesus' teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum, he said that the evangelist doesn't tell us what Jesus said that had the crowds astonished. This is a useful reminder that often it isn't what one says, but how one lives that is most important.

The following poem was composed by the great Gujarati poet Umashankar Joshi as a tribute to the Mahtma. "Maaru jeevan ej maari vaani." My life is my speech/witness.

મારું જીવન એ જ મારી વાણી
બીજું તે તો ઝાકળ પાણી
મારા શબ્દો ભલે નાશ પામો
કાળ ઉદરમાંહી વિરામો
મારા ક્રુત્ય બોલી રહે તોય
જગે કેવળ સત્ય નો જય
મારો એજ ટકે આધાર
જેમાં સત્ય નો જયજયકાર
સત્ય ટકે, છો જાય આ દાસ
સત્ય એજ હો છેલ્લો શ્વાસ
એને રાખવાનું કોણ બાંધી
એને મળી રહશે એના ગાંધી.
જન્મી પામવો મુક્ત સ્વદેશ
મારું જીવન એ જ સંદેશ.

This is a really rough translation, which really does not convey the beauty of the original.

My life is my witness
Everything else is like waste water.
If my words be destroyed
ruined by the effects of time
If my deeds say anything
Let it only be the victory of truth.
My only worth is in
the victory cry of truth
Let truth remain, let this servant pass
Let truth be my last breath
Who can tie it down?
It will find its Gandhi.
To bring to birth a free nation,
My life is my message.

[For those interested in a transliteration:
Maaru jeevan ej mari vaani
Beejun te to jhaakar paani.
Maara shabdo bhalay naash pamo
Kaal udarmaanhi viramo
Mara krutya bolay rahay toy
Jagay keval satya no jay.
Maaro ej tako aadhaar
Jemaan satyano jayjaykaar
Satya takay chho jaay aa daas
Satya ej ho cheelo shvaas!
Aynay raakhvanu kon baandhi
Aynay maali rahshay aynaa gandhi
Janmi pamvo mukta svadesh
Maaru jeevan ej sandesh.]


Waldie's World said...

the translation may be rough, but i still think that's a pretty cool poem. might add it to my collection. thanks for sharing.

Niraj said...

If you would like to listen to it you can listen it here: