Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Cloud

“I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
From the seas and streams,
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid
In their noonday dreams….”

You must have guessed by now who that “I” is. And, your guess is correct. The “I” being referred to is the Cloud. The above two lines have been taken from the poem “The Cloud”, written by Percy Bysshe Shelly. It is like an autobiography of a cloud.

The poem starts off by talking about what the Cloud does for the flowers and leaves and sweet buds of the earth. In the second stanza, the Cloud talks about one of its experiences. The Cloud says that it was trapped on top of a tower like the princess of a fairy tale. Then, the lightning came to rescue it just like a prince. The Cloud then escaped with the prince. The Cloud went with the lightning in search of the lightning’s love. The poet has imagined a genii as the lightning’s love. The lightning doesn’t know where the genii is. But, it goes in search of its love “over the rills and the crags, and the hills, over the lakes and the plains…” So, Shelly has made a very beautiful comparison with a fairy tale here.

In the third stanza, we look at the sunrise and sunset through the eyes of the Cloud. “The sanguine Sunrise” is compared to a bird. The golden rays of the sun are like the outspread wings of a bird. The Cloud acts like a ship during sunrise and as the ship floats in the sky, the sun leaps onto its deck. During sunset, as the sky turns crimson, the Cloud rests peacefully in the sky. At this moment, the Cloud is like a dove resting peacefully in its nest.

We also see the beauty of the moon through the Cloud’s eyes. The moon has been picturized as a maiden who makes a rent in the roof of the Cloud. As this rent widens, the reflection of the stars fall on the rivers, lakes and seas . It seems as though these reflections are like “strips of sky” and the water bodies are paved with them.

In the next stanza, Shelly makes another extraordinary comparison. He says that the storm is like a war. In this war, the Cloud is the king and the rivals are hurricane, fire and snow. But, at the end of the storm or the war, the Cloud is victorious. Just as the captives are chained to the throne of the king after a war, hurricane, fire and snow are chained to the Cloud’s throne here. The victorious king also marches through an arch. Here, the “million-coloured bow” acts as the arch for the Cloud.

But, I think that the best part of the poem is the last stanza. The Cloud says that after a shower, the sky is absolutely clear. It is not present in the sky anymore. Therefore, for the mortals, it is dead. The sunbeams build up a blue dome in the sky. This blue dome marks the end of the Cloud and serves as its cenotaph. But, the Cloud has a different opinion.
“I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb,like a ghost from the tomb,
I arise, and unbuild it again.”
This is what it says. Obviously, the Cloud can never die. It can change its form and be in the liquid or in the condensed state, but it can never die. It will move on with its existence and that, I think, is the most touching part of this beautiful poem.

Friday, November 09, 2007

The power of candlelight

“Mere jane ke baad awaaz uthana….” (“Please raise voices of protest after I leave…”).

The above line has become very important for the media now a days. It is actually an SMS, which had been sent by a very simple young man by the name of Rizwanur Rahman to a friend, hours before his death. Rizwanur, 30, expired on the morning of 21st September, 2007. But, his death was not normal. There were (and still are) deep mysteries behind his death. Those mysteries are like entangled ropes and the police have still not been able to clear up the mess. As the unending story about the Rahmans, the Todis, the Police Commissioner, Prasun Mukherjee and other officers like Gyanwant Singh, Ajoy Kumar, etc., etc., continues to haunt the police, Rizwanur’s SMS continues to move the people. Yes, the people. The common man.

Rizwanur Rahman, a common man, married his student, Priyanka Todi, a rich man’s daughter. So, Priyanka Todi left the comfort of her rich parents’ house and went to live with her husband in his small tiled house. And the result? Priyanaka’s father, Ashok Todi, started threatening a married couple with police help. Finally, he brought his daughter back to his own house and made sure that Rizwanur was swept out of the way.

In a very rare example of a criminal case, it’s not the CPI (M) or the Trinamool or some other party, which is raising the voice of protest. And, even if they have tried to protest, they have not exactly been successful. They have only called a bandh or two. But, those bandhs have adversely affected the daily life of the people. But, lighting candles in front of St. Xavier’s College or sitting in front of the College for hours, in protest, or signing Rizwanur’s photo with different comments, has not affected the people adversely even for a fraction of a second. It has been a silent vigil all through. All those people have not solved the numerous mysteries behind Rizwanur’s death. They have only prayed for justice. They have only tried to remember Rizwanur’s last words and fulfill his last desire . They have only tried to raise voices of protest. And, it is this act of the people, which has been successful and has been a source of solace for the Rahman family. The way the people have responded to Rizwan’s SMS, has given them the courage to continue their fight for justice.

Nobody knows how Rizwanur died. Nobody knows whether he was murdered or whether he murdered himself. The incredible amount of corruption in our administration will probably never allow these questions to be answered. Legally, perhaps, this will remain one of the many unsolved cases. But, the Rahmans will always feel happy realizing that they have got the support of the entire country. Rizwan’s request hasn’t been ignored. And, hopefully, Rizwan’s soul will rest in peace, thanks to the innumerable prayers. This incident will remain in the pages of history because of the response it elicited from the people in a democratic nation. It doesn’t really matter whether the CBI solves the case or the CID. They are all the same. We’ll only keep on reading new twists in the story everyday in the newspaper (and forget them very soon). But, the real action, the real protest, will rule our hearts and minds in the days to come.