The pandemic poetry of Indians has roused readers far and wide
Words of anguish that remind us how lived reality could be captured evocatively by works of art
Two weeks ago, Parul Khakhar, a poet in Amreli in Gujarat, published a poem on her Facebook page that set Gujarat astir. Her 14-line poem, called Shab-Vahini Ganga (the hearse called Ganga), is written in the style of marashiya, a mournful dirge. It is haunting in its rhythm and rousing in its satirical overtones. Appalled by the sight of bodies floating in the holy river, she invokes popular phrases that rhyme with Ganga, such as ‘changa’ (all is well), Billa-Ranga (notorious murderers), and a Hindi word evoking the classic imagery of an emperor’s state of dishabille.