Baji

On a dark night with skies gloomy
With none but silence for company
The name of Ghodkhind1 then I held
When this legend long ago had swelled.

The siege of Panhala2 was pierced
Breaking the fatal grip fierce
With the mavalas3 who have no fears
Arrives Shiva who alone wind tears.

To trample the freedom of the land
Summoned by the Shah’s4 wishes grand
Chases him with malice to strand
An army that Masud Siddi manned.

To see the light of the day
Strong swords behind need to stay
To slow the enemy along the way
Shiva chose his men for a foray.

To steal victory from those with vice
To crush vultures in the precipice
Stood a general against the nemesis
to shield a young nation’s genesis.

Shiva rides away with a heart heavy
To conquer a fort towards safety
Outnumbered with only a few handy
Positions Baji his men deftly.

The savages slide in waves of three
Each time they had to take a knee
With every shadow and every body
Battles brawny blood-stained Baji.

The Mavalas swing swords with one goal
For Shiva’s sake not to lose any control
They arose such that no shadow nor soul
Could breakthrough them to make a hole.

The chase by now has come to a stall
As Siddi prays for the leader’s fall
But with every cut Baji fights tall
Paying no heed to the reaper’s call.

The worn and weary warrior somehow
Clings to his life to fulfill his vow
Until in the air the cannon shots5 plow
Then lets go all that he held until now.

The lore of this night with all the din
I sing it to every wanderer and wind
When one man alone had scores pinned
And transformed me into a Pavankhind6.

(Read the Marathi version here)

1 Ghodkhind (Horse’s Pass) is an extremely narrow pass where only a few soldiers can pass at a time.

2 In early March 1660, Panhala came under seige of Bijapuri forces led by Siddi Jauhar. Shivaji expected that the onset of the rains would slacken the siege. But when that did not happen, Shivaji, along with the Baji Prabhu Deshpande and few hundred soldiers, escaped from Panhala towards Vishalgad.

3 The western belt of the Puna district, running along the Western Ghats for a length of 90 miles and a breadth of 12 to 24 miles, is known as Maval or the Sunset Land. From this region Shivaji drew his best soldiers, his earliest comrades, and his most devoted followers.

4 The Adilshahis were the dynasty which ruled Bijapur for many centuries. The ruler at the time was Ali Adil Shah II. Shivaji had inflicted embarrassing defeats upon the Adilshahis, and they were determined to crush him.

5 The gun-fire from Vishalgad, Shivaji’s destination fort, gave the anxiously expected signal that he had reached safety within its walls.

6 Ghodkhind was subsequently named Pavankhind (“Holy Pass”) in honor of the sacrifice of Baji Prabhu and his troops.

References:

Shivaji and His Times, Jadunath Sarkar (1920) (Available for download here)

The Siege of Panhala, 1660

Shivaji, Baji Prabhu & the Battle of Pavan Khind

बाजी

घोडखिंड मी उभा |
बाजूस बसली शांतता ||
काळोखात माझा माथा |
तेव्हा अनुभवली गाथा ||

सोडून गड पन्हाळा |
तोडून मृत्यूचा सापळा ||
जोडीस अभय मावळा |
पाहतो सर्जा चालला ||

चुरडाया स्वराज्य आली |
आदिलशाही हुकूम पाळती ||
मागे फौज बिजापुरी |
संगे मसूद सिद्दी ||

राजाला कळून चुकलं |
नाही थोपवून धरलं ||
तर जीव मुकेल |
मुलुख राहील भुकेलं ||

घेतला प्रण एकानं |
राहील खिंडीत टिकून ||
अंगात हत्तीचं बळ |
त्याचं हिरडस मावळ ||

नजरेत शिवाच्या गड |
वाट भलती अवघड ||
उडवायास शत्रूची धिंड |
तयार बाजीची खिंड ||

आले तीन प्रहार |
झाला घोर संहार ||
ताठ बाजी रक्तबंबाळ |
रोखून धरला काळ ||

असा मावळा व्यापला |
खिंडीतून पार जाया ||
पाखरू सुद्धा निषिद्ध |
झाली हार-जीत सिद्ध ||

वाट सिद्दी पाहतो |
बाजी केव्हा पडतो ||
नेण्यास यम येतो |
हात लावाया कापतो ||

त्राण नव्हता भरपूर |
“कुठं राजाचं पाऊल?” ||
विचार करतो शूर |
आले तोफेचे सूर ||

आखरी घाव झोकून |
मग घातले आलिंगन ||
कथा अनंत सांगीन |
रात्रीत झालो “पावन” ||

Read the English version here

अर्थ

मी उनाड वारा
तू थंड गारवा
मी ढग हरवलेला
तू निकट छाया

कठीण मी मंद
तू दरवळलेला सुगंध
अजागळ माझे व्यंग
तू सुरेख रंग

मज सारेच कबूल
तुझी मापून चाहूल
माझी नुसतीच चुलबुल
तुझे दृढ पाऊल

मज उगाचच फिकीर
तुज नेहमीच धीर
मी उदार फकीर
तुज कल्पवृक्षाचे जिर

तुझ्याविना सारे व्यर्थ
कोणास हवे अमृत
जेव्हा दिलास विनाशर्त
तू मज अर्थ

अंतर

अनेक वेळा सागरास ही वाटत असावे
एकदा तरी चंद्रास जाऊन बिलगावे
मज्जाव करीत अनंत अंतर उभे
वेड्या लाटांनी सहज कापावे

पण नियमात असते भरती नंतर ओहोटी
थकुन लाटांना परतायचे असते माघारी
आणि मग अनंत अंतरेच सजवतात हा देखावा
चंद्राच्या तालावर लाटा घेतात मजेत झोका

म्हणाल तर प्रत्येक दृष्टीत दोनच सोबती
आकाश आणि त्याच्या छ्ताखालची धरणी
जरी वाटे होते भेट त्यांची क्षितिजावरती
याच आशेने ओलांडली हजारो क्षितिजे मिळून दोघांनी

मिठीत विसावण्यास मग धरती जेव्हा व्याकूळ असे
तिच्यासाठी जो गरजला नाही तो मेघ नसे
ह्या दुराव्यातच रंगतात रंग वसंत ऋतुचे
फुलते कुरुणात मग वसुंधरा घेऊन प्रीतीचे सडे

प्रवासात निघतात दोन तीर नदी बरोबरच
बागडणाऱ्या पात्रास सांभाळत नेतात खरंच
दोघांना ही तोडायचा असतो कर्माचा हा सापळा
टाकून सारे विचार करायचा असतो त्यांना ही आपला

येताच आठवण एकमेकांची मग जातो एक अश्रू ढळून
दोघांचा विरह सोडतो नदीला लहानाचे मोठे करून
आणि मग येतो प्रवासाचा शेवट हे जेव्हा दोघांना कळते
उगाच नाही नदी सागरा जवळ सर्वात खोल असते

विरहातच लपले असे हे निसर्गाचे धडे
न बोलता काही ह्या सर्वांनी आज पर्यंत ते गिरवले
मग का हे हृदय शोधते ह्या प्रश्नाचे उत्तर नवे
तुझ्या आणि माझ्या मधले अंतर निरंतर का राहावे?

For Thy Grace, the Flair, and the Charm

“Aye rose! Or by whichever name
they may call thee,
no less sweet
thy smell would be.”
So truly said a sage,
all many ages ago,
for no name can lessen,
the burning beauty’s glow.

So let the other mortals
spend their mettle and might,
and let more metaphors
for thee they wish or indite.
And as the rest preen for thee,
many more minutes may die,
while at thy feet they quote,
their vows and sighs.

Let me not squander any such seconds
and abet in a crime,
but instead make a heap
and gather these gravels of time.
And so a treasure I will own,
to fight against the clock one day,
since from the time’s rule and wrath,
none ever has escaped away.

So when at thy doorstep does,
to obey the tenet of time age arrives,
into thy beauty’s hour-glass
be poured my treasure and so will thrive,
the mist laden in thy eyes,
the lips where softness abides,
the crown of the dark tresses,
that grandly on thy head lies.

Defeated thus will thy age,
to lay asleep back it’s home return,
unspoiled thy beauty would wake,
with every new rising sun.
And in this world when counted be,
instead of penny or pearl to make a sum,
the grace, the flair, and the charm,
then the richest may thou become.

The Valentine of Rome

Let me take you miles deep into the past,
And stage the set where this show was cast.
Played by the people of the place called Rome,
When Claudius was the king who ruled their home.

Emperors fancy their empires to expand,
How different could be the lord of this land?
He craved for a lofty army to venture far,
So he summoned all men to join his war.

Battles bring home blood and tear,
To join the royal forces all had this fear.
If one breathes his last in the wear and tear,
What would life be for their loved one and dear?

To enlist when only a few hundred did turn,
With surprise and anger the king began to burn.
With handful men on the field he could nothing earn,
So he declared his dogma to have more of them churn.

“If the lust to live for a loved one holds you back,
The very custom of matrimony I order to sack.”
The troops tracked the traitors, lovers began to rue,
And the churches starved for the words “I do”.

“Way is where there’s a will”, said one of fame,
To bless the love’s laborers a holy soul then came.
Priest by profession, Valentine was his name,
To obey the decree and death, to him were the same.

Couples who wished to defy had always him sought,
In Valentine’s chamber they tied their knot.
During such merry moment the kings soldiers knocked,
The priest let the pair escape and got himself caught.

“Throw him into dungeons deep”, the king roared,
“Traitor he is, behead him to settle his score.”
“Treason it may be for you, but after I have died,
God’s court will greet me with grace”, Valentine replied.

In the prison wishes of many had him sought after,
Including the jailor Asterius and his blind daughter.
She brought him food and became his messenger,
A bond beyond words grew between him and her.

Valentine’s faith restored the sight of his caretaker,
No wonder he became a Saint later.
And before breathing his last, to her he shared a line,
“Love forever, from your Valentine.”

The Bleeding Self

Easy to heal are the wounds,
that your enemy with a sword sears,
when you have a shoulder to rest on,
and hands to wipe off your tears.
But the bleeding self finds no rest,
and tears fail to abate,
when a loved one cuts your heart,
with the words of hate.

I knew not this when you left the door,
beats less this heart since and bleeds more.
Another day ends without any solace,
another lonely night searches for your face.
The clouds come over to beat their band,
the drops drizzle down for the longing land.
My eyes envy the earth and they weep for a while,
as they lay awake all night thirsty for your smile.

Forlorn lies the garden with a breeze so sedate,
when once cheerfully with your tresses it played.
The stars though they twinkle as before,
the songs they sang I hear no more.
Remember the blessings on us they had thrown,
when in the garden of dreams seeds you had sown.
“Sweet be the dreams tonight thou shall see,
tomorrow when thou live them, sweeter they be.”

Derelict lay them and when they wake up at night,
pose me a question you not being in their sight,
“When will the hands return, that here did stay,
that nurtured us all along, night be or day?”
Not again this promise should break I pray,
as, “Tomorrow they will,” to them I say.
And as long as death makes not my soul free,
Here I wait for that tomorrow and thee.

The Silent Words

Every meeting of my eyes
with that of yours,
presents me with a puzzle
to ponder for hours.

As I catch your eyes
that glint with pain,
no musing ever has
let me anything gain.

‘Coz for seldom any worry
on your face for long remains,
after your serene smile
hides it all over again.

I then propel
my mind for a chase,
behind your wistful look
but again all hopes are razed.

‘Coz my mind returns muddled
as if out from a maze,
after you close your eyes
to hide the tears that glaze.

The music of silence
you just let it go on,
every thought of mine
wishes the day was little long.

‘Coz farewell then you bid to me
we part without having you heard,
hungry sleeps my heart at night
been starved for your words.

The Soulmate

Poets and lovers for ages,
have relished the sky at night.
Writing their verses the poets cherish,
the stars within their sight.
And in their dreams the lovers wish,
underneath their twinkle lips performing the rites.

But to my heart these stars bring forth
no dream nor any reverie.
Gazing at those that twinkle,
my mind wonders a truth aloud,
the darkness that could have reigned,
had they all been covered with a cloud.

The same darkness would have ruled my life,
if right besides me had you not strived,
to push away the tyranny of troubles,
to break my burden into rubble,
to make yours all my worry,
to have shared all my grief.

You never needed any words to know,
what pain I hide and hidden let it grow.
That dwell’d deep, until I was blessed,
by an angel whose face your mirror nests.
No longer then any agony was my guest,
after in your arms I had put myself to rest.

The Wind and the Flower

Love they say
Thou art blind
So blame not this wind
Be a little kind.

He got himself struck
With the cupid’s arrow
His beloved was a flower
He met on the meadow.

Wind:
If we do dance like this
For a few minutes more
And if you don’t stop
Drowning me in your eyes,
Then dear lady be not be
Surprised if you find me,
Bent on my knees
Asking a favor from thee.

Flower:
Well, then let
No more minutes die
Echo those words in my ears
And end all your sighs.

Wind:
Hear then, for no more long
I wish to be a wind.

I want to become the garden
Where you are the flower,
So that beauties
Upon you I can shower.

I want to become the mountain,
Where you are the snow,
So your hand I can hold,
When the sun is low.

I want to become the forest,
Where you are the tree,
So that nature I can
Bring at your knee.

I want to become the sky,
Where you are the bird,
So that I can take you
To horizons never heard.

I want to become the moon,
Where you are the star,
So that carefree we roam,
When the world is asleep afar.

I want to become the love,
Where you are the beloved,
So that I can keep you
In my eyes safe and cared.

Flower:
Like the lone moon
That shines at night,
To offer the Cupid’s disciples
A dream and delight,
Your sole face
Stirs my sight,
And to you alone would
Serve my lips and my life.
Make me the beat that
Rhymes in your heart,
So that none but death,
Can take us apart.