Two Poems by Dr. Nanda Singh Borkola

The Earth of Sunshine

After a long interval I went to my village in search of the cropland 
The familiar trees, the slender stream, birds flapping their wings.
I could find none and the sky was black
With smoke spiralling out from chimneys of tall buildings. 
Concrete structures enveloped the cropland. 

Friends and acquaintances stopped visiting 
Industries are fast growing on the cropland. 

I am digging into myself in a bid to retrieve the cropland. 

Father's plough and yoke are lying unused beside the barn
The roof is slowly collapsing 
A pole is lying in a corner of the floor.
Can the concrete of life be broken with this pole?
The corpse of the cropland is lying 
Like fish caught in a gill net
Bloated and eyes pale.

The lost cropland has left a lot of memories 
Tales of pearls, light and footprints trailing away.

The things were green at the beginning 
Then turned yellow to copper colour. 
Along the path of globalization, the soul of the  cropland 
Is fumbling for the seasons in reeking smell all around .

Sunflowers are blooming in the cropland 
Flowers are blooming in the faces
Flower loving farmers have dragged clouds sweating out blood
Tears roll down in joy.
Crop and flowers are now blooming in the burrows. 
Sun shines in the tears of the sun lovers 
The foliage dances in the sun.

A soft melody from the song of a cowherd
Comes wafting almost unheard and half understood 
The  theme is the masses, the land and the cropland. 

The masses have now become graver than the mountain 
Taller,firmer and more determined. 
They have picked up from the zamindar's house
Words locked up in a treasury. 
And long afterwards the words have blossomed forth
In the faces of those who carry sunflowers.

In Search of an Identity

Man traverses all around in search of an identity. 
The river flows on across hurdles from the mountain to the sea.
The tree strikes roots and directs green from beneath
Foliage spreads out to the sky for sun,shower and moonlight 
They tell tales of man, land and forests.

Karna stood firm against Doryodhan's arrow ignoring death
Just for an identity. 

Grandfather Bhishma slept on a bed of arrows believing 
One day Hastinapur would hoist a white flag for his identity. 

The Pandavas wandered through the forest
Tolerated insults to Droupadi 
The conspiracy of the Jatugriha 
And bloodied Kurukshetra for an unsullied identity of Hastinapur 

Man travels everyday with or without purpose knowingly or unknowingly 
Their eyes shine with a desire for identity. 

Basudev and Daivaki endured the death of seven children 
For Mathura's self esteem and identity 
Suffering in an iron cell.
The dream of Gokul invited them
Yamuna cleaved a way
All for an identity. 

The battle of Saraighat between the Ahoms and the Mughals 
The peasant massacre at Patharughat 
The ten thousand Ahom soldiers who died at Alawoi 
Everybody's eyes shone with the identity of the land
Assam, Assamese and the flag fluttering above .

Bordoichila comes whirling in Bohug 
Rivers overflow during summer 
Fishes swim upstream in swarms
The drumbeat comes from namghar 
The identity is kept alive.

Konhuwa blooms in autumn 
Sewali lies scattered on the grass 
The rice stalks conceive
Fog unfolds a bedsheet 
Snow covers the mountain 
Everyone joins the festival of nature
Just for an identity. 

When rain sings
The field clasps the crop.

The funeral pyre burns the body
Crematorium becomes an identity to burn many others 
And the Crematorium remains the ultimate identity.

[Translated by Ananda Bormudoi]

Dr. Nanda Singh Borkola is an Assamese poet and author. He can be reached at

Click here to read Assamese original poems.

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