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Book Launch:Mountains of Silence

Renowned poet, writer and folklorist Randhir Khare launches his volume of poetry tomorrow. Let's read some of his poems from the Junoon Theatre blog.

BADHU’S SONG An English rendition of the original Bhilala song composed and performed by Badhu

I am the son of the wind, A stripling striding the land, Crossing rivers and seas, Walking the pathways of the stars.

I am the daughter of the wind, Carrying the warmth of my body To the riverside Where my prince lies.

I am the mother of the wind, Delivering the wild one With each new dawn, Flying him like a kite

With my umbilical cord Then pulling him back into my womb So he may rest then rise again, Smelling of my secret light.

I am the sister of the wind Riding his back, like a horse, Mane flowing across the blue, Away, away from my in-laws home, To the shade of my family tree – The old babul where I played as a girl.

I am the father of the wind, I taught him flight Like the kite teaches its young one How to master the sky – Like the tree teaches the leaf how to float, Like the river teaches the pebble How to reach the sea.


I’ve heard you roar, I’ve heard you burst, I’ve heard you tumble, Heard your thirst.

Bare beneath an aching sun I’ve walked your bones And heard them creak – Then scooped a grave Down to your heart And felt your mudblood speak.

On fours I leaned And wet my face Sucked water through my lips, High above rain clouds broke Sank in the heat Like capsized ships.

I lay, my face deep in your blood Bubbling and surfacing The dead, Afraid, I rose, stretched limbs and left, Your spine beneath My heavy tread.

I’ve heard you roar, I’ve heard you burst, I’ve heard you tumble, Heard your thirst.

AT DAYAPAR For Musa Gulam Jath, the Master double flute player and cattle herder.

The moon dissolves over the Rann, Reborn as jackal yaps – Hard-toothed, bone-breaking, Moving in the wind – Smelling of centuries, Heavy with wandering caravans Of history, sea skeletons, Dead memory of dolphins, Seahorses and pearls now dust Clenched in fists of salt.

The moon dissolves over the Rann And I turn to you and ask, ‘Which is the path homewards To remembrance Where we will find ourselves again As brother Maldharis? Where is the vortex of belonging Where the departed sit in silence Listening to the moon speak In the movements of time?’

You stare out into the dark Until jackal yaps dissolve Into the effulgence of time And light shreds dreams.


Where will the devis go when these trees are gone? Sacred companions in the groves of the holy ones Who stretch their arms to shade, Their trunks to rest, Cool earth beneath them soft with belonging; Every day some disappear, not even their roots remain – The imli, hardoun, katore,

When time was a newborn, The great forefathers of these trees were here, Calling with voices of flowers and fruits The holy ones; They came, each to a home, a prayer, A space, a stone, Each to a river, stream and hill, Each to a mantra chanting her new name.

Now, with every clearing a field appears A new god to guard it, A new prayer, a new mantra, A new need, a new sacrifice; Where will the devis go when these trees are gone?

Back to the heart of their beginning In the great cave of the faithful Where time is still to be born And the hum of their breathing pulses in the dark Where the seed of tomorrow Floats in the warm ooze of faith?

Standing here in the light of morning Where field and wood meet indifferently, I raise my hand and say – Peace be to you, Don’t go to war on what the axe has done It’s not your fault, nor his, Nor the one that made him a weapon, Nor the one who enslaved the one who made him a weapon Nor the god he prays to faithfully; Such is the way of blood and mud, They meet sometimes as friends And sometimes foes.

WALKING AT EVENING Lakhpath, on the edge of the desolate Rann.

I am ready to die, I say, Looking out of the wind-beaten shelter At the beautiful land burnt brown and gold By the unforgiving sun merciless as living.

I am ready to die, I say, As I walk out empty-handed Towards a skyline strung with camels; And the sound of bells heavy with longing Sail like lost barges overhead, dust-laden.

On this bed of bones and stones Consumed by the spirit of the sea, I am ready to die, I say.

LIGHT Journey to Dholavira across the great Rann.

The heat begins, spreads from within Until it reaches the mouths of skin Oozes like water from deep inside A thrusting spring that cannot hide

Light light light light Light light light

And over the pulsing land the light Dances like a dervish dispelling night Inside the womb of the shuddering earth Spirals of longing and juices of mirth

Light light light light Light light light

Across the burning swamps of sand Stretched like the blistered palm of a hand We drive and fly and we glide along Swimming with words of a love-soaked song

Light light light light Light light light

Wrapped in arms of the drunken Rann We children of mud and children of sun Search for the stroke in the heart of time Crack open the shell and dig out a chime

Light light light light Light light light

Praise be the desert and its merciful ways Praise be its seasons its months and its days Praise be the shade beneath its hand Praise be the love that of this beautiful land

Light light light light Light light light


I celebrate through line and colour, the world inside me and the world outside me.

That which is inside me is enclosed in circles, floating prehistoric forms merging and separating, interlocking, dissolving into orbs of energy. Each element becoming symbolic of all that makes me who I am.

That which is outside me is alive with intricate patterns that nature is made up of. I mirror the earth and the web of life that it reveals to me.

You are cordially invited to the book launch tomorrow!

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