Vignettes of a South African Township called Mdantsane

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Rakshat Puri

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The softest and sweetest voice I have ever heard, it is that of Rakshat Puri on the telephone. A giant of a person in the Indo-English Poetry movement since the sixties, I grew up reading his poems, love his work and was inspired to write. When he passed away, I only wished that he should have been recognized with a Padma Award. But then such is the politics of our country, our India. He was an Artist, Poet, Writer and above all a fantastic human being, rare in such a contemporary environment.
His Lahore poems, are undoubtedly the best

Left Behind in Lahore, 1947
Left to its own echoes the house stood
Light brick red. The garden turned to a wood:
Recalled, the house brings back laughter filled days
Rocking logic loose in boyhood ways
Chaos came then in turbulent ways
Came in cloudless dust dimmed days.
Monsoons since then have flung through age bent years
Of Partition sneers, terrorist fears –
Recalled now, home and hearth, left behind
Bring back to an endlessly unstill mind
The presence
Of absence
Signify in memory’s remote recess
All that is now meaningfully meaningless
Left to its echoes, the recalled house now stands
In fading dream that only Time understands

Pen and Ink Drawing by Amitabh Mitra

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Cecilia Makiwane, Philatelic Stamp issued by former Ciskei

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Cecilia Makiwane, the first black registered nurse in apartheid South Africa was honored by a philatelic stamp issued by the former bantustan republic, Ciskei. Proud to have that stamp with me finally in my possession. Bought it from a Pretoria collector. The Cecilia Makiwane Hospital in Mdantsane, Eastern Cape is also named after her.

Amitabh Mitra