हिंदी में सैन्य पृष्ठभूमि की कवितायेँ बहुत कम लिखी गयी हैं. भारतीय वायुसेना से 35 वर्ष की लम्बी नौकरी के बाद सेवानिवृत्त श्री शैलेंद्र शैल की ये कविता ऐसी ही एक विरली कविता है. उनके ताज़ा कविता संग्रह कविता में सब कुछ संभव (अंतिका प्रकाशन) में संग्रहीत है. कविता का एक अदना सा अंग्रेज़ी अनुवाद भी यहाँ चस्पाँ कर रहा हूँ.
Hindi cannot boast of many poems set against a military backdrop. This poem, penned by Shailendra Shail who is now retired from the Indian Air Force after a career spanning 35
years, is one such poem. It is anthologized in his latest book of
poems, Kavita Mein Sab Kuchh Sambhav (Antika Prakashan). A tentative
English translation is pasted inline as well.
Please read and share your thoughts.
A BURNT-OUT AIRCRAFT AT DUSK
Hidden in the thicket of trees
the aircraft looked
like a dark demon at dusk.
It was not an aircraft, in fact
but mere ribs of it
left after the crash –
bare, hostile and scary
like a wounded vulture.
nobody had been there for years;
penetrating the shoulder-high wild grass
he walked closer.
He is quite a timid fellow
but a bizarre curiosity
had drawn him there
With his head lowered
he entered the portion
which must have been once the cockpit –
Here sat the pilot
and here navigator:
under whose burnt-out seat
was a bird nest –
trying to open their eyes
the navigator had just got married.
Then he walked into to the cargo chamber –
how gracefully they used to
Here stood Naik Ram Singh
here Hawaldar Aslam
ready to float in the air.
On the half-burnt wing
had shot up a tree –
looked from the distance like the English neem;
the leaf was not bitter.
He thought of sending a leaf to Salim Ali
and asking the tree's name –
then he remembered
Salim Ali was an expert on birds
He was engrossed in this thought
when his foot struck something solid.
An army water bottle
as it is
despite a burnt-out outer felt.
He brought it home
as a memento.
on the way back he thought
displaying it on a fine stand
he would impress his friends
and tell him about the navigator
who had just got married
and the chicks
who under his burnt-out seat
were trying to open
Translated from the Hindi by Samartha Vashishtha