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Expressions of Warrior Poets Of India

The word “Warrior” and “War” largely provides impression of heroism, eternal glory, fame to my mind. The meaning embedded in it expresses so much charisma and valor that nothing goes beyond sensibility of  chivalry and fame of being a “Warrior”. But, interestingly, the phrase “Warrior Poet” provides pragmatics of culture and war together in the space of language wherein both glory, charisma, sensitivity and expressions condense together. Apparently, War and literature can be related to be at par with each other. Plato in his “Republic” mentions , “ Poetry should be banned from the ideal state” because it ruins the sensibility of a responsible citizen and makes him weak and fragile.

Ostensibly, the above premises have been negated by his successors in expression of poetry being a representation to understand subtleties of human psyche. The expression of a warrior poet as an ‘insider’ in the war can be found as different from a person writing away from the space were the war is taking place because he cannot their hear voices of guns, bombings, sword so on and so forth . I try to foreground above argument not only in the physicality of  participation in war but constant engagement with ‘fragmented self’, ‘inevitable mortality’,’ oscillation between life and death’ that a warrior witnesses in a close range.


India in its glorious history possesses many great warrior poets like Chandrabardai  who wrote “Prithvirajraso” as an army personnel and a loyal friend to king Prithvi Raj Chauhan , Rahim wrote  and translated “Baburnama”  and many more other poets in early centuries in India. Also ,Ramprasad Bismil, Bhagat Singh , Raj Guru, to name a few from the times of Independence war in India. The poetry of  freedom fighters  in India had “Nation-ness” as a notion embedded in their poetry which can be regarded as missing from poetry of various empires. Moreover, the notion of “ nation-ness” that was at its zenith in the war of Independence had its  roots back in times of turmoil and conflict that started from 1857. The expression of revolutionaries as well as their discourse can be found in various languages like Sindhi , Marathi, Punjabi ,Urdu etc .

But ,in the world of 20th century India and the world post 1947 the voice was united mostly in the paradigm of “Hindustani” that had both Hindi and Urdu as it precursors. The cognizance of language of a poet is necessary to understand the expression of sensitivity through feeling of ‘unity’ for nation as “One”. To have a more pertinent look into the metaphors of “Freedom”, “Nation”, “Bharat Mata”, “Patriotism” as innate in the rhetoric addressed to nation

To quote Girdhar Sharma,

पंजाबी, गुजराती, बंगाली हो या बज्रवासी

राजसथानी या मद्रासी, सब के सब है भारतवासी


Also, as said by Rajguru,


शहीदो की चिताओ पर हर बरस लेगेंगे मेले

वतन पर मरनेवालों का बाकि यही निशां हाेगा

The land of post 1947  witnessed mass killings of its own children who were united as comrades in the war of Independence ,thus separating  “Hindustani” , “Pakistani” , “Bangladeshi” with silent memories in the façade of ‘attained freedom’. The premises of ‘nation –ness’ and patriotism exhibits the grandeur and love for unity during war of Independence and also the unfortunate creation of geographical borders and mutual hatred in 21st century. The argument can be understood more lucidly through a ‘verse memoir’ of a B.S.F officer Manohar Batham. The poet in his collection “सरहद से” largely discusses the motifs of fragmented self , futility of killing , hope for unity , urge for peace , pathetic working conditions for an army man so on and so forth. The insight that the poet provides can be regarded as shattering the vision of grandeur and glory that is often associated with being an army men. The major motifs of humanity, Terrorism, Borders , Two Kashmirs, Bombs, Mortality and others that the poet uses pungently critiques on futility of wars and frivolousness of borders constructed only to nurture “diplomatic communal hatred”. In other words , the poems like “हम नहीं रहेगें तब” talks about the reminisces of hatred , torment that would move further as “memories of unutterable pain”/ “रिसते हुए घाव”.

Furthermore , the poet also talks about pathetic conditions of an army man who suffers from hunger , poverty and loneliness . Also the poet makes an interesting note of body as made of flesh and blood and polemics over which war takes place as psychological constructs through substantiating the instances of a terrorist and army men present on either side of the L.O.C


अब ये आंतकवादी नहीं

एक लाश है



सत्रह तारीख

गणेश और सलीम एक साथ शहीद हुए




और शहीदो को हिन्दू और मुसलमान में


The above lines clearly expresses the sensibility of the poet who feels tormented at killing of humans. In preface of the collection the poet discusses the conflicts of being an army man and a humanitarian who at any cost does not wants to negotiate security of his nation but also feels tormented towards vanity of communal hatred yet murmurs the dictum “कुदरतकेसबबन्दे”.The metaphor of ‘freedom’ that poet explores through imagery of animals , birds and trees in his poems critiques “humanity” in its face. In the sense that the poet as an army men peeps deep into ‘diplomacy of communal hatred’ in order to exercise authority for the vested interests of the “few”. The insights that the poet provides a view of unutterable brutality and torment on minds of millions of people both an army man and civilians living on either sides of the borders. The title itself “सरहदसे” satirizes the culture of hatred as it expresses the pain and futility of a killing a human being and also the perpetual psychological torment that an army men faces while living on borders .


Through above arguments one may clearly say that the poet subtly discusses the nuances of constructed “Ideological State Apparatuses” that manipulates its folks in order to reiterate its authority. The major difference that lies in warrior poetry of pre and post 1947 can be understood through complexities of freedom, freedom from an ‘outsider’ colonial rule. On the other hand , hatred for its own people who supposedly , had a belonging to a same land.


Thus being an “outsider” to the complexities of a warrior poet , one may just want to regard warrior poetry as a challenging space that questions ideology and ideological state apparatuses exercised through tyranny and oppression subverted by our revolutionaries and expressed in form of “inexplicable pain and torment” through memories by a contemporary poet . The poignancy of inexplicable torment can be expressed through self  composed lines,


तेरे ददृ को कैसे बयां करूं मै, तुमने जो वहाँ देखा है

मरते हुए जिदगीं को , नफरत को सीने पर झेला है

इशक एेसे माटी से करते नही , महलो में रहने वाले

हस्ती अपनी कुर्बान करते नहीं लम्बी गाडियों में घुमने वाले।

अमन की आड़ में इंसानियत बेच जाते है

नफरत की फूलझडी से नादां दिलों सुलगाते है




सरफराेशी जो इंसानियत का हथियार है

वो दोमुल्को की कूटनीती में बेजा़र है।।


The argument that hereby arises questions fundamentals of culture through exhibiting the macabre reality of mortality of a human being and grandeur achieved through killing a person on basis of discrimination who none the less possesses same blood, flesh, bones as you.






सरहद से, मनोहरबाथम

आ़जादी के क्रांतिगीत ,शशिभूषण

सैन्यावस्था,  दिविता



Divita Sharma

Campus Chronicle

YUVA’s debut magazine Campus Chronicle is a first of its kind, and holds the uniqueness of being an entirely student-run monthly magazine.

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