Creation and Criticism

ISSN: 2455-9687  

(A Quarterly International Peer-reviewed Refereed e-Journal

Devoted to English Language and Literature)

Jan 2017

In Memorium


Premananda Panda: A Messenger of Benevolence


 

Let us give something to our ability

to those who need to live—

money, education, labour, advice—

but demand nothing

except joy

to see them smiling and dancing. (Joy of Giving)

 

Premananda Panda (1950-2015), an Indian author of Odia and English with a poetry collection in Odia— Sidi (meaning ladder, 2001) and a collection of English short stories— Across the Blue Horizons (ed. 2008); and editor of Replica (a popular magazine of English language and literature, started in 1997) breathed his last on 30th May 2015 due to severe heart attack at Sun Hospital, Cuttack, Odisha. A man of benign nature and helping attitude Mr Panda was born on 17th Feb 1950 at Parahat, a village in the District of Jagatsinghpur, Odisha. Late Baikuntha Panda was his father and Late Keluni Devi was his mother. He left two daughters— Mrs Prajna Panda and Mrs Priti Panda and one son— Malaya Manas Panda along with his courteous wife— Manjuprava Mishra. He did his M.A. in English in 1972 from Ravenshaw College, Cuttack. He started his career as a Lecturer in English at S.V.M College, Jagatsinghpur in 1976. After that he joined Salepur College as HOD- English in 1991, Kendrapada College as Reader in English in 2003 and Kishore Nagar College (Cuttack) as Principal in 2008 and worked there till his retirement in 2010. He was felicitated as a poet in World Poetry Day Celebration in Gangtok, capital of Sikkim State, India from Government of Sikkim in the year of 2006. Besides ‘Radha Krishnan Gold Medal Award’ (given posthumously) on the occasion of Teachers Day dated 5th September 2016 from Global Economic Progress & Research Association, Chennai, Tamilnadu, he was also conferred with ‘Sahakar Award’(Cuttack, 1999), ‘Kalinga Sahitya Academy Samman’(Salepur, 2001), ‘Kendrapada Sahitya Sansad Samman’(Kendrapada, 2002), ‘Jagatsinghpur Sahitya Sansad Samman’(Jagatsinghpur, 2005), ‘Loving Sisters Award’ (Jagatsinghpur, 2002), ‘Guru Gaurav Samman’ (Cuttak, 2007), etc. from different literary and socio-cultural organizations of Indian territory. After retirement, he was preparing a poetry collection in English— a big dream of his life, which may come true in near future.

 


Poems of Premananda Panda


 

panda-sir-photo-final1. Dawn

 

Sweet refrain of the flute

'hangs in the air,

birds chirp and quietly soar.

 

Myriad coloured flowers

smile in the breeze sweet,

one by one vanish fading stars.

 

Cock begins the morning carol,

crow hovers around

the broken electric pole.

 

Atop bygone zamidar's

falling haveli, a lonely pigeon sits

and meditate,  on gargoyle.

 

Half asleep village folk

tread towards the temple

to have god's darshan.

 

East begins to turn crimson

like the scattered petals

on a piece of blue satin.

 

In a half-lit labour-room

readies herself a would-be mom

to hear the cries of her babe.

 

2. Image of the Real

 

If God's name is not a password

for godly abode

then what of this life

only to muse on money and matter?

 

One killing induces thousand killings

your blood– smeared palms

get reflected on your placid face.

A heart made of granite

only turns the other hearts

into red rocks.

 

Rain drops

evaporate halfway.

The rainbow that hangs

on the feathered clouds.

fades away in moments.

 

Roses– let their petals drop

as winds turn putrid

with the smell of the carcasses.

Who is then the savior–

an incubus or a pious soul?

 

3. Father

 

The wooden staircase

spirals up
to the roof of our home building.


In my childhood days
my father would sit me
on one of its steps
and ask me fondly
to jump into his arms.
Dump merrily.

He holds me tightly
to his broad chests.
We both enjoy those moments.

The more I grew up
the more I jumped
from the upper steps
into my father's arms.


Today I am

on the last step and feel
as if father is asking me–
your feel scared!

No, jump into my arms,
never looking to the ground.
Indeed, how strong are
those two arms of our Father.

 

4. True Race

 

The child moves the mouse
of the PC,

questions to mum
on Steve Jobs, Obama;
on Sachin and Beckham
even on Laden and Hirosima;

His eyes move

from the earth to the sky,

and from the sky to the water
smiles, shrieks in wonder.


Memory beckons childhood
Time moves back swiftly
sixty years to the past
dusty village road

half-naked children

with round coconut-shells and marbles,

play and shout:
hide in corners when schoolmaster comes.

Ponds with fish, lilies and lotus

a midday sweet:
a pair of golden orioles
atop of leafy twig.

 

In winter evenings

a loving grandmother
telling stories of ghosts and witches
or lions and princesses:
now all is only a lively painting
on a large canvas.

The flame of the lamp flickers–
a new lamp is to be lighted soon.

 

5. This is India

 

This is India:

 

Where–

a battle of Dharma

fought between the Pandavas and the Kauravas

Lord Krishna had taught Arjuna–

the third of the Pandavas,

the duty of a hero.

the duties of a Kshatriya

to save and safeguard Dharma

the basics of a noble soul!

 

Where–

emperor Ashok learned

The basic truth of life

to protect but not to destroy mankind

and turned a martinet adopting Buddhism.

 

Where–

the British realized

the power of non-violence,

the power of satyagraha and meditation

bent before the iron-willed 'Naked Fakir'

The foes turned the friends, embraced, united.

 

Where–

in sixty years, the tags 'developing' to

'almost developed'

dazzle in Delhi and Mumbai

in haloed letters on papers and on the screens

the millionaires have grown billionaire

and shine in the Forbes list–

India shines.

 

But here–

The industrialists grab the land and forest

the tribals of the hinterland are pushed to the corner

with their pot-bellied children,

sick, pregnant women and some black, red hens.

The filmmakers sell poverty in world market

but the heroes grin and the heroines giggle

in award winning ceremonies.

 

Bribes float in the air like flakes

the girl-child is killed even when it is in the wombs

the river of wine flows through the cities and villages

but never meets the estuary.

Young girls are allured and eluded

raped and murdered

and thrown into the thorny bushes.

The gurus and the guardians of law pose

as the demi-gods only to severe virginity.

 

The moon shines on one side

but hides the other one.

 

6. Joy of Giving

 

King Karna is revered and remembered

for his matchless philanthropic deeds

even could part with his invaluable earrings

which he gave to Indra who begged him in disguise

though he knew well before that

this act of benevolence

would surely claim his precious life.

 

Personal fear

surrendered to dignity of promise.

Destiny had made Raja Harishchandra work

at a cremation grout,

But he had never budged from his promises

to help the needy.

He lost his kingdom

and sold his wife and son

and suffered until their happy reconciliation.

 

History records

countless kings, emperors and billionaires

whose timely help could alleviate

the plights of the sufferers;

tireless efforts of the scientists and explorers

centuries old inventions and discoveries

have made mankind strive,

against all odds and adversities

to fight and survive.

 

Let us give something to our ability

to those who need to live –

money, education labour and advice–

but demand nothing

except joy,

to see them smiling and dancing.

 


I, Abnish Singh Chauhan, with the team of Creation and Criticism pay my sincere tribute to this messenger of benevolence. May his soul rest in peace!