Book Name:                        Parbati –The Traitor

Genre:                                  Poetry

Author:                              Varsha Singh

Year of Publication:            2017

Published by:                     Authorspress

ISBN:                                   978-93-5207-542-3

Pp:                                        83

Price:                                    INR.250/$12

Reviewer:                            Perveiz Ali


The canvas of poetry relates to whatever gives immediate pleasure or pain to the human mind, writes William Hazlitt.This pain or pleasure can either be of collective nature or an individual experience. An entity taken as independent in the world of emotions and feelings loses its essence. In order to keep it intact, it is obligatory to focus on the aspects that may seem concealed. Enthusiastic and energetic young power packed Varsha Singh in Parbati- The Traitor and Other Poems characterizes the pain and agony of essentially feminine. The pain that never leaves her alone in the vast ocean of agony and despair. It hardly matters in what position she is serving the society: as a daughter, as a sister, as a wife or as a mother. She is always supposed to be a master in concealing the bruised and over bruised layouts of her inner being behind a façade of fake smiles, compromises and willful deceits. She writes

while the night

suffers insomnia

my country bleeds                              (Insomniac)

with broken limbs

fractured spine

my poem walked

through distorted lines

camouflaged as

old man’s sculpture                     (Poem in Distortion)

They live the life

of their bodies,

blithe fleshy parts

leaving their soul                          (Life A flesh)

Today feminism is more or less a worldwide phenomenon, the demand of equal rights and eve emancipation is its main focus across the length and breadth of the globe but in some places like India it is a different discourse- a struggle to stand and prove ones existence among the storm of outdated traditions and meaningless customs. Varsha Singh has tried her best to highlight the rotten and putrid behind the gloss and glitter that is put on display in the exhibition otherwise thought to soothe the visitors. Each poem carries the state of the pitiable and pathetic condition of women in Indian society. So it can be said that the free expression in all walks of life against the traditional barriers constitutes the crux of feminism in Indian literature.

They caged her brain

in a pot earthen

below their beds

only to rot.                                      (Parbati – The Traitor-I)

they did rafoo*

the tattered sheet of cloth

but could not, the tattered soul.         (Rafoo)

* rafoo is a word which is used for ‘mending’ in Hindi

What women feels about the unseen cage she is living in from ages and what remedy there is to come out of that unseen cage is beautifully portrayed by Audre Lorde   in her famous essay Poetry Is Not a Luxury (1985) she writes,  “Sometimes we drug ourselves with dreams of new ideas. The head will save us. The brain alone will set us free. But there are no new ideas still waiting in the wings to save us as women, as human. There are only old and forgotten ones, new combinations, extrapolations and recognitions from within ourselves, along with the renewed courage to try them out. And we must constantly encourage ourselves and each other to attempt the heretical actions our dreams imply and some of our old ideas disparage. In the forefront of our move toward change, there is only our poetry to hint at possibility made real. Our poems formulate the implications of ourselves, what we feel within and dare make real (or bring action into accordance with), our fears, our hopes, our most cherished terrors.” It seems as if Varsha Singh has taken the words of Audre Lorde  as the raison dˈêtre of her poetry. She believes in poetry as vital necessity of existence rather than a mere luxury. She says,

They live at

melting points of orb

where everything thaws

but their frozen hearts!              (The Cold Country)


Self-love, for you

is an act, whoresome,

a blasphemy

towards your ‘owner’,

you harlot!                                                  (Self Love)

The last poem of Varsha Singh’s feministic poetry collection is “Poetry” that expresses itself the level of engagement of poet with poetic world.

I <s-t-r-e-t-c-h> the syllables

like ~~s~~t~~r~~i~~n~~g~~

but they deny

being <s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d>

I t|e|a|r the rhymes

like p/a/p/e/r

but they deny

being t|o|r|n

In return





then ****ROPE**** me

within their realm                             (Poetry)


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