© Bishan Tirva 2012

Teesta Rangeet completes two months with the publication of the second issue. Two months of interesting and mutually benefitting engagement with writers from near and far. We are also happy to announce that Dweep Mustang, the founder of All India Gorkha Reader`s and Writer`s Federation, has started the event Coffee and Kavi where bilingual poets from Sikkim, Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Kurseong  and other places will meet periodically in different venues to discuss and read their works in front of audiences. In one of the meetings of the AIGRWF, it was rightly pointed out that there was a need for more readers than writers who can make critical evaluation of our writers. These are exciting times for us. A new Zeitgeist has possessed our land – we must find pride, zest and humility in that. Our second issue features eight poets, two translations and an interview with Jeet Thayil. We are also featuring Bishan Tirva`s photography. The issue is dedicated to our poets - Dr. Rajendra Bhandari and Nabin Kumar Chhetri.

 Translation is not simply an exercise of metaphrasing or paraphrasing a work of art. It involves a painstaking task of finding true, dynamic equivalents (also the etymological and idiomatic links) between the source and target language. Moreover there are other issues like the dual questions of fidelity and transparency, the problem of spill-overs and the ‘untranslatable’ elements. Despite all these pertinent topics, the bilingual/bicultural scholars (Michael Hutt and Pankaj Thapa) have rendered a great service to Indian Nepali Literature by making Rajendra Bhandari`s poems accessible in English. The translators have tried to preserve Rajendra Bhandari`s colloquial poetic diction and idiom without distortion. Understanding the social and historical context is important while reading Rajendra Bhandari`s poetry. In a style shorn off rhetoric excesses and jargons, his writings tackle subaltern themes of marginalization suffered by the Indian Nepalis and generate counter-discourses to the home-grown Orientalism in West Bengal.  Rohan Chhetri`s History of Justice deals with the postmemory (secondary memory) of the Nepali revolution in the 1980`s. Grandmother`s traumatic memory is the personal undocumented story of the revolution days that challenges the popular grand narratives available in the Bengal Media.

Dweep Mustang`s poem employs the metaphor of Junkeri (firefly) to engage us with the recent attack on the Sikkim Now media house – the journalist`s “incensed pen is mighty enough / To write words like Freedom and Justice”. Tashi Chophel`s poem, as the title itself denotes, is a meticulous investigation to determine the facts relating to a death. Guru T. Ladakhi`s poem traces the years lived in a sequestered and pristine landscape uninterrupted by change. 

Interviewing Jeet Thayil on his 2004 poetry collection English was an essential endeavor. We have been drawn to the narrator of his poems - “a citizen of no country except the republic that gives the book its title.” Jeet himself tells us “As a citizen of the republic of English, the poet owes allegiance to nothing except language.” English is more than just a language, but “a landscape… whose weather matches (one`s) own”, a place where we hope to make new discoveries hitherto unknown.

Teesta Rangeet believes in the permeability of borders, to reach out with our local vision to global audiences. Renowned poets like Gail Wronsky, Adrie Kusserow,Sienna Craig and others have supported our endeavor and contributed willingly for the journal. Adrie Kusserow and Sienna Craig are cultural anthropologists who have done extensive ethnographic field work in issues like Tibetan Buddhism and refugee culture in India, Nepal and Bhutan. Adrie`s “The Unraveling Strangeness” deals with the diasporic/exilic experiences of Bhutanese refugees in Vermont who suffer still, caught between worlds, struggling psychologically. 

Sienna Craig runs a non-profit organization known as DROKPA where she uses her knowledge of medical anthropology to implement education and health projects in countries like India, Nepal and Bhutan. Her poem “Muktinath” shows her abiding interest in the mythological history of the holy site Muktinath (chu mig rgya tsa, in Tibetan) in Mustang. She says that she wrote it this summer after having the hereditary lama of the Buddhist nunnery at Muktinath tell her a story about the founding of the temple, as he has heard it through oral history from his father and grandfather and as it was told again to him just the day before by a group of Hindu pilgrims who had come to Muktinath from Jumla for the August Purnima celebrations. Gail Wronsky`s poem deftly asks perennially riddled questions of faith (spiritual /secular) with her own unique capacity for longing and testimony.

Lastly my brief discussion of the issue`s content is not intended to be reductive but it is simply my appreciation to all the contributors. Indeed poetry is best read when unadulterated by any set notions or theories. As Mark Strand explains that "the degree to which a poem is explained or paraphrased is precisely the degree to which it ceases being a poem." 

We hope the second issue will find appreciative readers and encourage more writers to engage with us. 

Poetry is not dead. We`ll prove that again and again.

Dhirendra Kumar Shah,

Teesta Rangeet.