Friday, May 28, 2010


Michael has broken many grounds in this ballad. He has introduced a new style …’amitrakshar chhanda’ ( the lines of his ballad do not rhyme : blank verse). More importantly, he has portrayed the characters of Ram, Lakshman , Ravan and Meghnad in a very unconventional way. The story has been told in several layers and he followed western grammar of epics , specially Virgil.

While Michael has shown Ravan and Meghnad are victims of Destiny (the poet has repeatedly used the word ‘Bidhi’ which means ‘the god above’), his narration brings out a picture of conspiracy by the gods and deception by Ram’s camp being at the root of defeat and fall of Meghnad, not the valour of Lakshman. He has portrayed Meghnad as invincible in face-to-face battle with both Indra, king of gods (that is why he used to be called ‘Indrajit’,he who vanquishes Indra) and Ram.

‘….duibaar aami haranu Raghave, aar ekbaar pitah deha aajnaa more;dekhiba ebaar beer baanche ki oushadhe! – twice I defeated Raghav ; father, you give me permission once more, let’s see which medicine brings him back to life this time ) !

Night of the long knives : Indra convinces Parbati to influence Shiva in accepting that Ravan and Indrajit do not deserve any more support of Shiva. Kamadev aids the process. With Shiva’s acceptance of the proposal in principle , Mahamaya hands over the weapons Kartikeya used to kill Tarakasur and Indra arranges to deliver the same to Lakshman before the day-break.

Deception : Bibheesan shows the path to the place where Meghnad has lighted the fire for his Yagna at dawn before he will proceed for the battle and obstructs Meghnad’s exit for acquiring weapons to fight Lakshman . Please view the panel Bengal’s artist portrayed decades prior to Michael’s penning this ballad.

Bibheeshan and Lakshman enters the premises where Meghnaad

has started ‘Nikumbhila Yagna. Terra Cotta panel, Ramcandra Temple, Guptipara,WB. Late 18th century least 80 years before Michael wrote this ballad!

By:Shyamal Chattergi

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