Table of Contents
The poem “Rehabilitation” was written by Shankha Ghosh. Through this poem, the poet talks about the aftermath of partition of India. This poem explores the pain of leaving their own home and moving towards the other side like a refugee.
About the Poet:
Shankha Ghosh was a poet and literary critic. His writings reshaped Bengali literature. He is one of the most influential poets of Bengal literature. He has taught at many educational institutions.
The poet Shankha Ghosh has written the poem “Rehabilitation” in the form of a free verse. So, it does not follow a certain rhyme scheme or metre. The poem is divided into three stanzas. Each stanzas talk about the circumstances of India before and after partition.Each stanza consists of short lines. At most lines, one word is used to set the tone of the poem.
Whatever I had around me Grass and pebbles Reptiles Broken temples Whatever was around me Exile Folklores Solitary sunset
The speaker of the poem is a person who has lost everything in the partition. The information regarding the speaker’s gender and religion is not mentioned here. After the partition he could only visualise grass and stones, reptiles crawling on the ground and the broken temples. He could see his own land from the other side. He feels like a lonely sun setting near the west.
Whatever was around me Landslides Arrows and spears A homestead All shiver with their faces turned west. Memories are like a serpentine crowd Under the mango trees, broken boxes One step denying another And suddenly all are homeless.
The speaker could see only landslides, arrows and spears. Here, the terms “arrows”, “spears” indicate the bloodshed of people. He feels like a refugee who is taking a long jojourney.e has only a broken box under a mango tree. All of a sudden everything got changed in the speaker’s life. The speaker lost his own house and now becomes a homeless person.
Whatever is around me Sealdah station High noon Pockmarked walls Whatever is around me Blind alleys Slogans The Monument
In this stanza the speaker describes the things he has in the present scenario. Now, the speaker has moved from his own country side to the other side. Now he is standing in the Sealdah station near some tattooed walls of someone from Kolkata. The speaker could hear the political slogans around him. The tall monuments of the city added to his mental suffering of loneliness.
Whatever is around me The bed of arrows Lamp-posts The Ganges flowing red The bones and the darkness within Surround them all Inside a tune plays on The Howrah Bridge is holding up high The void Under my feet drifts Time.
The speaker who has travelled like a refugee to this new place is talking about his life condition. He says that he is sleeping under the lamp post near the Ganges river. This river flows red symbolises the bloodshed of people for the partition. The phrase “darkness within” indicates the inhuman act of people who killed other people in the name of religion. He feels that the Howrah bridge is indicating the death of people for partition. The Howrah bridge is a symbol of religion, which stands high.
Whatever is fountain around me Flying hair Naked path The stormy torch Whatever is transparent around me The sound of the dawn The body after a bath The Shiva of the cremation ground
In this stanza, the speaker describes the situation around him. He could find the flying hairs of the dead bodies. The people with torch in hand to find people to kill. The inhuman nature and thirsty to kill the other men makes them to find person who were left behind to kill. In the following lines, the speaker is describing the things that are transparent in his mind. He describes the soothing sound of dawn,an idol of Shiva. With these lines, “The Shiva of the cremation ground”, the readers gets to know that the speaker is a hindu.
Whatever is death around me Each day A thousand days A birthday All return in the palms of memory As the beggar who sits in the fading dusk What was and what remains, Two flintstones that scrape each other And ignite my daily rehabilitation.
The speaker describes that he is seeing only the death of his own people around him. On each day, he can see thousands of people being killed in the name of religion. The speaker who lived happily on the other side of the country has now turned into a beggar.He is sitting in the pavement of the streets like a homeless person. In the following lines the two stones are compared to the before and after situation of the partition. He has nothing left now, but he is living with the memories of his past life.