Hindi Poet Shri Madan Mohan Baheti, "Ghotoo"
I am fortunate to have enjoyed Hindi poetries of Shri Madan Mohan Baheti "Ghotto" , from my childhood. He is an Engineer and an industrialist by profession, a graduate from Institute of Technology (now called Indian Institute of Technology) at Varanasi, India. But poetry, playing with words twisting them, Hindi words with occasional mix of English words is his basic instinct. Ghotoo is his pet name, he uses as a sort of signature on his poetries.
pun/fun at the same time subtle philosophical points
Just sitting with you almost at any instant some word he will twist in such a manner that it will no longer look as before but whole meaning is carried with the new one and you will automatically laugh at it. The pun, satire what ever you may call his such twistings, they are just sweet fun which give a hearty laugh. Rarely I have seen him making fun at the expense of any body else. He is a born sweet poet. So his poetries are based on his own experiences of life put in an entertaining pleasing "laughy" manner. At the same time you can see deep philosophical point he makes.
He writes in Hindi so his poetry, pun, jokes philosophies are quite a bit very Hindi like -very Indian. But I am sure others can enjoy them too. Let me give here two such examples.
He is now perhaps around 68. He must have been writing from his childhood. But I heard him first time when I was about 14 years old. He was just finishing engineering then. A teenager who loved any thing young, old, nature or machine and converted it into poetry. I was among first listeners to some of his poetries and enjoyed it very much. It did help me in the long run to shape my ideas, philosophies, enjoyments of life and fun behind even serious matters like science, politics, family. He was writing at that time a series of poetries on "कलयुग के दशावतार" (Ten Avatar of current era Kalayug).
Yuga and Avatar in Indian Mythology
In Hindu Cosmology, life in the universe is created and destroyed once every 4.1 to 8.2 billion years. There are 4 such epochs or eras. Each of these eras or epochs is called a Yuga. The cycle of these 4 yuga continues eternally. New one starts when the another ends and so on. These 4 yugas are called "sat yuga" (era of truth), Treta Yuga, Dwapara Yuga and finally Kalayuga. The current era is that of Kalayuga. It has started about 5000 years back. It is supposed to be yuga in which people just enjoy life and are not so much dedicated towards truth, god etc. They are just lost in physical pleasures. But this is also era in which mythological gods are very generous. They will be pleased by very simple things like you just remember them with your full heart in it. Then they may help you. Avatars are reincarnations of gods who come to earth in some form (not necessarily human form), to help human beings in any era. For more details on yugas see wikipedia site
Now generally Avatars in recent eras have been sort of reincarnation of devatas ( exact word in english for devata is not so clear, one can use perhaps gods) in human forms. For example the well known trinity Shiva (the destroyer), Vishnu (the creator), Brahma (the ruler) are devatas. The devatas Rama and Krishna (who preached the well known book Geeta) are avatars of Vishnu. Some people also consider Buddha as an Avatar of Vishnu in the current era. But Ghotoo imagined in these poetries that Avatars of this Kalayuga -the era of physical pleasures are very different.
Avatars according to Ghotoo
They are बिजली (electricity), फैशन (fashion), सिनेमा (movies), नेता (leaders), सहकारिता (cooperative movement) etc. He wrote poetries on each of them. The pun, mythological touch, fun included in this imagination is quite unique to Madan. It describes his style quite a bit. In those school years, I won several times prizes, applauds in my school by reciting his poetries. Here are few lines from his poem on Avatar Bijlee (Electricity)
होती देखी घर घर नारी की पूजा
लाख कर महिमा कलयुग की प्रभु को यह सूझा
की फॉरवर्ड होती जाती नर्री प्रति दिन
कर दे न मेरे खिलाफ आन्दोलन
कि जितने भी अवतार हुए पुरुष रूप धर
लक्ष्मीजी को बिठा रखा है घर के अन्दर
वह नारी है उसे आगे लाना होगा
लक्ष्मीजी को अवतार दिलाना होगा
Seeing a woman being worshiped in every home
after creating the Kalyuga, Lord Vishnu (the creator) hit upon a brain wave
that the women are becoming forward day by day
they may start strike against me
he started assessing that so far all avatars (reincarnations) are in the form of man
leaving the feeling that Devi Laxmi has been just confined to her work at home
after all she is a woman, she should be brought forward
it is time now that Devi Laxmi should take an avatar
(Laxmi is the Goddess of wealth and wife of Lord Vishnu)
Here are two more lines from the same poem
और जो छूता उसे धक्का दे दूर भागती
जब थक जाती तो फ्यूज चला जाता
and if anyone touches it, it pushes him back
when it gets tired we get the fuse (electricity breakdown)
Path to life and Path to stairs
Here is another one of his instant pun- an old one. One day during my school days my younger sister was pleading with Madan Mohan, "You have taken my brother for the movie जीने की राह ( jeene ki rah -Path to life). Why you left me. Take me also for the same movie." Now in Hindi if you just twist the word जीने (jeene ) a little bit to जिने (jine), the meaning changes from life to stairs. Right opportunity for Ghotoo. He took hand of my sister and said, "Okey I will show you jine ki rah (path to stairs)", and just took her towards जिने (stairs).
I created a separate blog for his poetries, (I tried with hub pages but that does not allow too much nonenglish in hubs) where I had put one of his poetries in Hindi and translations in English and handed it over to him. He has put some more of his recent poems on the blog.
See the site for his poetry (I hope he will put one by one some of his older poetries including his Avatars).
Let me end this intro of him with one of his couplet which I like very much.
ज्ञान एक सबून है.
जिसे जितना घिसो
उतना ही झाग देता है
knowledge is like a soap,
more you rub it,
more it gives you foam
More by this Author
August 9, 2009 Basic ideas from Ancient Indian Philosophy-Duel of Brahman and Maya I continue with cultural and philosophical discussions. I want to describe some of the basic ideas from ancient Indian philosophies....
June 19, 2010 For a change I want to write a few articles on life style and philosophies in average Indian life. It is much more pleasant to talk about these ideas than reactions on political events. Since I have...