Ramdhari Singh ‘Dinkar’
Listen (to Manas Baveja read)
Rashmirathi (The Sun Charioteer) describes the events that lead to the war in Kurukshetra. It starts with Lord Krishna’s failed attempt at negotiating peace with the Kauravs. This failure leads Krishna to Karn, Kunti’s firstborn, the one she abandons as a child. He tries to woo Karn away from his friend Duryodhan. Karn strongly refuses to leave his friend and goes on to explain why he could not, would not, do that.
Mahabharat is high drama and controlled chaos at its very best, an intricate spider web. There are so many side stories, all of which link into each other, they help build and are built upon one another. Every one of these stories is more convoluted and complicated than the other. Hear one story and boom! you are trapped.
Growing up in India, there were stories from the Mahabharat in school, the television, comic books, school plays, films, in every language under the sun. But the voice of a great storyteller can make the same stories magically and tantalizingly new. And, Dinkar is among the best and most vibrant storytellers.
Then, there is this one poem from my 8th or 9th grade hindi textbook – Krishn ki Chetavani (which I discover now, with great glee, was in fact a snippet from Rashmirathi.) This is when Lord Krishna goes to the Kaurava court to try and negotiate peace. Things don’t turn out as planned (well, they never do in this epic). And he storms out of the court predicting a war like no other, the crazy violence, the bloodshed and the unfathomable destruction. Dinkar’s lines remain etched in my memory to this day.
The other cantos are new to me. Heard them for the first time, when I recieved these recordings from Manas and Sanket. The dialogue between Karn and Krishna, is simply spectacular.
Reciting hindi poetry is a fine art. One must do it with just the right amount of fire and anger, while maintaining a pace that tickles the mind, teases it to keep up and then, not forget to tell the story. So here, the first hindi poem on our blog :) Enjoy!
Wiki on Dinkar here.
 These are scanned images of the text Manas reads from and failed attempts at finding them online.
 Originally from here, and has been archived on our blog, as the downloads seem to be flaky.
 Yes, it has been translated! The English translation is equally hard to come by though. :(