Style and technique are two key concepts in the problem of literary form. Style is an essentially contested concept, the definition underlying critical practice depending upon the critical position adopted therein against a certain common ground of critical theory. Thus it may be granted readily that the language of literature is distinct from language in its everyday use in ways stable in terms of selection, extension, deviation, even distortion. The equivalent terms in India today (shaili, tantra/taknik) are translation loans from English, the nearest Sanskrit equivalent concepts being riti and alakāra respectively.


The critic, in making sense of the duality between the meaning and the being of a poem, comes to adopt one of five a alternative, positions, namely, hedonism, didacticism, formalism, vitalism, and bipolarism. The problem of literary form may then be elucidated in terms of style and technique in five corresponding ways which together constitute an ordered array. A case study is taken up: two poems of Kabir and two poems of Tukaram illustrating features differentiating Kabir from Tukaram and one mode of Medieval Indian bhakti poetry from another. In the course of this study it is shown that stylistics is a part of literary criticism and not of linguistics and as such it goes beyond a consideration of language and beyond description and analysis into evaluation.

It is high time (we are in the latter half of the 20th century now) that we realize that literary theory is riddled with essentially contested concepts (Gallie 1956a, b). It will be idle to hope that some day the dust of controversy will settle down and some consensus will emerge. At the same time one mustnt conclude that literary disputes are vacuous or pointless in that case or that they constitute merely a confused medley rather than present an ordered array of positions.


The consideration of literary form is no exception to this. The term style for example has been defined in many ways; differences of critical approaches underline differences of definitions. The concept of style is essentially contested and is enmeshed with other such critical concepts.


Before entering into the disputes concerning literary form one had better map out the common aground that these disputes presuppose. (this common ground ahs been investigated and presented in some detail in Kelkar 1969, 1970, 1983.)


(1)   In every society there are some discourses which are repeated

from time to time because of being considered valuable. These discourses constitute the letters for that society. (By letters I mean here literature in loose sense.) Letters consists either of Intellectual Discourse or of Literature proper. Literature thus is species of letters comparable to the other species, namely, Intellectual Discourse. (In modern Indian language one could distinguish between maya letters and sāhitya literature proper.)



(2) At the same time Literature is a species of fine art comparable to the

Other fine arts. (Fine Art is being used here in the broadcast sense.) While Literature shapes the language vehicle, the other fine arts shape their respective vehicles, so to say.


(3) Literature being thus Janus-faced admits of a certain duality between the meaning of a literary work, its capacity to communicate and the being of a literary work, its capacity to make its existence felt. Knowing the language in which literary text is couched is not sufficient for encountering the literary work of art.


(4)      For one thing the language of a literary text has been handled by its

author in a manner distinct from the everyday, non- literary use of that language. The author will on occasion carry out a discriminating selection from the sounds, words, sentence structures, sense structures offered by ordinary language; on occasion the author will effect in extension, a certain stretching beyond available language material; on occasion the author will indulge in a deviation from or an alternation of language norms; and finally there will be occasions when the author will even countenance a distortion of language material. (Selection, extension, deviation, distortion are simply alternate strategies exemplified in literary language. There is no room for any dispute here. Contemporary discussions of style, in the present writers opinion, spend altogether too much energy on these strategies and miss the real points of dispute and contest).


(5)      A literary work, like any other work of art, admits of a characteristics

vehicle, namely, language material in use; of a characteristic content, call it life or life experience or (after ancient Indians) the way of the world (lokayātrā); and finally of a certain shaping of the vehicle material and the content material. This shaping confers on the work its being, it enables the literary work to make itself felt; the literary work acquires medium (the ancient Indians identified it as something directly perceived by virtue of poetry, as Kāvyapratyaka).


So much for the common ground. Before we turn to the disputes as such

Certain terminological matters need to be taken note of.


By way of considering the problem of literary form we have chosen the concepts of style of technique to stand for the whole problematicwe hope to motivate the choice once we enter the problematic. Here we shall simply pause for a brief historical review with special reference to the Indian context.


Through the terms style and technique now variously appear in modern Indian languages, they represent a borrowing from the West. Style is mostly shaili, literally that which manifests ones shila or characterprobably first introduced in literary discussion in Gadgil 1863. Technique made its entry into literary discussion much later in the West (and consequently in modern Indian); craft was more popular in earlier times. (While Hindi rarely use taknik the work tantra is quite common in Marathi.


The sense of the word technique and one of the several senses of the word tantra in Sanskrit is simply the characteristic method of accomplishing a given job). The words style and technique are of course applied beyond literature to the other fine arts.


What was the ancient Indian way of considering the problem of literary form? The text authored by the poet and the activities of the troupe of players (both on-stage and off-stage artists) join so as to yield the dramatic work to the receptive theatre-goer. This process is the rendering of an adequate performance (prayogālakra). Performance may be rendered in various characteristic modes called attitudes (vritti). The poetic texts other than those dramatically presentable and the active participation of the receptive genius (bhāvayitri pratibhā) of the listener or reader join so as to yield the poetic art object. This process is the adequate rendering of the poem (kāvyālakra or ukti). The process may be in various characteristic modes called manners (riti or mārga or vartma). What vritti is for theatrical art and riti for poetic for poetic i is for singing and rekhā for graphic art and sculpture. (The Hindi-Urdu words bāj, qalam gharānā of course come much later.


With all these terms what was the need of introducing shali to answer English Style? Are style and Sanskrit riti really different? The commonly accepted account of this difference is that style in consistent with; indeed a manifestation of the authors and selected by them as appropriate for the content. But this account is not wholly correct. The close association between style and the expression of personality is typical of the Romantics but is not necessarily shared by other Western critical schoolsif style is necessarily individual, how can one then speak of individual style or group style or period style? The dictum of Buffon, Le style cest Ihomme mme, is appropriated by the Romantic critics. But this appropriation is possible only if we mistranslate and if we ignore the original context of Buffons dictum. (Buffon said, Les chooses sont hors de Ihommme, le style cest I homme mme. . . . Bein crier cest tout la fois bien penser, bien sentir et bien render, cest avoir en mme temps de lespirt de lame et du got. Which is to sayThings one writes about are from outside man; style is nothing less than man. . . . To write well is at the same time to think well, to feel well, and to reder well; it is to have at the same time mind, soul, and taste. Buffofn obviously has mind the whole man. The usual rendering The style is the man is not correct; Lhomme is man in general and not the man who has authored the literary text.)


The other term in Sanskrit poetics, namely alakra (adequate rendering), comes closet to technique or craft. (the exclusive identification of the Sanskrit term with figures or tropes comes later.) The term implies that the performance (prayoga), the wording (ukti), the sequence of musical notes (svara) are rendered adequate or effective.


With the considerations of terminology, Western and Indian, out of he way, we can now turn to our subject proper.


The points of dispute in poetic theory are many. In outlining the common ground one of these points has already been mentioned-we have noted the duality between the meaning of a poem and the being of a poem. So even when a reader follows the meaning of poem by virtue of a knowledge of the language being used, the reader may not be able to follow the poem as a work of art. There have been different proposals for making sense of this important reality about poems for making duality between the meaning and the being of a poem intelligiblethere are five such proposals each yielding a critical position. (A somewhat detailed account of these has been presented in Kelkar 1983.) The five positions may now be set out as follows:


(1)      Critical hedonists maintain: A poem need be only in order to delight and evince aesthetic quality. The world in a poem is being offered for out delight.

(2)      Critical didactistis maintain: A poem need be only in order to mean, to communicate some content. T he world in a poem is being offered for our progressive enlightment.

(3)      Critical formalists maintain: A poem should not mean but be, have a certain form of its own. The world in a poem is a self-sufficient, unique whole that is being offered for our contemplation. Delight is an unexpected bonus, it is not too wise to seek delight. The meaning of a poem is locked within it.

(4)      Critical vitalists maintain: A poem should be in order to mean, should be a form of life. Participation in poetry is nothing less than a participation in life; then alone a poem can say more, say it more effectively and more penetratingly. The world in a poem helps one to recognize reality and real action for what they meaning of the poetic text. Living by a poem is often source of delight.

(5)      Critical bipolarists maintain: A poem should mean for it to be, the form of a poem is as much a shaping of its vehicle material as a shaping of its content material. How could a poem be unless it means? It seeks to discover the form of its content. That is why it claims to show the form of the formless Janeshvar, Jāneshvari 6:36). The world within a poem reveals the possibilities of the world without and mans dealings with it.


It investigating poetic form, poetic style and technique, and poetic language it is helpful if not indispensable to take note of this point of dispute, of this controversy. Thus, the language of poetry is richer than the language in ordinary use and one assesses a certain language detail in a poem as appropriate or not in the light of what it is supposed to accomplishbe it delight or living vibrancy or the imparting of form to life. So one comes to consider poetic form, style, technique, language from each of the five critical positions for viewpoints just set out:


(1)            critical hedonists maintain: The poet almost plays with language. Technique is a set of devices making for delight. The recipient is hypnotized.

(2)            Critical didactiscists maintain: The poet makes use of language. Technique is a set of devices making for communicative success. The recipient is de-hypnotized and enlightened.

(3)            Critical formalists maintain: The poet recreates language. Style is the shaping of language qualities that makes the poem a unique self-sufficient form. It sensitizes the recipient and encourages creativity.

(4)            Critical vitalists maintain: The poet lives out in language. Style is the shaping of language gestures that makes a poem a vibrant form of life. It makes the recipient more mature.

(5)            Critical bipolarists maintain: The poet and the language shape each other. Style is the shaping of language qualities and gestures that makes the poem a fusion of language vehicle and expericental content in a unified form. Technique is the degree of success. The recipient participates in this process.


Mutually distinct as these five positions are, they are also (as indicated earlier) mutually related in certain ways, and constitute and ordered array. In the first place they exhaustively account for the varied approaches to poetry between them. In the second place, the five positions fall naturally into certain groupings.


One such grouping is hedonist, formalists, and bipolarists in one group and didactiscists, vitalists, and bipolarists in the other group. The first group emphasizes how the language of poetry attracts the recipients attention to itself and how the poet pays special attention to it. The second group emphasizes how the language of poetry is no more than an extrapolation from ordinary language.


The other grouping is even more important in relation to form, style, technique. The group consisting of hedonists and didacticists sets more store by the concept of technique; never losses sight of the vehicle material of language. The consideration of technique is the consideration of means to an end; technique is open to change but change is not inevitable; there is a demand for poetry in society; the demand is satisfied by making poemssuch is the understanding of this group. The other group consisting of formalists, vitalists, and bipolarists sets more store by the concept of style; if it considers the vehicle material it does so as a part of its consideration of the medium. The achieved effect of the poem is a function of the inherited material and the recipients sensibility; style is that function. Style change is not inevitable but is certainly probable, even natural. If one considers the two groups together, certain things make an impression on us. The technique-oriented critics certainly succeed in convincing us that a poem, no matter how intense, is not beyond considerations of technique. The poet is a Craftsman no less than an artist. The style-oriented critics in their turn succeed in convincing us that however overt the purpose of poetry happens to be (be it delight or communication) any text composed in order to meet the resulting demand will not yield a poem. The poet is an artist no less than a craftsman.


Although we have confined our attention to poetic form, one hopes that we have thrown some light on the concepts of style and technique and on their interrelations and their essentially contested character in relation to all literature.


Finally, let us look at four Medieval Indian poems (presented in the Appendix), and their style and technique. (It is not possible to consider technique in isolation from style.) The poems are:


(1)      A doha or saloku by Kabir: pāni te ati pātala

(2)      A pada or shabada by kabir: kauna thagavā nagraiyā lutala ho

(3)      An abhanda by Tukaram leading itself to sermonizing: devace gharin deven keli chori

(4)      An abhanga by Tukaram leading itself to devotiaonal singing:

āvaela taisen tuja āvina.

The first two poems are in 15th century Sadhukkadi idiom, that is, Braj as influenced by Khari Boli and the other two are in 17th century Marathi. And yet they resemble each other enough to be fruitfully considered together. Kabir and Tukaram are no court poets considering themselves to be artists. Rather they consider themselves to be seekers of God who happen to be poets. There is a special impropriety and therefore a special appropriateness in applying secular concepts like style and technique to their poems. (One would not have the same hesitation applying transcendental concepts of inspiration or genius to their poems) Those who are quite familiar with Medieval saint-poets of Hindostan and Maharashtra will also see how Kabir and Tukaram specially resemble each other and how the two differ from certain other saint-poets like Surdas or Namdev.


The first four lines of the first poem introduce us to some friend of Kabirs: water, smoke, wind are accepted standards for fluidity, rarefaction, agility but are said to be no match to this friend. What, or rather who, is being talked about? We find out only at the end of the poem. One could inventory the tropes of course, but they are too dissolved into the poem to make any claim on our attention. Identifying Kabirs friend is more important to us, so drawn are we into the world in the poem. Is it the familiar words that bring the unfamiliar poem to life or is it the poem that brings familiar words to a new life? The first three lines feature a shared grammatical pattern:


Noun inanimate + Postposition meaning than + Modifier meaning very + Adjective (actually the third adjective is itself intensive and so does not need very)


The three lines constitute a composite predicate. The subject of this predicate is presented (contrary to normal word order) in the fourth line. Sense-wise the lines are grouped 1, 2, 3, 4 but rhyme-wise they are grouped a, b; a, b. The first two adjectives suggest inanimateness (fluid, rarefield); the third (agile) intimates to us that the subject answers to who? and not what?. When we read any text the impressions of vehicle-form and content-form tend to remain below the threshold of the recipients awareness. The same is the case with such technical details and the resulting impressions.


We do not propose to undertake such a minute analysis of the remaining

three poems, but we do invite the readers to do so for themselves.


While one could consider the technique of a poem in isolation this is not possible with the style of a poem which calls for at least one other poem for comparison. What strikes us when we consider the four poems together and compare them with each other? (One must not, of course, lose sight of the fact that, whether it is technique or style that we are looking for, one needs to be an observant participant, a critic-recipient of the poem. A mere linguist cannot do it however competent an observer of language the happens to be if insensitive to poetry. A linguist can certainly help in minute analysisas an assistant. In the absence of the critic such minute analysis is without any point.)


The comparison of the four poems serves to bring out certain things. Kabirs dohā (poem I) and Tukarams sermon worthy abhanga (poem 3) are not suitable for singing. Their appeal is intellect after it is aglow with feeling. The feeling of a helpness sense of chasing and at the same time being chased by the Other has numbed and stirred the intellect into identifying this Being. On the other hand Kabirs shabada (poem 2) and Tukarams song-worthy abhanga (poem 4) lend themselves to being sung with devotional passion in the course of bhajana.. (Instrumental accompaniment may or may not be there.) Their appeal is to emotion and (since the songs are by Kabir who is a nirgunabhaka and by Tukaram who is almost identifies with the dry-eyed bride on the funeral pyre for a sati; Tukaram with the married daughter pining for her maternal home while playing her wifely role in her married home.


Now it is certainly true that one could see these poems in their historical setting, identify the analogues as traditional (thus we come across the maternal home of the Tukaram poem also in another poem of Kabirs) and the grammatical parallelism as a recurring technical feature; one could trace the lineage of do and abhanga as metrical forms; one could examine how far a distinction between sermon-worthy and song-worthy poetry is widely available in Medieval Indian religious poetry; one could find out what motivates the poets signature towards the end of the poem (says Kabir, says Tukaram). All such historical inquires will to only be interesting for their own sake but also helpful for a richer and deeper understanding of the poems themselves.


But no amount of historical scholarship and insight can make up for an absence of a direct encounter with the poem itself. Realizing the poem (and poetic style) is conditional upon encountering the poem. Historical perspective is not a substitute for a genuine response; at its best it enriches and even deepens this realization.


It will be worthwhile to identify the stylistic qualities and gestures that characterize the sermon-worthy group of prose poems (poems 1, 3) and the song-worthy group of song poems (poems 2, 4) and of course identify the linguistic details that underline the stylistic qualities and gestures. The prose poems lack x remain, but the song poems have a refrain. The role of the refrains in the poems will bear examination:

Kauna thagavā nagariyā lūtala ho (poem 2)

nāhin yethennhin laukikāchi chāa/

tujavia goa devarāyā/(poem4)

In the prose poems there is a sustained play of arousing curiosity (what could be mode fluid than water? Who could be Kabirs friend? How could the theft take place without raising alarm? How is it that the thief is inside the house and yet cannot be caught?). In the song poems such play is absent, in any case not sustained (consider the mildly playful question that serves as a refrain of poem 2). The signatures in the prose poems serve to engage the recipient in a conversational spell. The signatures in the song poems on the contrary serve to end the hypnotizing spell of devotional passion and wake the recipient into a new awareness.1 This inquiry could be continued further and extended to other prose poems and song poems in Medieval Indian religious poetry. (I hope that the readers will do so.) It is possible that other subgenre than these two will also turn up and be characterized.


Kabir and Tukaram both belong to the same broad tradition of Medieval Indian religious poetry and share, as we have already indicated, the same nirgunabhakta-like attitude. But wont their poems manifest their respective personalities? Certainly they will, but it is all the more necessary to examine some more poems of each before the personal styles can be described with some confidence. What one certainly can do at This point is to record some initial

----------------------------------- -----------------------------------------------------------------

1.      Dhond (1975) finds an analogue between the structure of an

abhanga and the four-part structre of the prabandhaan older form of classical Hindustani music. The prabandha, it will be recalled, was divided into udgrāha, dhrupada, antarā, and ābhoga, where the refrain (dhrupada) follows the opening unit (udgrāha). Thus in poem 4, the verses marked 1, dhru, 2, 3 respectively. The poets signature in the final verse performs the winding-up function of the ābhoga. The opening verse performs the leading-in function of the udgrāha (literally a lifting or raising).



impressions subject to further elaboration or even radical modification after a fuller study. A certain straight-faced, impish sense of humour makes itself felt in both (consider Kabirs refrain for poem 2 and the whole of Tukarams poem 3). But perhaps more so in Tuakaram than in Kabir (well-captured in Arun Kolatars English rendering of poem 3). Kabirs poem 2 and Tukarams poem 4 both use the analogue of the married woman for the bhakta pining for God. Perhaps one could see the aching passion of separated love (my beloved is sulking; my tears have left the eyes) in poem 2 and the affection and pining of a family separation (I miss you so much, my (brother), the daughter harps on her maternal home) in poem 4 as differing Hindostani and Maharashtrian manifestations of Indian culture rather than as differing personal manifestations.


At this point a doubt may assail us. Can we really think of this last difference in emotion as a difference in style? In explicating this difference, are we really examining the language in each case? Isnt this undoubted difference of some level higher than the stylistic level? It must be said that such a doubt is traceable ultimately to the supposition that style is exclusively a matter of language in the narrow sense. Some in their enthusiasm have been identified stylistics as a branch of linguistics. I most emphatically beg to differ.


Of course literary style is connected with language which is the vehicle material of the literary art. But more essentially style is connected with the medium of literature which imparts form at once to its language vehicle and its experiential content. Considering literary stylistics to be branch of linguistic science is about as bad as identifying the stylistics of sculpture with the engineers material science: In making this identification we are guilty of two errors. The first error is failing to realize that style is an aspect of the medium as a whole and not merely an aspect of the language vehicle as such. The second error is failing to realize that the consideration of style is not the activity of objective, scientific explanation but the activity of literary criticism with its essentially contested concepts and value judgements. No stylistics is a branch of literary criticism.



As we saw at the outset in mapping the common ground, literature is at once a species of letters, consisting of linguistic texts and a species of fine art. Both the errors just mentioned can be explained as a failure to grasp this Janus-like character of literature. But of course the explanation of an error is not a justification of it. Once we rectify this failure, the doubt that assailed us will disappear. The concept of technique has not been restricted to language when we apply it to the literary art. To consider the technique of the novel is not merely to consider the language (the handling of the past tense, the use of the first person, the employment of rural dialect) but also to consider such matters as plot and characterization. Exactly the same thing applies to considering the style of the poem. What is true of the technique and the style of the novel is also true of the technique and the style of the poem. (It is about time we discard the equating of literary style with the mode of language use. If that was all that there is to it we wouldnt need the essentially contested concept of style; to speak of the literary language register would be enough.)


The removal of the doubt may, however, lead to another doubt. Having accepted that the poetic style of Kabir and Tukaram open a literary critical study (over the protests of the devout if need be), and that such a literary critical study will examine not only the language vehicle but also the experimental content, how can we include, for example, a consideration of the analogue of the married woman in the two saint poets and exclude, for example, a consideration of their theology? In that case wont literary stylistics simply be the whole literary criticism and not just a part of literary criticism to literary stylistics, we have to keep in mind the distinction between the medium of poetry and the world in a poem out of that medium and the poem as a communicating text, as a species of letters. Poem I and poem 3 both embody a muted panic, a helpless feeling that one is chasing and at the same time being chased by the elusive Other; but this sense is not an aspect of their poetic style. (One may note in passing that to understand Kabir or Tukaram to capture this sense. Merely to annote that the two saint poets are non-dualists who are conveying here the non-difference between the personal Spirit and the cosmic Sprit, between the Me and the Other, will hardly do justice to the power of their poetry.) To see how this senses of helpless is being embodied is to see the style. One would see, for example, how the analogues of water, smoke, wind, thug, thief are working hard to this end. (The images are employing themselves as it were. One cant bring oneself to say that Kabir and Tukaram have taken the trouble of seeking the analogues out and employing the images. Even stylistics has its transcendental dimension!) It is certainly important to save oneself from the error of over-appropriation. It is even more important not to run away from the risk and fall into the error of under appropriation.


In presenting this case study of the four poems by Kabir and Tukaram there was certainly no intention to present a full-scale study but rather a modest one of suggesting the liens along which such a study could be undertaken. One can only hope that this study, partial through it is, has served to lend some substance to our earlier theoretical presentation of the common ground of literary theory, of one of the important points of dispute arising out of it, and the five alternate critical positions in respect of that dispute about meaning and being in so far as these positions impinge on the essentially contested concepts of style and technique. (One hopes too that the claim that a consideration of poetic technique cannot usefully be kept separate from a consideration of poetic style has also been substantiated.






Dhound M. V. 1975. Ahala dhruācāhalā tārā. Satyakathā, July. Printed in: marāhi sashodhama patrikā 22: 4.41-8, July-August-Septemper 1975.

Gadgil, Jānardhan Sakharam. 1863. Lihiyāchi shalili. Marāhi jnaprasrika, April, May.

Gallie, W. B. 1965a. Essentially contested concepts. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 56. 167-88, 1955-6. Reprinted in: Max Black, ed. The Importance of language. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1962.

-------------1956b. Art as essentially contested concept. Philosophical Quarterly 6.97-114.

Kelkar, Ashok, R. 1969. The Being of a poem, Foundations of language 5. 17-33. Marathi version, Kaviteche asatepana. Satyakathā Sept. 1969. Hindi version, Kavitākā honā. Parāmarsha June 1980; Sept. 1980. Reprinted. Pūrvagraha May-August 1983.

-------1970. Bhāā sāhitya. Māhārāshtrā sāhityā patrikā, March 1970. Revised. Vasant S Joshi, ed. Bāhshā vā sāhityā sashodhānā. Pune: Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad, 1981. English version, some notes on language and literature. Indian Linguistics 31:69-79, 1970. Hindi version, Bhāā aura sāhitya. Alochānā Oct-Dec. 1971, pbul. Sept. 1972. Revised: Surseh Kumar; R. N. Srivastava, ed. Shali āura Shailijāna. Agra: Central Institute of Hindi, 1976.

--------1983. Kaviteche sāgatepaa-In: Saundarapichāra. Mumbai. Mumbai Marathi Sahitya Sangha, 1983. Hindi version, Kavita kucha kahe kucha kare, Pūrvagraha May-August 1983. English version, The Meaning of a poem and the meaning of poetry. Forthcoming.

------- 1985. Shaili āi tantra. R. V. Dhongde; Ashok, R. Kelkar, ed. Marāthi shaili-vichāra. Pune: CASL, Deccan College, 1985. The Marathi original of Style and technique.







The texts of poems are presented below



(1) Kabir, doh, sākhi, soak

֭ ן ֻ֟, ן ߭ 1

־֭ ־ֻ, ß ߸ ߭ 2


(2) Kabir, pada, shabada

־ ֐׸ ꅅ 0

Ӥ ֚ ֻ֭ ֙, ָ֯ ֻ 1

֏߸ Ӑ ־ָ, 2

ֵ ִָ֕ ֻӐ ל , ֭ ꅅ3

ָ ֭ ״ֻ ֙ և, פ ꅅ4

(3) Tukaram, abhanga

֓ ָ , ֐־׭ ׳֍ָ߅1

Ӿםֵ Ӿ Ӿםֵ ־, ֐ד ־ םֵ Ӿօ2

־ד ׸דֵ ָ, ֬ ֙ Ӿ׻ֵ־ָ߅3

ߓ , ֐־ֻ ֓ ևԅ4


(4) Tukaram, abhanga


־֛ ߭,

֙ ִ֭֬ ߾ 녅1

׍֕ ֛

־ߝ ֵָ 0

֭ ӟָ ֟,

ֵָ ߟ ֵ 녅2


։ ָ 녅3


(5) Arun Kokatkars free English rendering of Poem 3

It was a case

Of God rob God.

No cleaner job

Was ever done.

God left God

Without a bean.

God left no trace

No trail no track

The thief was lying

Low in His flat.

When he moved

He moved fast.

Tuka says:

Nobody was

Nowhere. None

Was plundered

And lost nothing.




This was published in Language Form 13:1-6, 1987= Stylistics and test analysis ed. Suresh kumar, Bahri, New Delhi, 1987. The Mrathi Original was published in Marathi Shali viehr ed. Ramesh V. Dhonage et at, Deccan College, Pune, 1985. The Hindu version in : Shalitattva: Siddhanata aur Vgavahar Dakshin Bharath Hindi Prachar Sabha, Hyderabad, 1988, and Ashok R. Kelkar, Triveni Delhi 2004.