Sunday, December 30, 2012


Author:     Harivansh Rai Bachchan
Published: 1935
Publisher: Hind Pocket Books (39th Edition)
Paperback: 162 pages

Madhushala (The Tavern/ The House of Wine)  is perhaps the most popular work of the renowned poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan (better known to the masses as the father of the Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan).
If I remember correctly, I had bought a copy of this book way back in 1993 but inexplicably never got down to read it cover to cover till this month.
And when I read it I realized what I had been missing all these years.
On surface Madhushala is a collection of 135 quatrains extolling the virtues of a tavern where wines are sold. But each and every verse of this poem has a deep mystical, spiritual and philosophical thought underlying it. The poet brilliantly employs the words - madhu, madira or haala (wine), saaki (server), pyaala (cup or glass)  madhushala, madiralaya (pub/bar) - as metaphors to convey Soul's longing to be united with the Divine.
Really a gem of a collection of verses  which one needs to dive into  multiple times and enjoy its beauty !


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