Prosepoem: SONGS OF LOVE & SORROW (Satis Shroff)



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This time Satis Shroff tells you in his prosepoem about Nepal’s Wandering Minstrels called Gaineys, who go from village to village throughout the country and beyong Northern India with their crude versions of the violin and sing about kings, princesses, love-stories..

Prosepoem: A Minstrel’s Songs of Love and Sorrow (Satis Shroff)

Go away, you maya. Disappear. Haunt me not in my dreams.. What has become of my country? My grandpa said: “In Nepal even a child Can walk the countryside alone.” It’s just not true, not for a Nepalese, born with a sarangi in his hand. I’m a musician, one of the lower caste in the Hindu hierarchy. I bring delight to my listeners, hope to touch the hearts of my spectators.

I sing about love, hate and evil, kings and queens, princes and princesses, The poor and the rich, and the fight for existence, in the craggy foothills and the towering heights of the Himalayas, the Abode of the Snows, where Buddhist and Hindu Gods and Goddesses reside, and look over mankind and his folly. I was born in Tanhau, a nondescript hamlet in Nepal, were it not for Bhanu Bhakta Acharya who was born here, the Nepalese poet who translated the Ramayana, from high-flown Sanskrit into simple Nepali for all to read.

I remember the first day my father handed me a sarangi. He taught me how to hold and swing the bow. I was delighted with the first squeaks it made, as I moved the bow on the taught horsetail strings. It was as though my small sarangi was talking with me in its baby-talk. I was so happy, I and my sarangi, my sarangi and me. Tears of joy ran down my cheeks. I was so thankful. I touched my Papa’s feet, as is the custom in the Himalayas. I could embrace the whole world. My father taught me the tones, and the songs to go with them, for we gaineys are minstrels who wander from place to place, like gypsies, like butterflies in Spring. We are a restless folk to be seen everywhere, where people dwell, for we live from their charity and our trade.

The voice of the gainey, the sad melody of the sarangi. A boon to those who love the lyrics, a nuisance to those who hate it. Many a time, we’ve been kicked and beaten by young people who prefer canned music, from their ghetto-blasters. Outlandish melodies, electronic beats you can’t catch up with. Spinning on their heads, hip-hopping like robots, not humans. It’s the techno, ecstasy generation. Where have all the old melodies gone? The Nepalese folksongs of yore? The song of the Gainey?

“This is globanisation,” they told me.

The grey-eyed visitors from abroad, ‘Quirays’ as we call them in Nepal. Or ‘gora-sahibs’ in Hindustan. The quirays took countless pictures of me, with their cameras, gave handsome tips. A grey-haired elderly didi with spectacles, and teeth in like a horse’s mouth, even gave me a polaroid-picture of me with my sarangi, my mountain violin. Sometimes, I look at my fading picture and wonder how fast time flows. My smile is disappearing, grey hair at the sides, the beginning of baldness. I’ve lost a lot of my molars, at the hands of the Barbier from Muzzafapur in the Indian lowlands; he gave me clove oil to ease my pain, as he pulled out my fouled teeth in an open-air-surgical salon, right near the Tribhuvan Highway.

I still have my voice and my sarangi, and love to sing my repertoire, even though many people sneer and jeer at me, and prefer Bollywood texts from my voice-box. To please their whims, I learned even Bollywood songs, against my will, eavesdropping behind cinema curtains, to please the western tourists and my country’s modern youth, I even learned some English songs.

Oh money, dear money. I’ve become a cultural prostitute. I’ve done my zunft, my trade, an injustice, but I did it to survive. I had to integrate myself and to assimilate in my changing society. Time has not stood still under the shadow of the Himalayas.

One day when I was much younger, I was resting under a Pipal tree which the tourists call Ficus religiosa, when I saw one beautiful tourist girl. I looked and smiled at her. She caressed her hair, And smiled back. For me it was love at first sight. All the while gazing at her, I took out my small sarangi, with bells on my fiddle bow and played a sad Nepali melody composed by Ambar Gurung, which I’d learned in my wanderings from Ilam to Darjeeling. I am the sky and you are the soil; even though we yearn a thousand times, we cannot come together. I was sentimental at that moment. Had tears in my eyes.

When I finished my song, the blonde woman sauntered up to me, and said in a smooth voice, ‘Thank you for the lovely song. Can you tell me what it means?’

I felt a lump on my throat and couldn’t speak for a while. Then, with a sigh, I said, ‘We have this caste system in Nepal. When I first saw you, I imagined you were a fair bahun girl. We aren’t allowed to fall in love with bahunis. It is a forbidden love, a love that can never come true. I love you but I can’t have you.’

‘But you haven’t even tried,’ said the blonde girl coyly.

‘I like your golden hair, Your blue eyes. It’s like watching the sky.’

‘Oh, thank you. Danyabad. She asked: ‘But why do you say: ‘We cannot be together?’

‘We are together now,’ I replied, ‘But the society does not like us gaineys from the lower caste. The bahuns, chettris castes are above us. They look down upon us.’

‘Why do they do that?’ asked the blonde girl.

I spat out: ‘Because they are high-born. We, kamis, damais and sarkis, are dalits. We are the downtrodden, the underdogs of this society in the foothills of the Himalayas.’

‘Who made you what you are?’ she asked.

I told her: ‘The Hindu society is formed this way: once upon a time there was a bahun, and from him came the Varnas. The Vernas are a division of society into four parts. Brahma created the bahuns from his mouth. The chettris, who are warriers came from his shoulder, the traders from his thigh and the servants from the sole of his feet.’

‘What about the poor dalits?’ quipped the blonde foreigner.

‘The dalits fell deeper in the Hindu society, And were not regarded as full members of the human race. We had to do the errands and menial jobs that were forbidden for the higher castes.’

‘Like what?’ she asked.

‘Like disposing dead animals, making leather by skinning hides of dead animals, cleaning toilets and latrines, clearing the sewage canals of the rich, high born Hindus. I am not allowed to touch a bahun, even with my shadow, you know.’

‘What a mean, ugly system,’ she commented, and shook her head. ‘May I touch you?’ she asked impulsively. She was daring and wanted to see how I’d react.

‘You may,’ I replied. She touched my hand, Then my cheeks with her two hands. I found it pleasant and a great honour.

I joined my hands and said sincerely, ‘Dhanyabad.’ I, a dalit, a no-name, a no-human, has been touched by a young, beautiful woman, a quiray tourist, from across the Black Waters we call the Kalapani.’

A wave of happiness and joy swept over me. A miracle had happened. Like a princess kissing a toad, in fairy tales I’d heard. Perhaps Gandhi was right: I was a Child of God, a harijan, and this fair lady an apsara.

She, in her European mind, thought she’d brought the idea of human rights at least to the gainey, this wonderful wandering minstrel, with his quaint fiddle called sarangi.

She said in her melodious voice, ‘In my country all people are free and equal, have the same rights and dignity. All humans have common sense, a conscience, and we ought to meet each other as brothers and sisters.’

I tucked my sarangi in my armpit, Clapped my hands and said:

‘Namaste! That’s nice. Noble thoughts. It works for you here, perhaps. But it won’t work for me,’ Feeling a sense of remorse and nausea sweep over me.
© satisshroff, germany 3/3/2010

* * *
thelma zaracostas (australia): Hi Satis! Strong discriptive writing Satis, great poem.Nice to see you here at voices, once again great poem hope you stay awhile!

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TRAVEL’D ROADS By Satis Shroff

Travel’d Roads (Satis Shroff)

Dharma Chettri is a lean young boy,with Causacian features like his Dad, but his lower jaw and fine white teeth betray something of a Mongolian melange, genetically inherited from his Ama, his Mom. He wears a smile that you’d describe as honest and winning. After the winter holidays he always returns from his relatives home in Bombay with a new set of shirts and pants and even pocket-money from his grandpa. The shirts are fancy handloom products, and he’s pretty smartly dressed. His Ama knits him also pullovers with decent patterns. And he has good, well-polished black shoes on even when he doesn’t have school. The school demands that the lads should wear English uniforms: a pair of grey trousers, a light and dark blue striped tie, white shirt and a blue blazer. The outfit is good for the winter months in the hilly regions but the kids start sweating under the scorching Asian sun in summer.


He is agile, both in body and mind, and always stands up when the elderly are sitting out of respect, speaks only when he has to, and his mind is occupied with the cosmos,the lives of his heroes in other worlds. He has a casual, friendly attitude towards his family members but a different attitude towards strangers: he’s friendly but watches them from a distance. The line of thinking is: he’s not one of us, he’s a stranger, so you don’t try to get closer to him. This attitude is repeated informally at times of crisis by his Ama. Things that are discussed in the family are family matters, and shouldn’t be carried outside. It’s a family secret. In this way a form of loyalty develops within the family members.


The regular prayers and meditations with his Ama gives Dharma a certain level of inner peace and he tries to be nice to all. He pays attention to the people he talks with and never insults them. With his school friends he talks about the teachers and lets out a ‘bloody swine!’ when he thinks about his Maths teacher. Sometimes he gets very angry without any reason. He thinks it’s his helplessness in a grown up world. He has nightmares and often dreams of the teacher toting a gun in a jungle, dressed like a Marine soldier. He often wakes up from his dream breathing heavily, a racing heartbeat and beads of sweat on his back.


The reality is different. He’s still so small in comparison to the burly Irish Brother, and really scared of that ogre. He has never killed an animal, but likes mutton, and secretly eats swine and even beef momos and gyathuk in Tibetan restaurants. He detests violence and likes Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violence but wouldn’t mind defending himself when someone attacked him. He likes reading Ian Fleming’s books and likes Sean Connery in the film ‘From Rusia With Love.’


He tells his chubby school-friend Bhanu Rana about the dream and the other replies, ‘If I were you, I’d finish him off. In the jungle nobody sees you. Look at how the Vietcong shoot the US Marines. The rookies are just sent to the jungles of Vietnam without much training. There are fat Marines smoking cigarettes at night in the jungle. They’re sitting ducks for the Vietcong snipers. They just pick them off and disappear in the undergrowth. That’s how they do it.’


Dharma says, ‘If I was a soldier I’d also shoot him straight or slash him with a khukri. But that’s easily said than done, old chum. The cops will get you in the end. So thanks, I don’t fancy spending the rest of my life behind bars.’


A couple of times Dharma lifted a few currency notes from his Dad’s thick, leather wallet and no one knew about it. Karma had to take the blame as usual, even though he’d done nothing of the sort. He was so crazy about comics that he stole the money from his Dad to buy comics about super heroes. No he didn’t buy candy or cigarettes or anything else. That was the baddest thing Dharma had done. He knows that he’s egoistic and tries to overcome this egoism: he suffers in his inner mind that his brother has been blamed and hasn’t taken his share of the blame. He fights against himself and his conscience:

‘Shall he tell it or not?’

But he prefers not to. He realises that he’s weak to admit his sin or bad deed to his mother. He repeats the Act of Contrition that he has picked up from school to himself in bed and that was it. His mother is the only person he’d confide anything serious–but not his Dad because he’d flare up instantly.


Dharma has dreams of going somewhere for further studies but he doesn’t know what. There was a time when he played with the idea of becoming an artist, learning art at the Jehengir Art School in Bombay. He thought he could live with grandpa and go to art school if he passed the entrance exam.


But his Dad said, ‘What, you want to be an artist? A painter? Have you seen a painter having a decent income?’

His Dad was talking about the poor painters who paint the gaudy posters of the Bollywood films. But that wasn’t art, was it? Real artists were educated in art schools and held exhibitions in famous galleries. Dharma was fascinated by the works of van Gogh, Claude Monet, Turner and other European artists. It was useless trying to convince his Dad.


Not far from Dharma’s home is what you call a line, a row of houses built like barracks when Gurkhas are living with their families. Life is mean in the small town where Dharma’s family lives. Even though it’s a residential area, there are always urchins and beggars roaming about out to do mischief. Policemen keep to themselves in their check-posts and turn up only when someone phones them.


On Sundays Dharma enjoys reading the English newspaper ‘Hindustan Standard’ and the ‘Statesman,’ both Indian publications that his Dad buys. He loves the cultural part because there are always interesting articles about people and countries.


Kathmandu is far away and Nepalese newspapers hard to get in their part of Nepal. The days of Rule Britannia are long over in neighbouring India, but he likes listening to BBC’s Cool Britannia and the Binaca Hit Parade, both of which bring English and American hits. He’s crazy about the Beatles songs ‘Can’t Buy me Love, If I Fell in Love With You, and Cliff Richard’s ‘Outsider,’ and ‘The Young Ones.’ There’s also Radio Colombo which brings the Everly Brothers and Jim Reeves, and now and then Elvis Presley and Chubby Checker with ‘Hey, Let’s Twist Again.’


He has taken dancing lessons from a Nepalese Christian sailor named David, who’s a chain-smoker and coffee-drinker. He smells of coffee and nicotine, is rather thin but he certainly has the grooves.He looks like Elvis with his slick mocassins, tapering blue trousers and a shirt of the same colour. David like to show off his hairy chest and wears a gold necklace with a cross. He says he works on board the Vikrant, an ageing aircraft-carrier sold by the British Navy to India. Dharma and his school-friends go in the evening to David’s dancing classes which is located in a shack on a hill,with enough room to shuffle around with your feet. Dancing is important for Dharma because they have socials now and then during which boys in English school uniforms are obliged to dance with girls from the convent under the argus eyes of the Christians Brothers and the nuns of the girl-school. The boys are always exciting when the Master of Ceremonies announces: ‘Ladies Choice, please.’ That’s the time when your hormones go awry and you want to hide yourself, embarassed at which girl is going to ask you for a dance. He had to admit there were some pretty girls. Oh, with all those perfumes around you. Oh-my-God, what happens when I step on her long sari? Oh, shit it’s a cha-cha. I’d rather prefer a waltz. Quick-step, oh-no!


Dharma has jet black hair and a tanned pale complexion,and his hobbies are reading whatever he can get: newspapers, old magazines, National Geographic magazines with those wonderful pictures and compact articles, classic comics, western books like Zane Gray, Battler Briton, Dandy and Marvel comics with all those super heroes. He likes reading Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe and Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective stories and Agatha Christie. He speaks Nepali with his mother, English with his Dad and uncles. He looks around in his immediate environment and sees people who run shops, other who go to the woods to chop wood and sell them, young boys who spend the day with their catapults, killing birds and sitting around on a meadow, chewing the roasted meat, and spitting the tiny bones around on the grass. Some of the Tamang mothers would be away chopping wood. He knew a Tamang family with a father who was boozed at home, incapable of cooking a meal and unable to give the children a structure in the family.


Dharma goes to the same Irish school as his brother Karma in the foothills of the Himalayas, where discipline, integrity and character were regarded as very important in life. Sometimes, he hates the discipline and the crap that goes with it under the holy name of pedagogy, but othertimes he is thankful that there is a certain structure in his life, otherwise he’d also be like one of the care-free Tamang urchin boys who didn’t listen to their parents, came home and went away, where and when they pleased, and were hurling curse words everywhere in the Nepalese tongue, which is actually a very musical language. He remembers his Muslim school-friend saying: ‘Nepal is a very musical language: I love the doing-words: ‘chapdhung-chapdhung to describe someone splashing and swimming in water.’


There he sits in the living room of a two-storied bungalow. The table is long and made of teak and he sits near the kitchen window, which is half open, so that he can ask his Ama questions in case he doesn’t understand some expressions in Nepali. She can’t help him in English and Maths. Even though it’s an English school run by the Christian Brothers of Ireland, they’ve introduced Nepali literature in the Cambridge syllabus, which he finds good. He likes both English literature and Nepali literature. He has to write an essay and a precis on alternate days.


‘All this writing must have a purpose in life,’ he mutters to himself.


He likes the winter months because he goes with the family to visit his paternal grandpa, uncles and aunts. He has a favourite aunt who looks like a Bollywood actress, and she has a fantastic number of stunning saris with silk brocades, and she’s always kind and nice to him. His uncles work during the day but in the evenings one of them takes him always to Juhu beach to have ice cream or to Chowpatty beach to have bhel-puri or walks along the Marine Drive with the Arabian Sea roaring on the man-made barriers of concrete along the coast to keep the breakers at bay.

Zeitgeistlyrik: A DREAM LED TO ANOTHER (Satis Shroff)

I was around twenty years old,
My head full of dreams.
I left the Himalayan foothills to win a dream:
A dream to go to Europe, visit places I’d read about.
The Bastille from Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities,

Where I spent time recalling the French Revolution.
My friend’s Parisienne sister shook her head and said:
‘Monsieur Satish, there are others ways of spending an afternoon in Paris.’
The smell of sea food at a French harbour,
Such as the peasants of Normandy built.
La Rochelle and the German bunkers in the Ile d’ Oleron.
I peered at sea fogs from the mighty Atlantic,
Watched the ‘last oozing, hours by hours,

From a cider-press’ in the Vosges, as John Keats aptly put it.
* * *
In Blenhelm’s little tavern I saw murals of its famous son:

Winston Leonhard Spencer Churchill.
I stood in front of Churchill’s grave;
Above his remains lay his mother.
The words of James Shirley came to my mind:
‘Death lays his icy hands on kings,
Sceptre and crown,
Must tumble down,
And in the dust be equal made.
With the poor crooked scythe and spade.’

I listened to the English ‘Country Sound,’
I’d  read in William Cowper’s verses.
An eighteenth century house, described by George Eliot.
A pub akin to the one in John Burn’s ‘Tam o’ Shanter’:
Even though ‘pleasures are like poppies spread.’
Took a swig of English ale in picturesque Burford,
A Cotswold town in Southern England.
Country scenarios depicted by John Milton in ‘The Poet’s Pleasure:’
‘And the milkmaid swingeth blithe,
And the mower whets his scythe.’

To walk over the Thames Bridge between Waterloo Bridge and Chelsea,
As in Stephen Gwynn’s ‘Decay of Sensibility:’
‘The halflight when the lamps are first lit’ in London.
Where the people are now confronted
With the uncertainties of Brexit,
And promises made by Trump to May.
Peered at the Gurkha and Scottish Guards
Doing their loyal duty near the Buckingham Palace.

One dream led to another;
I found myself in Stratford-upon-Avon,
To be reminded of the Bard’s words:
‘Turning again toward childish treble,
Pipes and whistles in his sound’
From The Seven Ages of Man.
* * *
‘In Denmark’ with Edmund Gosse,
When he wrote about:
‘All the little memories of this last afternoon,
How trifling they are,
How indelible!’

At the German butcher’s in Oberried with my friend,

Who died later of aneurisma of the aorta,
The Metzer’s daughter was what he called an ‘Augenweide.’
Having read Mary Shelly’s ‘Frankenstein,’
I found myself in the apothecary in Heidelberg castle,
And later in the Anatomy Museum in Basle,
Fascinated by the deformed specimens,
Preserved in formalin.
Back in the lovely Schwarzwald town of Freiburg im Breisgau
I dissecting an elderly German’s body,
Under glaring white neon light.
Did he fight the Russians in Stalingrad?
He couldn’t tell me his story.
* * *
The inner German border wall,
Long lines of inhuman barbed wire,
Meant to keep humans in,
Not out.
Hitler said: ‘The great masses of the people
…will more easily fall victim to a great lie
Than to a small one.’
* * *
King Birendra and Queen Aishwarya came
On a state visit to Bonn,
With familiar faces from Nepal’s media.
A reception at La Redoute and Graf Zeppelin,
And a salute from the Bundesgrenzschutz
In Echterdingen.

A few years later the Royal family was massacred,
By the crown prince so the tale goes.
‘Strange things happen in Nepal,’ said my Swabian physician.

* * *

As if in reply to the 20th year of the Berlin Wall.
A metal plate with these words of Konrad Adenauer
Was hung on 13.8.1981 in Bayern-Thüringen:
“The entire German folk
Behind the iron Curtain call us,
Not to forget them!
We will not stand still,
We will not rest,
Till Germany
Is united again
In peace and freedom.”

We’re fortunate to have lived to see the day.
An invitation from President Gauck and Winfried Kretschmann
Flattered to me one day from Stuttgart.
A Spätzle lunch with the Landesvater
And dinner with the President.

* * *
My dreams lived in my head with fluid thoughts.
Went to Venice and imagined the speech
Of Portia to Shylock in The Merchant of Venice:
‘…in the course of justice,
None of us should see salvation.’

A dream within a dream,
Of a young man from the Himalayas,
Now grown old with a shuffling gait.
Goes to Crispano to be bestowed the Neruda Award 2017,
For his verses
And thereby hangs a tale.

* * *

Muse are back in the studio – with an old friend and collaborator — Myspace – Editorial

Muse have shared photos of their return to the studio – working once again with producer Rich Costey. Earlier this year, it emerged that they had been working at Air Studios in London where they were said to have recorded three new songs. They said that one of the tracks was ‘heavy’ and the…

via Muse are back in the studio – with an old friend and collaborator — Myspace – Editorial

Pantoum Poem: The Bridge of Sighs (Satis Shroff)

Savvy a pantoum poem?

Satis Shroff's ZEITGEISTLITERATURE | Just another ...

620dc-yours2btruly2bin2bthe2bbadische2bzeitung252cfreiburgWhat hope of answer or redress?

Behind the veil, behind the veil.



In Venice I stood on the Bridge of Sighs,

Thought about the Doge’s palace

And the prison beyond the bridge,

I was imprisoned in my mind.

Thought about the Doge’s palace,

In Venice I stood on the Bridge of Sighs,

I was imprisoned in my mind,

For a life was underway.

It was a far better choice I had made,

I was imprisoned in my mind.

The product of our genes,

For a life was underway.

I was imprisoned in my mind,

Swimming in a small amniotic sea;

For a life was underway,

I had to say adieu to a love.

Swimming in a small amniotic sea,

That was not to be.

I had to say adieu to a love;

Too many verbal battles.

That was not to be,

Malicious verbal…

View original post 50 more words

Pantoum Poem: The Bridge of Sighs (Satis Shroff)


What hope of answer or redress?

Behind the veil, behind the veil.




In Venice I stood on the Bridge of Sighs,

Thought about the Doge’s palace

And the prison beyond the bridge,

I was imprisoned in my mind.


Thought about the Doge’s palace,

In Venice I stood on the Bridge of Sighs,

I was imprisoned in my mind,

For a life was underway.


It was a far better choice I had made,

I was imprisoned in my mind.

The product of our genes,

For a life was underway.


I was imprisoned in my mind,

Swimming in a small amniotic sea;

For a life was underway,

I had to say adieu to a love.


Swimming in a small amniotic sea,

That was not to be.

I had to say adieu to a love;

Too many verbal battles.


That was not to be,

Malicious verbal daggers drawn,

Why, O why, couldn’t we go asunder,

I had to say adieu to a love.


Malicious verbal daggers drawn,

In Frieden like civilised people,

I had to say adieu to a love,

At peace with each other.


In Venice I stood on the Bridge of Sighs.

(c)satisshroff, 2017

Freiburger Dichter erhält Neruda Award 2017

ाब्लो नेरुदा पुरस्कार २०१७: सतिश श्रोफ्फ़, जर्मनी

  Pablo Neruda Award 2017: Satis Shroff * Germany * Deutschland

Satis Shroff with Rosanna Papalia: actress who read his poem in Italian at the Neruda Award 2017 in Crispiano, Italy
Interview in Dreisamtäler, Kirchzarten (ch)

Satis Shroff is based in Freiburg (poems, fiction, non-fiction) and has studied Zoology and Botany  in Nepal, Medicine and Social Sciences in Germany and Creative Writing in Freiburg and the United Kingdom. He describes himself as a mediator between western and eastern cultures and sees his future as a writer and poet. Since literature is one of the most important means of cross-cultural learning, he is dedicated to promoting and creating awareness for Creative Writing and transcultural togetherness in his writings, and in preserving an attitude of Miteinander in this world. He lectures in Basle (Switzerland) and in Germany at the Academy for Medical Professions (University Klinikum Freiburg), VHS-Freiburg, VHS-Dreisamtal. He has also worked at the Center for Key Qualifications University of Freiburg, as a Lehrbeauftragter for Creative Writing and Scientific English. Satis Shroff received the Pablo Neruda Award 2017 as well as the German Academic Exchange Prize. He was awarded the Social Engagement Prize of Green City Freiburg and was nominated by Stadt Freiburg for the German Social Engagement Prize 2011 in Berlin.!satislewixcom-zeitgeistlit/mainPage

Ehrung eines aktiven MGV Sängers in Freiburg :Satis Shroff

Ehrung für 20-jähriges Engagement für Flüchtlinge und Migranten. Der Burgermeister für Kultur, Jugend, Soziales und Integration Ulrich von Kirchbach hat den aus Nepal stammenden Dozent, Dichter, Autor und Sänger (MGV Kappel) Satis Shroff in eine Festveranstaltung in Freiburg geehrt. Der ehemalige DAAD Preisträger wurde geehrt als „besondere Anerkennung für vorbildliches bürgerschaftliches Engagement bei der langjährigen Unterstützung und Begleitung von Flüchtlingen und als Vorstandsmitglied im Männergesangverein „Liederkranz“ Kappel e.V.

Satis Shroff lebt in Freiburg (poems, fiction, non-fiction) und schreibt über ökologische, medizin-ethnologische und kultur-ethnische Themen. Er hat Zoologie und Botanik in Nepal, Social Sciences und Medizin in Freiburg und Creative Writing in Freiburg und UK studiert. Da Literatur eine der wichtigsten Wege ist, um die Kulturen kennenzulernen, hat er sein Leben dem Kreatives Schreiben gewidmet. Er arbeitet als Dozent in Basel (Schweiz) und in Deutschland an der Akademie für medizinische Berufe (Uniklinik Freiburg).

Ihm wurde der DAAD-Preis verliehen.

Kultur kann Einblicke in fremde Lebenswelten geben, Grenzen überwinden, neue Horizonte öffnen und Kreativität fördern. In diesem Sinne sagte Herr Shroff in seine prägnante Dankeschönrede: „Ich werde Migranten raten in einem Deutschen Verein Mitglied zu werden, da es eine schöne Miteinander ist. Ich bin Mitglied beim Männergesangverein Kappel und fühle mich Sauwohl und gut aufgenommen von allen. Eine bessere weg zur Integration kann ich mir nicht vorstellen.“Herr Shroff betreute Kinder- und Kriegsflüchtlinge aus Bosnien, Mazedonien und Kosovo-Albanien, begleitete sie durch die Schule und viele haben einen guten Schulabschluss geschafft. Als Kontaktperson für den DAAD und der Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung arbeitete Herr Shroff zusammen mit dem Akademischen Auslandsamt in Freiburg und betreute StudentInnen aus Nepal, Indien und England. Er hat diese StudentInnen begleitet und hält heute noch guten Kontakt zu diesen Akademikern.

Herr Shroff spricht fließend Englisch, Deutsch, Nepali, Hindi und Urdu und arbeitete ehrenamtlich als Dolmetscher beim Amtsgericht Freiburg. Er unterstützt sie wo er kann, denn diese Migranten sind hilflos in der Fremde und es gibt kulturelle, soziale und sprachliche Barrieren. Ein fremdes Verwaltungssystem und ein ungewohntes Gesetzgebung überfördert diese Menschen, und hier hilft Herr Shroff.

Satis Shroff, ehrenamtlicher Dolmetscher des Amtsgerichtes Freiburg, wird für 20-jähriges Engagement für Flüchtlinge und Migranten geehrt. Seit seiner Einwanderung 1975 dolmetschte er in Freiburger Flüchtlingsheimen sowie für das Sozial- und Jugendamt. In den 1990er Jahren unterstützte er durch Hausaufgabenbetreuung Flüchtlingskinder und deren Familien aus dem Kosovo und auch Flüchtlinge aus Nepal, Indien und Pakistan, da er Nepali, Hindi und Urdu spricht. Derzeit ist er als 1.Vorsitzender von Männergesangverein-Kappel “Liederkranz” und macht ein Benefizkonzert für die Flüchlingskinder von Syrien (Unicef) in der Kirchzartener Kurhaus am 20. März 2014.Für die Stadt Ilmenau übersetzte Herr Shroff Goethes Gedicht „Wandrers Nachtlied“ in Nepali. Er übersetzt Nepali Literature ins Deutsche. Sein Gedichtband „Im Schatten des Himalaya“ ist bei erschienen.

COVER Author satisshroff (c) catmandu

Bevor er nach Deutschland kam „for further studies“ wie es so schön auf Englisch heißt, hat er in Katmandu als Features Redakteur in The Rising Nepal gearbeitet und schrieb eine naturwissenschaftliche Kolumne, und Leitartikel für Radio Nepal verfasst.Er hat sechs Bücher geschrieben: Im Schatten des Himalaya (Gedichte und Prosa), Through Nepalese Eyes (Reisebericht), Katmandu, Katmandu(Gedichte und Prosa mit Nepali Autoren) Glacial Whispers(Gedichtesammlung zwischen 1997-2010). Er hat zwei Sprachführer im Auftrag von Horlemann Verlag und Deutsche Stiftung für Entwicklungsdienst (DSE) geschrieben, außerdem drei Artikeln über die Gurkhas, Achtausender und Nepals Symbolen für Nelles Verlags ‚Nepal’ und über Hinduismus in „Nepal: Myths & Realities (Book Faith India). Sein Gedicht „Mental Molotovs“ wurde im epd-Entwicklungsdienst (Frankfurt) veröffentlicht. Seine Lyrik sind in Slow Trains, International Zeitschrift, World Poetry Society (WPS), New Writing North, Muses Review, The Megaphone, Pen Himalaya, Interpoetry publiziert worden. Er ist ein Mitglied von Writers of Peace, poets, essayists, novelists (PEN), World Poetry Society (WPS).

Satis Shroff, MGV-Kappel wurde für den Deutschen Engagementpreis nominiert. Dies wurde Satis Shroff durch ein Schreiben des „Projektbüros Deutscher Engagementpreis“ in Berlin mitgeteilt. Satis Shroff wurde aufgrund seiner Soziale Engagement für den Deutschen Engagementpreis vorgeschlagen. Der Einsatz für soziale Engagement erfährt durch diese Nominierung eine besondere Anerkennung. Dies erfreut nicht nur [MGV-Kappel/Satis Shroff], sondern zeigt auch, dass das Thema soziale Engagement und Miteinander im Verein öffentlich wahrgenommen und als preiswürdig eingeschätzt wird. Der Deutsche Engagementpreis ehrt freiwillig engagierte Organisationen, Unternehmen und Personen. Die Auszeichnung wird verliehen vom Bündnis für Gemeinnützigkeit, einem Zusammenschluss von großen Dachverbänden und unabhängigen Organisationen des Dritten Sektors sowie von Experten und Wissenschaftlern. Förderer des Preises sind das Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend (BMFSFJ) und der Zukunftsfonds der Generali Deutschland Holding AG.Der Deutsche Engagementpreis wird in den Kategorien Gemeinnütziger Dritter Sektor, Einzelperson, Wirtschaft, Politik & Verwaltung sowie der diesjährigen Schwerpunktkategorie Engagement von Älteren vergeben. Während eine Experten-Jury die Preisträger der einzelnen Kategorien bestimmt, können sich auch die Bürger selbst an der Auswahl der Sieger beteiligen: Sie wählen im Herbst den Gewinner des mit 10.000 Euro dotierten Publikumspreises mittels Online-Voting-Verfahren auf der Website aus einer Vorauswahl von ca. 20 Projekten.Mit dem diesjährigen Schwerpunkt widmet sich der Deutsche Engagementpreis in besonderem Maße dem Engagement von Älteren.

Die „Generation 60plus“ zeichnet sich durch hohe Einsatzbereitschaft für das Gemeinwohl aus. Dieses Engagement verdient Anerkennung und öffentliche Aufmerksamkeit. Auch in/im Männergesangverein Kappel „Liederkranz“ sind zahlreiche ältere Menschen aktiv und leisten einen wertvollen Beitrag im Einsatz für Freiburg, Kappel, das Dreisamtal, der Badische Sängerbund.

2 External links-Bibliography: His book ‘Kathmandu, Katmandu’ is an anthology about a poet caught between upheavals in two countries, Nepal and Germany, where maoists and skin-heads are trying to undermine democratic values, religious and cultural life. Satis Shroff writes political poetry, in German and English, about the war in Nepal (My Nepal, Quo vadis?), the sad fate of the Nepalese people (My Nightmare, Only Sagarmatha Knows), the emergence of neo-fascism in Germany (Mental Molotovs, The Last Tram to Littenweiler) and love (The Broken Poet, Without Words, About You), women’s woes (Nirmala, Bombay Brothel). His bicultural perspective makes his poems rich, full of awe and at the same time heartbreakingly sad. In writing ‘home,’ he not only returns to his country of origin time and again, he also carries the fate of his people to readers in the West, and his task of writing is a very important one in political and social terms. His true gift is to invent Nepalese metaphors and make them accessible to the West through his poetry.Im Schatten des Himalaya: Themen der Geschichten und Gedichten sind u.a.: Kampf um Demokratie (My Nepal: Quo vadis?), Transition (Wenn die Seele sich verabschiedet), und die Stellung der Frau (Bombay Bordel, Nirmala: Zwischen Terror und Ekstase), die verführerische Bergwelt (Die Himalaya rufen, Die Sehnsucht der Himalaya), das Leben in der Fremde (Gibt es Hexen in Deutschland?), Soldatenleben und Krieg (Der Verlust einer Mutter, Die Agonie des Krieges, Kein letzte Sieg), Tod nach Tollwut (Fatale Entscheidung), Trennung und Emanzipation (Santa Fe), Migration und Fremdenhass (Mental Molotovs, Letzte Tram nach Littenweiler), Tourismus (Mein Alptraum, Die Götter sind weg), Alkoholismus (Der Professors Gattin), Gewalt (Krieg), Trennung (Die Stimme, Der Rosenkrieg), Nachbarn (Die Sommerhitze) und die Liebe (Der zerbrochene Dichter, Eine seufzende Prinzessin, Ohne Wörter), die Familie (Meine Maya), der Tod (An Carolin Walter, Wenn die Seele Abschied nimmt).Through Nepalese Eyes: ‘Through Nepalese Eyes’ is about the journey of a young Nepalese woman to Germany to meet her brother, who lives with his German wife and daughter in an allemanic town named Freiburg. It is a travelogue written by a sensitive, modern British public-school educated man. He describes the two worlds: Asia and Europe and the people he meets. There is a touch of sadness when his sister returns to her home in the foothills of the Himalayas.A Gurkha Mother & Mental Molotovs: This book is about love, the sad fate of the Nepalese people, the lure of the Himalayas and the trials and tribulations of a cross-section of the Nepali people, with characters and themes pertaining to the agrarian, soldier, teaching and other milieus. Globalisation has reached Kathmandu Valley but the world outside Kathmandu Valley still remains rural and untouched by modernity. The trekking tourism has been booming along the much-treaded trails, but village-life has changed little. Nepal has been declared a Federal Republic but a certain uneasiness lingers in the Himalayas..

Gorkhas & Gorkhaland (Satis Shroff)

Poem in Serbian Сатис Шроф (Satis Shroff, Nemačka) ХАЈДЕГЕРОВА…

Haslacher Freitext Sept2017


  1. Gedicht: Die Berge sind Menschenleer (Satis Shroff)
  2. Gedicht: Nur Sagarmatha weiß es (Satis Shroff)
  3. Gedicht: Muna Madan (Satis Shroffs Übersetzung von Laxmiprasad Devkota’s Gedicht)

Vorgetragen von Satis Shroff und Cordula Sauter

Nepalese Tales (c) satisshroff

Die Berge sind Menschenleer (Satis Shroff)

Wo sind die jungen Leute?

Die Männer sind in fremden Armeeen

Und dienen ausländischen Herren.


Die schönen, Gehörsamen Frauen

Sind in Bombays und Kalkuttas Bordellen verführt.


Und sie Fragen mich:

„Wo die jungen Leute sind?“


Sie gingen fort um zu überleben,

Weil eine Kälte sich im Königreich verbreitet hat.

Die Dürre, die Hungersnot,

Die Armut, die Vetterwirtschaft

Und der Feudalismus

Und der Fluch unter den Namen

Afnu manchey

und Chakari




Afnu manchey: Leute von dem eigenen Kasten (Vitamin B: Beziehung)

Chakari: Speichelleckerei, Dienstleistungen in einer feudalen Hierarchie

* * *


Nur Sagarmatha weiß es (Satis Shroff)

Der Sherpa stapft durch die Schnee

Keucht und Kämpft

Und bereitet den Weg

Mit Fixierseil, Leitern,

Haken und Spikes vor,

Und sagt: „Folgen Sie mir, Sir.“


Letzte Saison war es ein Tiroler, ein Tokyoter

Und ein Gentleman von Vienna.

Diesmal ist es ein Sahib aus Bolognia,

Mit Gesundheitsversicherung

Und Lebensversicherung,

Bewaffnet mit Kreditkarten und Stolz,

Stürmen Sie die Himalaya Gipfeln,

Mit der Hilfe von Nepalis.


Hillary nahm Tenzings Bild auf.

Ach, die Zeiten haben sich geändert.

Für den Sahib ist es pure Eitelkeit,

Für den Sherpa krasse Existenzkampf.


Durch stürmische Wetter und der Sherpas

Können und schaffen am vorherigen Tag,

Nimmt der Sahib einen kräftigen Zug Sauerstoff,

Er denkt laut im Basislager:

„Die Sherpas können eh nicht kommunizieren,

Die sind des Schreibens und Lesens

Unkundig zu der Außenwelt.“


Der Sahib täuscht Krankheit und klettert runter.


Und macht ein Solo Klettern am nächsten Tag.

Und so wächst die Legende

Von der Sahib auf dem Gipfel.

Ein Digitalfoto geht rund um die Welt

Ohne Sherpa

Ohne Sauerstoff.


War es ein faires Verhalten?

Nur Sagarmatha weiß es

Nur Sagarmatha weiß es.

Autor Biographie


Satis Shroff ist Dozent, Schriftsteller, Dichter und Künstler. Er hat den Pablo Neruda Award 2017 für Gedichte erhalten. Ihm wurde auch der DAAD-Preis verliehen.  Er hat sechs Bücher geschrieben: Im Schatten des Himalaya (Gedichte und Prosa), Through Nepalese Eyes (Reisebericht), Katmandu, Katmandu (Gedichte und Prosa mit Nepali autoren) Glacial Whispers (Gedichtesammlung zwischen 1997-2010).

 Er hat zwei Sprachführer im Auftrag von Horlemannverlag und Deutsche Stiftung für Entwicklungsdienst (DSE) geschrieben, außerdem drei Artikeln über die Gurkhas, Achtausender und Nepals Symbolen für Nelles Verlags ‚Nepal’ und über Hinduismus in „Nepal: Myths & Realities (Book Faith India). Sein Gedicht „Mental Molotovs“ wurde im epd-Entwicklungsdienst (Frankfurt) veröffentlicht. Seine Lyrik sind in Slow Trains, International Zeitschrift, World Poetry Society (WPS), New Writing North, Muses Review, The Megaphone, Pen Himalaya, Interpoetry publiziert worden

* * *

(Haslacher FreiText Lesung: Cordula Sauter & Satis Shroff lesen ‚Muna Madan‘ auf Deutsch. Übersetzung: Satis Shroff


Gedichte MUNA MADAN von Laxmiprasad Devkota (Ü: Satis Shroff)

Muna Madan (Laxmi Prasad Devkota)

Devkotas Werk „Muna und Madan“ entstand 1936. Dieses Gedicht basiert auf einer Newari-Ballade. Madan, ein Geschäftsmann will nach Lhasa (Tibet) um dort Handel zu treiben, wie es früher üblich war. Damals gab es eine richtige Newar-Kolonie von Händlern in Lhasa. Seine frisch verheiratete Frau Muna liebt ihn innig und bittet ihn, sie nicht allein in Kathmandu zu lassen, „mein Herz nicht brennen zu lassen in einem Feuer, das nie ausgemacht werden kann“. Madan macht sich sehr viele Sorgen, geht aber trotzdem weg von Muna. Bevor er geht, verlangt er ein Lächeln von Muna. Aber Muna kann „die Sonne nicht herausbringen in der Nacht und lächeln zum Abschied“. Sie hat keine Interesse für Reichtum und ist sogar bereit, ein Leben in Armut, Frieden und Liebe zu verbringen. Aber Madan muss sein Haus reparieren und muss sich um seine alte Mutter sorgen. Er geht auf diese gefährliche Reise, wird auf dem Rückweg krank und wird von seinen Händlerfreunden im Stich gelassen. Dennoch hat er Glück und wird von einem guten Tibeter gepflegt. Muna kann die lange Zeit der Trennung nicht aushalten und ist traurig und verzweifelt. Sie sieht viele schlechte Omen. Ein böser Verehrer von Muna schickt eine Nachricht von Madans Tod zu ihr. Muna stirbt an gebrochenem Herzen. Viele Jahre später kehrt Madan zurück und findet seine Geliebte schon längst tot und verschwunden und seine Mutter liegt auf dem Sterbebett. Er kann den Schmerz und das Leiden nicht verkraften und stirbt auch.

Madan verabschiedet sich um nach Tibet zu gehen:

(Muna): „Geh nicht, mein Leben, und lass mich hier allein,
Im Wald meines Herzens hast du ein unlöschbares Feuer der Sehnsucht entfacht,
Ein unstillbares Feuer der Sehnsucht hast du entfacht,
Du Stern meiner Augen, oh mein Geliebter! Wenn dieses Licht erlischt,
Was soll ich sagen? Ich würde nichts sagen, auch wenn du mich vergiftet hättest,
Geliebter, mich vergiftet!
Die Worte aus meinem Herzen, bleiben mir im Hals stecken, in meinem Hals bleiben sie stecken
Mein Herz schlägt fünfzig mal in einer Sekunde,
Wenn meine Brust aufgerissen (würde) und dir gezeigt würde,
Würden deine Gedanken vielleicht zurückkehren wenn das Bild entschleiert würde,
Ein Stück meines Herzens fällt in meine Tränen, diese Tränen sprechen nicht,
Meine tiefsten Gefühle bleiben in meinem Herzen, meine Brust zeigt sie nicht,
Meine Liebe, Tränen können nicht sprechen!“

(Madan): „Oh meine Muna, sprich nicht so, blühend im Mondlicht,
Schnell werde ich zurückkehren, warum vergisst du?
In Lhasa werde ich zwanzig Tage verweilen, und zwanzig Tage unterwegs sein,
Der Cakheva Vogel kommt an einem Tag morgens angeflogen,
Geliebte, der große Tag, an dem wir uns treffen.
Eines Mannes Entschluss ist Handeln oder Sterben,
Geliebte, leg mir mit deinen Tränen kein Hindernis auf den Weg.
Lächle, und zeige deine Zähne, die wie Kerne des Granatapfels sind,
Wenn du lächelst, kann ich Indra1 auf seinem Thron herausfordern,
Geliebte, lächele beim Abschied !“

(Muna): „Oh, mein Rama, oh mein Krishna, es wird Dschungel und Berge geben,
Die Tibeter auf den Felsen sind wie wilde Tiere, die Kühe anfallen!
Ein Lächeln beim Abschied ist wie die Sonne in der Nacht, wie kann ich dies verstehen?
Wenn du gehen musst, lass mich nicht allein, lass mich dich begleiten,
Laß mich dein Gesicht und deinen Körper beschützen mit meiner Liebe.“

(Madan): „Sprich nicht so, verstehe Muna, deine Füße sind wie Blumen,
Die Wälder sind dornig und steil, wie kann ich dich mitnehmen?
Oh Nagas Tochter, komm nicht in die Berge !
Meine einzige Mutter, das glückverheißende Licht, vergiss sie nicht zu pflegen,
Lass eine Mutter, die sechzig Winter überstanden hat, nicht alleine,
Sie möge sitzen und auf dein mondgleiches Gesicht schauen.“

(Muna): „Ihre grau gewordenen Haare, ihre müde gewordener Körper, die Liebe deiner Mutter
Haben deine Füße nicht zurückgehalten, die Schatten der Liebe konnten dich nicht aufhalten,
Mein Herr, die Liebe deiner Mutter.
In ein wildes Land gehen, gekleidet wie ein Händler, Gefahren ausgesetzt,
Was soll gewonnen werden, Herr ! Du verlässt sie und gehst nach Lhasa?
Taschen voller Gold,( sind) Hände voller Schmutz, was bringt so ein Reichtum?
Besser ist es Brennnessel und Salat zu essen mit zufriedenem Herzen,
Oh meine Geliebte, mit einem reichen Herzen !“

Madan): „Geliebte, deine Worte treffen mich ins Herz,
Was willst du machen, Muna ? Dieser Atem stockt vor jenem sündhaften Reichtum,
Mit ein paar Schluck Milch würde ich Mutters Kehle erfrischen,
Ihre Wünsche nach eine Herberge und einem Brunnen erfüllen,
Diese Arme würde ich schmücken mit Reifen aus schwerem Gold,
Das Fundament des Hauses, baufällig durch Schulden, würde ich verstärken.
Diese Hoffnung entstand in meinem Herzen und verschwand wieder
Ich habe meine Füße jetzt gehoben, meine Wünsche gehoben,
Gott ist oben, mein Herz ist meine Begleiter, Ich werde diesen Fluss überqueren,
Falls ein Gefühl mir gesellen sollte, obwohl ich mich richtig verhalte, werde ich auf dem Weg sterben,
Außerhalb von dieser Erde, im Himmel, Liebste, werden wir uns wieder treffen.

(Muna): „Oh mein Krishna, sprich nicht und binde nicht den Knoten im Herzen noch enger,
In meinem Geist male ich ein Bild von deinem kostbaren Gesicht,
Wende dich nicht ab, Liebster ! Verstecke nicht die Tränen, die deine Augen füllen,
Die Mädchen von Lhasa, mit blitzenden Augen, aus Gold geschmiedet,
Ihre Sprache wie die einer Nachtigall, mit Rosen die auf ihren Wangen blühen,
Lass sie alle spielen, lass sie alle tanzen auf den Bergen und Wiesen,
Falls du mich vergisst, diese Tränen werden dich beunruhigen, sage ich ängstlich.
Mach dich auf die Reise, lass dunkel werden in Haus und Stadt,
Ich habe keine Kraft mehr zu weinen, ich habe Tränen vergossen vor dir“.
In der Dunkelheit brennen die Erinnerungen wenn es blitzt,
Ein Regen von kühlen Tränen wird vor den Augen der Sorgenvollen fallen.

Muna allein

Muna allein, wunderschön, blühend wie eine Lotusblume,
Sich offenbart wie der Mond, der die silberne Wolkenkante berührt,
Wenn sie ihre zarten Lippen öffnete zum Lächeln, regnete es Perlen,
Sie welkte wie eine Blume in Winter (Pus), und Tränen flossen aus ihren Augen
Sie trocknete ihren große Augen und kümmerte sich um ihre Schwiegermutter,
Wenn sie schlief in ihrem Kämmerlein war ihre Kissen durchnässt von tausend Sorgen.
Lang (waren) die Tage, lang die Nächte, traurig die Tage,
Ob dunkle Nächte oder helle, der Mond selbst war traurig,
Muna am Fenster, ein glitzernder Stern, ihre Liebster ist in Lhasa,
Tränen in ihren Augen, Munas Herz war zerfressen von Sorge,
Es war als ob ein dünner Nieselschauer in ihrer Stimme wäre.
Ein Lied stieg empor in der Stille, als ob die Sehnsucht selbst gesprochen hätte.
Ihre Träume waren kostbar für ihre Augen, Tausende von Sorgen erreichten sie nicht,
Wenn sie ihn im Traum sah, fiel es ihr schwer aufzustehen.
Sie weinte, da sie noch lebte, auch im Traum,
Tag für Tag welkt sie dahin wie eine Rose.
Sie versteckt ihre Trauer in ihrem Herzen, verbirgt sie in Schweigsamkeit:
Ein Vogel versteckt mit seinen Federn den Pfeil, der sein Herz durchbohrt,
Das Ende des Tages wird hell im Schein einer Lampe.
Die Schönheit einer welkenden Blumen wächst, wenn der Herbst nahe ist.
Die dunkeln Ränder der Wolken sind silbern, und der Mond ist noch heller,
Sein Gesicht beim Abschiednehmen leuchtet auf in ihrem Herzen, das Licht der Traurigkeit,
Tränen von Tautropfen fallen auf Blumen, Regenwasser vom Himmel,
Sternenlicht, Tränen der Nacht, tropfen auf die Erde.
Die süßen Wurzeln der schönen Rose werden zur Nahrung von Würmern
Eine Blume, die in der Stadt blüht, wird Opfer eines Bösen,
Die Hand eines Menschen füllt Schmutz in reines Wasser
Menschen säen Dornen in den Weg der Menschen.
Wunderschön, unsere Muna, sitzend an ihrem Fenster
Ein Stadtgauner, ein Taugenichts, sah sie, sie bewegte sich wie ein Nymphe,
Machte eine Lampe für die Göttin Bhavani.
Ihre runden Backen, ihre Ohrläppchen, ihre lockigen Haare,
Bei dieser plötzlichen Erscheinung stand er auf, verlor seinen Verstand,
Und ging weg, einmal hierhin, einmal dorthin.

Du siehst die Rose ist schön, Bruder berühre sie nicht!
Er sah sie mit Verlangen, er war verzaubert, werde kein Wilder!
Die Dinge der Schöpfung sind schöne Edelsteine für unsere Blicke,
Berühre und töte nicht die Blume, die Gottes Lächeln bekommen hat.

Madan ist auf dem Heimweg an Cholera erkrankt

„Lasst mich nicht im Wald allein, meine Freunde,
Zur sündigen Beute von Krähen und Geiern,
Meine alte Mutter daheim! Wird die alte Frau sterben?
Meine Muna, gleich wie der Mond, wird sie zu Tode geschlagen?
Oh meine Freunde, O meine Brüder, ich werde jetzt nicht sterben,
Ich werde den Tod bekämpfen, ich werde aufstehen, ich will nicht im Wald sterben,
Mein Hals ist trocken, meine Brust brennt, trocknet meine Tränen,
Noch habe ich Atem, noch habe ich Hoffnung, versteht meinen Schmerz,
Meine alte Mutter wird euch segnen, rettet mich!
Es ist Pflicht eines Menschen, die Tränen des anderen zu wischen.“

Was willst du tun, Bruder? Unser Heim ist weit entfernt von diesem Dschungelweg,
Warten wir bis du geheilt bist von dieser Cholera, wird uns Unglück bringen,
In diesem Wald gibt es keine Heilkräuter,
Verweile hier und denke an Gott,
Alle müssen gehen, ihre Haus und Heim verlassen,
Wenn du in deiner letzten Stunde an Gott denkst, wirst du sicher gerettet werden.“

Gestützt auf seine Arme, erhob sich Madan, (er sah), seine Freunde waren gegangen,
Im Westen hatten sich die Augen des Tages blutrot gefärbt,
Eine fahle Dämmerung kam über den Wald, sogar der Wind schlief ein,
Die Vögel hörten auf zu singen, die Kälte befiel ihn
Ein trauriger Zustand, erbarmungslos die Berge und Wälder,
Die Sterne, die ganze Welt erschien grausam, grausame Trostlosigkeit.
Er drehte sich langsam auf dem Gras, dann seufzte er,
Ein Bild von Zuhause kam in sein Gedächtnis, klarer als je zuvor,
‚Oh meine Mutter, denk an mich!
Oh meine Muna, denk an mich!
Gott, Gott, in diesem Wald bist Du meine einziger Freund,
(Von) oben siehst du die steinharten Herzen der Menschen.

Wo wird jene Feuerflamme sein? Hat der Wald Feuer gefangen?
Ist ein Waldbrand entstanden, um diesen sterbenden Menschen noch mehr zu zerstören?
Ein Man näherte sich, er trug eine Fackel,
War es ein Räuber, war es ein Geist oder eine böser Waldgeist?

Sein Atem hing an einem Faden, sollte er hoffen, sollte er fürchten?
Schließlich erreicht die Fackel sein Gesicht.
Ein Tibeter schaute, wer da weinte, er sah den kranken Mann,
Er sagt liebevoll, “Deine Freunde sind treulos,
Mein Haus ist in der Nähe, nur ein wenig (kos) entfernt, du wirst nicht sterben,
Ich werde dich tragen, ist dir das recht? Mir macht es nichts aus.“

Der arme Madan berührte die Füße des Tibeters and sagte,
„Oh mein Herr, mein tibetischer Bruder! Was für wunderbare Worte!
Daheim ist meine alte Mutter, ihre Haare sind grau,
Daheim ist meine Frau, die wie eine Lampe leuchtet,
Rette mich jetzt und Gott wird zuschauen,
Wer den Menschen hilft, wird bestimmt in den Himmel kommen.
Ich, aus der Kaste der Krieger, berühre deine Füße, ich tue es nicht widerwillig,
Ein Mensch ist ein Mensch durch die Größe seines Herzens, nicht durch seine Kaste“.

Der Tibeter trug ihn zu seinem Haus und legte ihn auf ein Tuch aus Wolle,
Er gab ihm ein paar Schluck Wasser und verwöhnte ihn liebevoll,
Er suchte und brachte eine Heilkraut, zerdrückte es und gab ihm zu trinken,
Mit Yakmilch machte er ihn wieder stark.

Madan verabschiedet sich von dem Tibeter

Madan dreht sich um und schaut nach dem Hof der Tibeter:
„Was für schöne Kinder, was für schöne junge Tiere, so im Spiel vertieft!“
Nachdem er zugeschaut hatte, wandte Madan sich dem Tibeter zu und
Seine Lippen offenbarten verborgene Wünsche seines Herzens:
„Grün sind die Hügel, die Blumen blühen in den Wäldern,
In meinem Herz denke ich an mein Heim in der Ferne, lieber Bruder.
Die Knospen müssen aufgebrochen sein, zart und duftend
Der Pflaumenbaum muss sich des Frühlings erfreuen,
Ein zartes Grün wird in den Wäldern erwacht sein!

Das kleine Haus in jenem Land, es strahlt in meiner Erinnerung
Meine Tränen sind der Tribut für jene Erinnerung
Meine Mutter, Mond der Berge, muss sich an mich erinnern,
Ich verweile weit entfernt an diesem Waldesrand, bringe Tränen in jenes Haus.
Du hast ewige Verdienste erworben, ich kann (es dir) nicht zurückzahlen,
Du hast mir das Geschenk des Lebens gegeben, ich kann (es dir) nicht zurückzahlen,
Ich stehe immer in deiner Schuld, kann es dir nicht zurückzahlen.
Zwei schmutzige Taschen mit Gold habe ich im Wald vergraben,
Eine ist für dich, eine ist für mich, gerecht verteilt für deinen Verdienst,
Nimm es, verabschiede mich, ich gehe nach Hause,
Während ich weitergehe, erinnere ich mich immer an Deine Barmherzigkeit.“

Der Tibeter sagt, “Was kann ich mit reinem Gold anfangen?
Gold wächst nicht, wenn du es pflanzt, oder? Was kann ich mit Gold machen?
Kann ich es pflanzen und essen durch deine Liebenswürdigkeit?
Meine Kinder, Söhne und Töchter, sind verlassen worden von ihrer Mutter,
Was nützt Gold, Vermögen, wenn das Schicksal sie uns weggenommen hat?
Diese Kinder können nicht Gold essen, sie tragen keinen Schmuck,
Meine Gattin ist im Himmel, die Wolken sind ihr einziger Schmuck.“
Der Tibeter sagt: „Diese Gelegenheit zu bekommen, Verdienste zu sammeln, war eine Chance“
Es war ein Glück, die Tugend der Hilfsbereitschaft zu üben.
Für meine Wohltat nehme ich nichts, behalte mich in Erinnerung, während du gehst.
Ich pflüge selbst, ich ernähre mich selbst, nichts wird mir geschenkt.
Was würdest du mir geben? Was werde ich nehmen? Ich bettle nicht.
Denk an meine Name (Changbas) während du gehst, erzähle über mich daheim,
Schicke den Segen der alten Frau für diese Kinder.“
Weinend brach er vom Waldrand auf, unwissend und ungebildet
In jenem Tibeter erinnerte er sich der Quelle des guten Herzens,
Weinend ging Madan in Richtung Heimat.

Madans Mutter stirbt

Madans Mutter, ihre Haare weiß, liegt im Bett,
Mond der Berge, wartend in Traurigkeit auf ihre letzten Tag.
Die Lampe dieses Hauses, das Öl verbraucht, sich verzehrend,
Flackerndes Licht, die Dunkelheit drohte zu kommen.
Sie sieht das Gesicht ihres Sohnes, und ruft (nach) Gott
Für ihren Sohn, ihres Herzens Herz, (ruft) sie nach Gott.
Eine Brise vom Fenster streicht über ihre weißen Haare und geht vorüber
Haucht Mutters Herz in Richtung Lhasa.
Keine Tränen in ihren Augen, erfüllt mit Frieden
Der Glanz des Endes kommt um die Abenddämmerung zu erhellen,
Die treibende Kraft ihres Lebens, ihr Garant gegen den Tod: Ihr Sohn ist weit weg,
Sein Gesicht zu sehen bevor sie stirbt, ist ihr Herzenswunsch,
Heiß von Fieber, ihr schmale Hand brennt mit Sehnsucht,
Sie hält liebevoll die Hand ihrer weinenden Schwiegertochter,
Tätschelt ihre weiche Hand und sagt, “O meine Schwiegertochter,
Jetzt ist die Zeit gekommen, ich muss diese Welt verlassen2,
Warum Weinen, weine nicht Schwiegertochter !

Alle müssen diesen Weg nehmen, mein Kind, der Reiche und der Fakir
Erde vermischt sich mit Erde an den Ufern des Leidens,
Erdulde dies, sei nicht gefangen in der Schlinge des Schmerzes,
Sei Fromm, denn Hingebung erbringt Erleuchtung auf dem letzten Weg!
Ich habe die Blumengärten der Erde blühen und verwelken gesehen,
In Traurigkeit, liebe Schwiegertochter, habe ich Gott erkannt !
Die Samen, die auf der Erde gesät werden, tragen Früchte im Himmel,
Was ich gegeben habe, nehme ich mit mir, was geht mit?
Der Reichtum, den du in einem Traum erwirbst, bleibet in deinen Händen, wenn du erwachst.
Ich nehme Abschied von allen, Madan ist nicht gekommen.
„Meine Augen haben ihn heute nicht gesehen, bevor sie sich schlossen,
Ich bin gestorben,“ sag dies zu Madan.
Die alte Frau, die ihrem Ende entgegen ging sagte: „Weine nicht zu sehr“

Madan kehrt Heim

Munas Worte waren wie Geschosse, erinnert sich Madan,
Wie süß hat sie mich getadelt, „ Was kannst du machen mit Reichtum?“
Ihre nektargleichen Worte trafen mich bis ins Mark und durchbohrten mein Herz,
„Besser ist es mit glücklichem Herzen Salat und Brennnessel zu verzehren“,
Jetzt hat Gott dies ermöglicht mit Reichtum
Ein Vorhang hat mich zugedeckt, ein Vorhang hat mir meinen Weg versperrt, oh Schwester!
Ich werde nicht weinen, ich werde morgen gehen und sie treffen,
Lüfte den Vorhang, O Schicksal (Gott), und du wirst schnell gesegnet.

Madan fiel auf die Erde und wurde schlapp vor Traurigkeit.
Der Arzt3 kam, hielt ihn am Handgelenk und fühlte seinen Puls:
Was ist Medizin für einen der krank ist am Herzen?
Probleme mit Husten und Schleim, sagt der Arzt,
Ohren, die Worte von anderen nicht hören, hören diese
Madan sagt ihm „Lies die Bücher über die Heilkunde, blättere die Susruta durch‚
Wo ist die Qual des Herzens, erzähle es mir?
Die Krankheit, die meinen Körper quält, ist, am Leben zu sein: Vertreibe diese Krankheit!
Die Erinnerung macht mich unruhig, ich habe Durst nach dem Anblick von Muna
Meine Augen starren in die Weite, ich werde verbrannt durch eine Brise,
Mein Gehirn dreht sich wie ein Wirbelwind, mein Herz schmerzt mich,
All meine Symptome sind in meinem Herzen, versteckt von der Außenwelt.“

Der Arzt schaute, der Arzt verstand, jener Arzt kam nie (mehr).
Was auch das Herzleiden sein mochte, ein Mittel dagegen wurde nicht gefunden.
Tag für Tag wurde es mit dem armen Madan noch schlimmer,
Er war bei Bewusstsein wie zuvor, seine Sprache war klar.
„Oh, meine Schwester, führe diesen Haushalt,
Erfülle Mutters Wunsch nach eine Herberge und einem Brunnen,
Muna kümmert sich um unsere einsame Mutter, hoch oben;
Möge keine andere einsame Mutter vernachlässigt werden,
Mach den Knoten an meinem Kleid auf, gib mir einen Schluck Gangeswasser,
Es gibt keine Medikamente, meine Schwester, für ein gebrochenes Herz!“
Die Wolken rissen auf, der Mond lächelte schön am Himmel,
Begleitet von den Sternen, schaute der Mond durch das Fenster,
Die Wolken zogen sich zusammen, Madan schlief für immer,
Am nächsten Tag war es wieder klar, und die Sonne ging auf.

Habt ihr den Staub aus eueren Augen gewischt, Bruder und Schwester?
Wir müssen diese Welt verstehen und nicht Feiglinge sein.
Schauen wir der Welt ins Gesicht, reißen wir uns zusammen,
Lasst unsere Flügel zum Himmel schwingen, während wir auf dieser Erde leben.
Wenn das Leben nur Essen und Trinken wäre, Herr, was wäre das Leben?
Wenn der Mensch keine Hoffnung hätte auf ein Leben danach, Herr, was wäre der Mensch?
Solange wir auf der Erde leben, schauen wir zum Himmel,
Klage nicht, wenn du nach unten auf der Erde schaust!
Der Geist ist die Lampe, der Körper das Opfer, und der Himmel die Belohnung.
Unsere Taten sind unsere Gottesverehrung, so sagt Laxmiprasad11, der Dichter.

Devkota, Lakshmiprasad:Muna Madan Sajha Prakashan, Kathmandu





Satis Shroff & the Männergesangverein-Kappel


Mixed Choir in St. Peter, Schwarzwald


Freiburger Nepalese Association (FNA) at the University event with MGV-Kappel 



As the Breisgau-train dashes in the Black Forest,

Between Elztal and Freiburg,

I am with my thoughts in South Asia.


I hear the melodious cry of the vendors:

‘Pan, bidi, cigarette,’

Interspersed with ‘garam chai! Garam chai!’

The sound of sambosas bubbling in vegetable oil,

The rat-ta-tat of onions, garlic and salad

Being rhythmically chopped in the kitchen,

Mingled with the ritual songs of the Hindus.

The voices of uncles, aunts, cousins

Debating, discussing, gesticulating, grimacing

In Nepali, English, Newari, Hindi and Sindhi.


I head for Swayambhu,

The hill of the Self-Existent One.

Om mane pame hum stirs in the air,

As a lama passes by.

I’m greeted by cries of Rhesus monkeys,

Pigeons, mynahs, crows,

And the cracks of automatic guns

Of the Royal Army.


There’s a brodelndes Miteinander,

Different sounds, natural sounds,

Musical sounds.

I hear Papa listening to classical ragas.

We, his sons and daughters,

Dancing the twist, rock n’ roll, jive to Cool Britania,

The afternoon programme of the BBC.

Catchy Bollywood wechsel rhythms,

Sung by Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle,

Rafi, Mukesh and Kishor Kumar.

In the evenings after Radio Nepal’s External Service,

Radio Colombo’s light Anglo-American melodies:

Dean Martin’s drunken schmaltz,

Billy Fury, Cliff Richards, Rickey Nelson,

And Sir Swivel-hip, Elvis Presley

Wailing ‘You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog.’


Out in the streets the songs of the beggars,

‘Amai, paisa deo,

Babai khanu chaina,’

Overwhelmed by the cacaphony

Of the obligatory marriage  brass-band,

Wearing shocking green and red uniforms.

A tourist wired for sound walks by,

With a tortured smile on his face,

An acoustic agitation for an i-Pod listener,

Who prefers his own canned music.


From a side street you discern the tune

Of ‘Rajamati kumati’ rendered by a group

Of  Jyapoo traditional musicians,

After a hard day’s work,

In the wet paddy fields of Kathmandu.

Near the Mahabaoudha temple you see

Young Sherpas, Thakalis, Tamangs, Newars

Listening, hip-hopping and break-dancing

To their imported ghetto-blasters:

Michel Jackson’s catchy tunes,

Eminem, 2 Pac, Madonna, 5 Cents.


Everyone hears music, everyone makes music,

With or without music instruments,

Humming the latest Bollywood tunes,

Drumming on the tables, wooden walls,

Boxes, crates, thalis, saucers and pans.

Everyone’s engaged in singing and dancing.

The older people chanting bhajans and vedic songs,

Buddhist monks reciting from the sutras in sonorous voices,

When someone dies in the neighbourhood.

Entire nights of prayers for the departed soul.


The whole world is full of music,

Making it, feasting on it,

Dancing and nodding to it.

I remember the old village dalit,

From the caste of the untouchables,

Who’d come and beat his big drum,

Before he proclaimed the decision of the five village elders,

The panchayat.


I remember the beautiful music from the streets of Bombay,

Where I spent the winters during my school-days.

Or was it musical noise?

Unruhe, panic and flight for some,

It was the music of life for me in that tumultuous, exciting city.

When the sea of humanity was too much for me,

I could escape by train to the Marine Drive,

And see and hear the music of the breakers,

The waves of the Arabian Sea splashing and thrashing

Along the coast of Mumbai.

Your muscles flex, the nerves flatter, the heart gallops,

As you feel how puny you are,

Among all those incessant and powerful waves.


Music has left its cultural confines.

You hear the strings of a sitar

Mingling with big band sounds.

Percussions from Africa

Accompanying ragas from Nepal.

A never-ending performance of musicians

From all over the world.

Bollywood dancing workshops at Lörrach,

Slam poetry at Freiburg’s Atlantic inn.

A didgeridoo accompaning Japanese drums

At the Zeltmusik festival.

Tabla and tanpura involved in a musical dialogue,

With trumpet and saxaphone,

Argentinian tango and Carribian salsa,

Fiery Flamenco dancers dancing

With classical Bharta Natyam dancers,

Mani Rimdu masked-dancers accompanied

By a Tibetan monastery orchestra,

And shrill Swiss piccolo flute tunes and drummers.


I reach my destination

With the green and white Breisgaubahn,

Get off at Zähringen-Freiburg.

The Black Forest looks ravishing,

For it’s Springtime.


As I walk past the Café Bueb, the Metzgerei,

The St. Blasius church bells begin to chime.

I see Annette’s tiny garden with red, yellow and white tulips,

‘Hallochen!’ she says with a broad, blonde smile.

I walk on and admire Frau Bender’s cherry-blossom tree,

Her pensioned husband nods back at me.

And in the distance, a view of the Schwarzwald.


As I approach my residence at the end of the Pochgasse,

I hear the sound of Schumann’s sonate number 3,

Played by Vladimir Horowitz.

That’s harmony for the heart.


I know

I’m home abroad.




Wechselrhythmus: changing rhythms

Bahn: train

Mumbai: Bombay

Bueb: small male child

Chen: Verniedlichung, like Babu-cha in Newari

Schwarzwald: The Black Forest of south-west Germany

Miteinander: togetherness




                       The Lure of the Himalayas (Satis Shroff)                               


Once upon a time,

Near the town of Kashgar,

I, a stranger in local clothes was captured

By the sturdy riders of Vali Khan.

What was a stranger

With fair skin and blue eyes,

Looking for in Vali Khan’s terrain?

I, the stranger spoke a strange tongue.

‘He’s a spy sent by China.

Behead him,’ barked the Khan’s officer.

I pleaded and tried to explain

My mission in their country.

It was all in vain.


On August 26, 1857

I, Adolph Schlagintweit,

a German traveller, an adventurer,

Was beheaded as a spy,

Without a trial.


I was a  German who set out on the footsteps

Of the illustrious Alexander von Humboldt,

With my two brothers Hermann and Robert,

From Southhampton on September 20,1854

To see India, the Himalayas and Higher Asia.

The mission of the 29000km journey

Was to make an exact cartography

Of the little known countries,

Sans invitation, I must admit.


In Kamet we reached a 6785m peak,

An elevation record in those days.

We measured the altitudes,

Gathered magnetic, meteorological,

And anthropological data.

We even collected extensive

Botanical, zoological and ethnographic gems.


Hermann and I made 751 sketches,

Drawings, water-colour and oil paintings.

The motifs were Himalayan panoramas,

Single summits, glacier formations,

Himalayan rivers and houses of the natives.

Padam valley, near the old moraine

Of the main glacier at Zanskar in pencil and pen.

A view from Gunshankar peak 6023 metres,

From the Trans-Sutlej chain in aquarelle.

A European female in oriental dress in Calcutta 1855.

Brahmin, Rajput and Sudra women draped in saris.

Kristo Prasad, a 35 year old Rajput

Photographed in Benaras.

An old Hindu fakir with knee-long rasta braids,


Bhot women from Ladakh, snapped in Simla.

Kahars, Palki-porters from Bihar,

Hindus of the Sudra caste.

A Lepcha armed with bow and arrows,

In traditional dress up to his calves

And a hat with plume.

Kistositta, a 25 year old Brahmin from Bengal,

Combing the hair of Mungia,

A 43 year old Vaisa woman.

A wandering Muslim minstrel Manglu at Agra,

With his sarangi.

A 31 year old Ram Singh, a Sudra from Benaras,

Playing his Kolebassen flute.

The monsoon,

And thatched Khasi houses at Cherrapunji


The precious documents of our long journey

Can be seen at the Alpine Museum Munich.

Even a  letter,

Sent by Robert to our sister Matilde,

Written on November 2, 1866 from Srinagar:

‘We travelled a 200 English mile route,

Without seeing a human being,

Who didn’t belong to our caravan.

Besides our horses, we had camels,

The right ones with two humps,

Which you don’t find in India.

We crossed high glacier passes at 5500m

And crossed treacherous mountain streams.’ 


My fascination for the Himalayas

Got the better of me.

I had breathed the rare Himalayan air,

And felt like Icarus.

I wanted to fly higher and higher,

Forgetting where I was.

My brothers Hermann and Robert left India

By ship and reached Berlin in June,1857.


I wanted to traverse the continent

Disregarding the dangers,

For von Humboldt was my hero.

Instead of honour and fame,

My body was dragged by wild riders in the dust,

Although I had long left the world.


A Persian traveller, a Muslim with a heart

Found my headless body.

He brought my remains all the way to India,

Where he handed it to a British colonial officer.


It was a fatal fascination,

But had I the chance,

I’d do it again.




SANTA FE (Satis Shroff)


A German professor wooed me

And said I could still do my creative writing work

If, and when, I married him.

I said ‘Ja’ and gave birth to five children,

And had no time to write.

I was forever changing napkins,

Applying creams on the baby’s bottom,

Cooking meals for seven family members,

Washing the piles of cups and plates, forks, spoons, knives

And clothes.


Dusting the many windows of a three-storied house,

Feeding and nursing the small ones,

Praising and caressing the bigger ones.

It was a full time job.


I had snatches of thoughts for my writing.

But since I didn’t have time to jot them down,

They evaporated into thin air.

Lost were my intellectual gems,

Between sunrise and sunset.


I became too tired of it all.

I was glad if I could get a good night’s sleep.

Sleep, Nature’s balm, soothed me to bear the hardships.

The family was too much with me.


One day I left for Santa Fe,

The one place where I felt free.

Free to think and sort out my thoughts,

And watch them grow in my laptop.



THE BROKEN POET (Satis Shroff)


I was the president of the Nepali Literary Society

And my realm was a small kingdom

Of readers and writers in the foothills of the Himalayas.

I came a long way,

Having started as an accountant of His Majesty’s government.

I was a Brahmin and married a Chettri woman,

Pretty as a Bollywood starlet.

It flattered my masculinity,

For she was a decade younger than I.

I took up writing late and managed to publish a few poems.

They said my verses were bad and received many reject slips.

By chance I ran into a gifted young man,

Who became my ghost writer.


When I was too busy doing business,

Juggling figures to suit my purpose,

He’d write wonderful verses and short-stories

In my name.

My fame grew and in this small kingdom

I was highly decorated for my boundless creativity.

Books of verse appeared with my name.

My poems were recited at literary circles.

I became prolific and prominent.

Till my ghost-writer ran away

With my young wife.

And there was I,

An old, bruised, run-down old man.

Bedridden and waiting for Yamaraj

To summon me,

To face the eternal destiny of life,

After a bout of liver cirrhosis.

The raksi, Gurkha rum and expensive Scotch

Got the better of me.

I kept a stiff upper-lip

Till the bitter end.



Bahun / Chettri: high caste Hindus in Nepal

Bollywood: India’s Hollywood, located in Bombay (Mumbai)

Yamaraj: God of Death in Hinduism

Raksi: high percentage alcohol sold in Nepal, Darjeeling, Sikkim, Bhutan

Gurkha: Soldier from Nepal

* * *


MY NEPAL, QUO VADIS? (Satis Shroff)


My Nepal, what has become of you?

Your features have changed with time.

The innocent face of the Kumari

Has changed to the blood-thirsty countenance

Of Kal Bhairab,

From development to destruction,

From bikas to binas.

A crown prince fell in love,

But couldn’t assert himself,

In a palace where ancient traditions still prevail.

Despite Eton college and a liberal education,

He chose guns instead of rhetoric,

And ended his young life,

As well as those of his parents

And other members

Of the royal family.

An aunt from London aptly remarked,

‘He was like the terminator.’

Another bloodshed in a Gorkha palace,

Recalling the Kot massacre

Under Jung Bahadur Rana.


You’re no longer the same

There’s insurrection and turmoil

Against the government and the police.

Your sons and daughters are at war,

With the Gurkhas again.


Maobadis with revolutionary flair,

With ideologies from across the Tibetan Plateau

And Peru.

Ideologies that have been discredited elsewhere,

Flourish in the Himalayas.

Demanding a revolutionary-tax

From tourists and Nepalis

With brazen, bloody attacks

Fighting for their own rights

And the rights

Of the bewildered common man.


Well-trained government troops at the orders

Of politicians safe in Kathmandu.

Leaders, who despise talks and compromises,

Flex their tongues and muscles,

And let the imported automatic salves

Speak their deaths.

Ill-armed guerrillas against well-armed Royal Gurkhas

In the foothills of the Himalayas.


Nepali children have no chance, but to take sides

To take to arms not knowing the reason

And against whom.

The child-soldier gets orders from grown-ups

And the hapless souls open fire.

Hukum is order,

The child-soldier cannot reason why.

Shedding precious human blood,

For causes they both hold high.

Ach, this massacre in the shadow of the Himalayas.

Nepalis look out of their ornate windows,

In the west, east, north and south Nepal

And think:

How long will this krieg go on?

How much do we have to suffer?

How many money-lenders, businessmen, civil servants,

Policemen and gurkhas do the Maobadis want to kill

Or be killed?

How many men, women, boys and girls

Have to be mortally injured

Till Kal Bhairab is pacified by the Sleeping Vishnu?

How many towns and villages in the seventy five districts

Do the Maobadis want to free from capitalism?

When the missionaries close their schools,

Must the Hindus and Buddhists

Shut their temples and shrines?

Shall atheism be the order of the day?

Not in my Nepal.


It breaks my heart, as I hear over the radio:

Nepal’s not safe for visitors.

Visitors who leave their money behind,

In the pockets of travel agencies,

Rug dealers, currency and drug dealers,

And hordes of ill-paid honest Sherpas and Tamang porters.

Sweat beads trickling from their sun-burnt faces,

In the dizzy heights of the Dolpo, Annapurna ranges

And the Khumbu glaciers.

Eking out a living and facing the treacherous

Icy crevasses, snow-outs, precipices

And a thousand deaths.


Beyond the beaten trekking paths

Live the poorer families of Nepal.

No roads, no schools,

Sans drinking water and sans hospitals,

Where aids and children’s work prevail.


Lichhavis, Thakuris and Mallas have made you eternal

Man Deva inscribed his title on the pillar of Changu,

After great victories over neighbouring states.

Amshu Verma was a warrior and mastered the Lichavi Code.

He gave his daughter in marriage to Srong Beean Sgam Po,

The ruler of Tibet, who also married a Chinese princess.

Jayastathi Malla ruled long

And introduced the system of the caste,

A system based on the family occupation,

That became rigid with the tide of time.

Yaksha Malla the ruler of Kathmandu Valley,

Divided it into Kathmandu, Patan and Bhadgaon

For his three sons.


It was Prithvi Narayan Shah of Gorkha,

Who brought you together,

As a melting pot of ethnic diversities.

With Gorkha conquests that cost the motherland

Thousands of ears, noses and Nepali blood


The Ranas usurped the royal throne

And put a prime minister after the other for 104 years.

104 years of a country in poverty and medieval existence.

It was King Tribhuvan’s proclamation

And the blood of the Nepalis,

Who fought against the Gorkhas

Under the command of the Ranas,

That ended the Rana autocracy.

His son King Mahendra saw to it

That he held the septre

When Nepal joined the UNO.

The multiparty system along with the Congress party

Was banned.


Then came thirty years of Panchayat promises

Of a Hindu rule,

A land where Buddhists, Muslims,

Animists and Christians live,

With a system based on the five village elders,

Like the proverbial five fingers in one’s hand,

That are not alike,

Yet functioned in harmony.

The Panchayat government was indeed an old system,

Packed and sold as a new

And traditional one.

A system is just as good

As the people who run it.

And Nepal didn’t run.

It revived the age-old chakary,

Feudalism  with its countless spies and yes-men,

Middle-men who held out their hands

For bribes, perks and amenities.

Poverty, caste-system with its divisions

And conflicts,

Discrimination, injustice, bad governance

Became the nature of the day.


A big chasm appeared between the haves-and-have-nots.

The social inequality, frustrated expectations of the poor

Led to a search for an alternative pole.

The farmers were ignored, the forests and land confiscated,

Corruption and inefficiency became the rule of the day.

Even His Majesty’s servants went so far as to say:

Raja ko kam, kahiley jahla gham.


The birthplace of Buddha

And the Land of Pashupati,

A land which King Birendra declared a Zone of Peace,

Through signatures of the world’s leaders

Is at war today.


Bush’s government paid 24 million dollars for development aid,

Another 14 million dollars for insurgency relevant spendings

5,000 M-16 rifles from the USA

5,500 maschine guns from Belgium.

Guns that are aimed at Nepali men, women and children,

In the mountains of Nepal.

Alas, under the shade of the Himalayas,

This corner of the world has become volatile again.


My academic friends have changes sides,

From Mandalay to Congress

From Congress to the Maobadis.

From Hinduism to Communism.

The students from Dolpo and Silgadi,

Made unforgettable by Peter Mathiessen

In his quest for his inner self

And his friend George Schaller’s search

For the snow leopard,

Wrote Marxist verses and acquired volumes

From the embassies in Kathmandu:

Kim Il Sung’s writings, Mao’s red booklet,

Marx’s Das Kapital and Lenin’s works,

And defended socialist ideas

At His Majesty’s Central Hostel in Tahachal.

I see their earnest faces, then with books in their arms

Now with guns and trigger-happy,

Boisterous and ready to fight to the end

For a cause they cherish in their frustrated and fiery hearts.


But aren’t these sons of Nepal misguided and blinded

By the seemingly victories of socialism?

Even Gorbachov pleaded for Peristroika,

And Putin admires Germany, its culture and commerce.

Look at the old Soviet Union, and other East Bloc nations.

They have all swapped sides and are EU and Nato members.

Globalisation has changed the world fast,

But in Nepal time stands still

The blind beggar at the New Road gate sings:

Lata ko desh ma, gaddha tantheri.

In a land where the tongue-tied live,

The deaf desire to rule.

Oh my Nepal, quo vadis?


The only way to peace and harmony  is

By laying aside the arms.

Can Nepal afford to be the bastion

Of a movement and a government

That rides rough-shod over the lives and rights

Of fellow Nepalis?

Can’t we learn from the lessons of Afghanistan and Iraq?

The Maobadis must be given a chance at the polls,

Like all other democratic parties.

For the Maobadis are bahuns and chettris,

Be they Prachanda or Baburam Bhattrai,

Leaders who’d prefer to retain Macht in Nepal.


There was no chance for a constitutional monarch,

A re-incarnated Vishnu,

Who held the executive, judiciary, legislative,

Spiritual and temporal powers

In the shadow of the Himalayas.



A GURKHA MOTHER  (Satis Shroff)

(Death of a Precious Jewel)


The gurkha with a khukri

But no enemy

Works for the United Nations

And yet gets shot at

In missions he doesn’t comprehend.

Order is hukum,

Hukum is life

Johnny Gurkha still dies under foreign skies.


He never asks why

Politics isn’t his style

He’s fought against all and sundry:

Turks, Tibetans, Italians and Indians

Germans, Japanese, Chinese

Argentenians and Vietnamese.

Indonesians and Iraqis.

Loyalty to the utmost

Never fearing a loss.


The loss of a mother’s son

From the mountains of Nepal.


Her grandpa died in Burma

For the glory of the British.

Her husband in Mesopotemia

She knows not against whom

No one did tell her.

Her brother fell in France,

Against the Teutonic hordes.

She prays to Shiva of the Snows for peace

And her son’s safety.

Her joy and her hope

Farming on a terraced slope.


A son who helped wipe her tears

And ease the pain in her mother’s heart.

A frugal mother who lives by the seasons

And peers down to the valleys

Year in and year out

In expectation of her soldier son.


A smart Gurkha is underway

Heard from across the hill with a shout

‘It’s an officer from his battalion.

A letter with a seal and a poker-face

“Your son died on duty”, he says,

“Keeping peace for the Queen of England

And the United Kingdom.”


A world crumbles down

The Nepalese mother cannot utter a word

Gone is her son,

Her precious jewel.

Her only insurance and sunshine

In the craggy hills of Nepal.

And with him her dreams

A spartan life that kills.



gurkha: soldier from Nepal

khukri: curved knife used in hand-to-hand combat

hukum: Befehl/command/order

shiva: a god in Hinduism




Der Verlust des Sohnes einer Mutter (Satis Shroff)


Der Gurkha[1] mit einem gefährlichen Khukuri[2]

Aber kein Feind in Sicht,

Arbeitet für den UNO, und wird erschossen

für Einsätze, die er nicht begreift.

Befehl ist Hukum[3],

 Hukum ist sein Leben

Johnny Gurkha[4] stirbt noch

Unter fremdem Himmel.


Er fragt nie warum

Die Politik ist nicht seine Stärke.

Er hat gegen alle gekämpft:

Türken, Tibeter, Italiener, und Inder

Deutsche, Japaner, Chinesen,

Vietnamesen und Argentinier[5].


Loyal bis ans Ende,

Er trauert keinem Verlust nach.

Der Verlust des Sohnes einer Mutter,

Von den Bergen Nepals.


Ihr Großvater starb in Birmas Dschungel

Für die glorreichen Engländer.

Ihr Mann fiel in Mesopotamien,

Sie weiß nicht gegen wen,

Keiner hat es ihr gesagt.

Ihr Bruder ist in Frankreich gefallen,

Gegen die teutonische Reichsarmee.


Sie betet Shiva[6] von den Schneegipfeln an

Für Frieden auf Erden, und ihres Sohnes Wohlbefinden.

Ihr einzige Freude, ihre letzte Hoffnung,

Während sie den Terrassenacker auf einem schroffen Hang bestellt.

Ein Sohn, der ihr half,

Ihre Tränen zu wischen

Und den Schmerz in ihrem mütterlichen Herz zu lindern.


Eine arme Mutter, die mit den Jahreszeiten lebt,

Jahr ein und Jahr aus, hinunter in die Täler schaut

Mit Sehnsucht auf ihren Soldatensohn.


Ein Gurkha ist endlich unterwegs

Man hört es über den Bergen mit einem Geschrei.

Es ist ein Offizier von seiner Batallion.

Ein Brief mit Siegel und ein Pokergesicht

„Ihren Sohn starb im Dienst“, sagt er lakonisch

„Er kämpfte für die Königin von England

Und für den Vereinigten Königreich.“


Eine Welt bricht zusammen

Und kommt zu einem Ende.

Ein Kloß im Hals der Nepali Mutter.

Nicht ein Wort kann sie herausbringen.

Weg ist ihr Sohn, ihr kostbares Juwel.

Ihr einzige Versicherung und ihr Sonnenschein.

In den unfruchtbaren, kargen Bergen,

Und mit ihm ihre Träume

Ein spartanisches Leben,

Das den Tod bringt.



MY NIGHTMARE (Satis Shroff)


When the night is not too cold

And when my bed isn’t cold

I dream of a land far away.

A land where a king rules his realm,

A land where there are still peasants without rights,

Who plough the fields that don’t belong to them.

A land where the children have to work,

And have no time for daydreams,

Where girls cut grass and sling heavy baskets on their backs.

Tiny feet treading up the steep path.

A land where the father cuts wood from sunrise till sunset,

And brings home a few rupees.

A land where the innocent children stretch their right hands,

And are rewarded with dollars.

A land where a woman gathers white, red, yellow and crimson

tablets and pills,

From the altruistic world tourists who come her way.

Most aren’t doctors or nurses,

But they distribute the pills,

With no second thoughts about the side-effects.

The Nepali woman possesses an arsenal,

Of potent pharmaceuticals.

She can’t read the finely printed instructions,

For they are in German, French, English, Czech,

Japanese, Chinese, Italian and Spanish.

What does she care, the hieroglyphs are  always there.

Black alphabets appear like an Asiatic buffalo to her.

Kala akshar, bhaisi barabar,’ says the Nepali woman,

For she can neither read nor write.

The very thought of her giving the bright pills and tablets

To another ill Nepali child or mother,

Torments my soul.

How ghastly this thoughtless world

Of educated trekkers who give medical alms

And play the  macabre role of  physicians

In the amphitheatre of the Himalayas.


 Grieving muse at the Albert Ludwigs University..



‘You’re not going to get away this time.

And you’ll never ever bring a Nepali child

To a Bombay brothel,’ I said to myself.

I’d killed a man who’d betrayed me

And sold me to an old, cunning Indian woman,

Who ran a brothel in Bombay’s Upper Grant Road.


I still see the face of Lalita-bai,

Her greedy eyes gleaming at the sight of rich Indian customers.

I hear the eternal video-music of Bollywood.


The man I’d slain

Had promised to give me a job,

As a starlet in Bollywood.

I was young, naïve and full of dreams.

He took me to a shabby, cage-like room

And told me to wait.

Three thugs did the rest.

They robbed my virginity,

Which I’d wanted to save

For the man I’d marry one day.

They thrashed me, put me on drugs.

I had no control over my limbs,

My torso, my mind.

It was Hell on earth.


I was starring in a bad Bollywood film,

A lamb that had been sacrificed,

Not to the Hindu Gods,

But to Indian customers and pimps

From all walks of life.


What followed were five years of captivity,

Rape and molestation.

I pleaded with tears in my eyes

To the customers to help me out of my misery.

They just shook their heads and beat me,

Ravished me and threw dirty rupees at my face.

I never felt so ashamed, demeaned,

Maltreated in my young life.


One day a local doctor with a lab-report

Told Lalita-bai that I had aids.

From that day on I became an outcast.

I was beaten and bruised,

For a disease I hadn’t asked for.


I felt broken and wretched.

I returned to Nepal, my homeland.

I lived like a recluse,

Didn’t talk to anyone.

I worked in the fields,

Cut grass and gathered firewood.

I lost my weight.

I was slipping.


Till the day the man who’d ruined

My life came in search of new flesh

For Bombay’s brothels.

I asked the man to spend the night in my house.

He agreed readily.

I cooked for him, gave him a lot of raksi,

Till he sang and slept.


It was late at night.

I knew he’d go out to the toilet

After all that drinking.

I got up, took my naked khukri

And followed him stealthily.

The air was fresh outside.

A mountain breeze made the leaves

Emit a soft whispering sound.

I crouched behind a bush and waited.


He murmured drunkenly ‘Resam piri-ri.’

As he made his way back,

I was behind him.

I took a big step forwards with my right foot,

Swung the khukri blade

And hit him behind his neck.

I winced as I heard a crack,

Flesh and bone giving in.

A spurt of blood in the moonlight.

He fell with a thud in two parts.

His distorted head rolled to one side,

And his body to the other.


My heart was racing.

I couldn’t almost breathe.

I sat hunched like all women do,

Waited to catch my breath.

The minutes seemed like hours.

I got up, went to the dhara to wash my khukri.

I never felt so relieved in my life.

I buried him that night.

But I had nightmares for the rest of my life.



khukri: curved multipurpose knife often used in Nepali households and by Gurkha regiments as a deadly weapon.

Dhara: water-sprout in the hills.

Resam piri-ri: a popular Nepali folksong heard often along the trekking-trails of Annapurna, Langtang and Everest.

Bollywood: India’s Hollywood



When Mother Closes Her Eyes (Satis Shroff)


When mother closes her eyes,

She sees everything in its place

In the kingdom of Nepal.

She sees the highest building in Kathmandu,

The King’s Narayanhiti palace.

It looms higher than the dharara,

Swayambhu, Taleju and Pashupati,

For therein lives Vishnu,

Whom the Hindus call the unconquerable preserver.


The conqueror of Nepal?

No, that was his ancestor Prithvi Narayan Shah,

A king of Gorkha.

Vishnu is the preserver of the world,

With qualities of mercy and goodness.

Vishnu is all-pervading and self existent,

Visits the Nepal’s remote districts

In a helicopter with his consort and militia.

He inaugurates building

Factories and events.

Vishnu dissolves the parliament too,

For the sake of his kingdom.

His subjects and worshippers are, of late, divided.

Have Ravana and his demons besieged his land?


When mother opens her eyes,

She sees Vishnu still slumbering

On his bed of Sesha, the serpent

In the pools of Budanilkantha and Balaju.


Where is the Creator?

When will he wake up from his eternal sleep?

Only Bhairab’s destruction of the Himalayan world is to be seen.

Much blood has been shed between the decades and the centuries.

The mound of  noses and ears of the vanquished at Kirtipur,

The shot and mutilated at the Kot massacre,

The revolution in front of the Narayanhiti Palace,

When Nepalis screamed and died for democracy.

And now the corpses of the Maobadis,

Civilians and Nepali security men.


Hush! Sleeping Gods should not be awakened.




Life is a Cosmic Dance (Satis Shroff)


My soul is a passionate dancer.

I hear music where ever I am,

Whatever I do.

I hear the lively rhythm beckoning me to dance.

Sometimes it violins and Vienna waltz.

At other times a fiery salsa.

A Punjabi bhangra or a slow fox.

An Argentinian tango or a romantic rumba.


Life is a cosmic  a cosmic dance.

With its kampfmuster

And its own choreography.

We have people around us.

We look at each other,

Oblivious of the others.


Drawn together by an invisible force.


The Flamenco guitarist wails,

‘Life is an apple,

Pluck it,

Eat it,

And throw it away.’



Patchwork Kaleidoscope (Satis Shroff)


What’s happening around us?

Lovers getting united,

Only to be separated.

Champagne glasses are raised.

We look deep into our eyes,

Our very souls.

There are reunions

But with other partners and families.

Patchwork families,

With tormented and bewildered children.

Marriages between gays and lesbians,

Adopted children to give the new bond

A family touch.


A colourful kaleidoscope unfurls before our eyes.

Do we know enough about relationships?

You and me.

Me and you.

Till death do us part?

Or till someone enters your or my life,

And takes my breath away.

Or yours.










I bought some buns and bread at the local bakery

And met our elderly neighbour Frau Nelles

She looked well-dressed and walked with a careful gait,

Up the Pochgasse having done her errands.

She greeted in German with ‘Guten morgen.’

Sighed and said, ‘ Wissen Sie,

I feel a wave of sadness sweep over me.’

‘Why?’ I asked.

‘Today is our wedding anniversary.’


‘Is it that bad?’ I whispered.


‘Yes,’ she replied.

‘My husband just stares at me and says nothing,

And has that blank expression on his face.

This isn’t the optimistic, respected philology professor

I married thirty years ago.


He forgets everything.

Our birthdays, the anniversaries of our children, the seasons.

My husband has Alzheimer.

Es tut so weh!

Our double bed isn’t a bed of roses anymore,

It’s a bed of thorny roses.

I snatch a couple of hours of sleep,

When I can.


I don’t have a husband now,

I have a child,

That needs caring day and night.

I’ve become apprehensive.

I’m concerned when he coughs

Or when he stops to breathe.

He snores again,

And keeps me awake.

Has prostrate problems,

And is fragile.

Like Shakespeare aptly said:

‘Care keeps his watch in every old (wo)man’s eye,

And where care lodges, sleep will never lie.’


Neither can I live with myself,

Nor can I bring him to a home.



Guten morgen: good morning

Es tut so weh!: It pains such a lot






There were two young men, brothers

Who left their homes

In the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas.

The older one, for his father had barked at him,

“Go to Nepal and never come home again.”

The younger, for he couldn’t bear the beatings

At the hands of  his old man


The older brother sobbed and stifled his sorrow and anger

For Nepal was in fact Kathmandu,

With its colleges, universities, Education Ministry,

Temples, Rana-palaces and golden pagodas

And also its share of hippies, hashish, tourists,

Rising prices and expensive rooms to rent.


The younger brother went to Dharan,

And  enlisted in the British  Army depot

To become a Gurkha, a soldier in King Edwards Own Gurkha Rifles.

He came home the day became a recruit,

With a bald head, as though his father had died.

He looked forward to the parades and hardships

That went under the guise of physical exercises.

He thought of stern, merciless sergeants and corporals

Of soccer games and regimental drills

A young man’s thrill of war-films and scotch and Gurkha-rum evenings.

He’d heard it all from the Gurkhas who’s returned in the Dasain festivals.

There was Kunjo Lama his maternal cousin,

Who boasted of his judo-prowess and showed photos of his British gal,

A pale blonde from Chichester in an English living-room.


It was a glorious sunset,

The clouds blazing in scarlet and orange hues,

As the young man, riding on the back of a lorry,

Sacks full of rice and salt,

Stared at the Siwaliks and Mahabharat mountains

Dwindling behind him.

As the sun set in the Himalayas,

The shadows grew longer in the vales.

The young man saw the golden moon,

Shining from a cloudy sky.

The same moon he’d seen on a poster in his uncle’s kitchen

As he ate cross-legged his dal-bhat-shikar after the hand-washing ritual.

Was the moon a metaphor?

Was it his fate to travel to Kathmandu,

Leaving behind his childhood friends and relatives in the hills,

Who were struggling for their very existence,

In the foothills of the Kanchenjunga,

Where the peaks were not summits to be scaled, with or without oxygen,

But the abodes of the Gods and Goddesses.

A realm where bhuts and prets, boksas and boksis,

Demons and dakinis prevailed.



Ranas: a ruling class that usurped the throne and ruled for 104 years in Nepal

Gurkhas: Nepali soldiers serving in Nepalese, Indian and British armies

Dal-bhat: Linsen und Reis

Shikar: Fleischgericht

Bhuts and prets: Demonen und Geister

Boksas und Boksis: männliche und weibliche Hexen



A smiling Satis Shroff and the coveted Neruda Award 2017

A smiling Satis Shroff and the coveted Neruda Award 2017

Autor Biographie


Satis Shroff ist Dozent, Schriftsteller, Dichter und Künstler. Er hat den Pablo Neruda Award 2017 für Gedichte erhalten. Ihm wurde auch der DAAD-Preis verliehen.  Er hat sechs Bücher geschrieben: Im Schatten des Himalaya (Gedichte und Prosa), Through Nepalese Eyes (Reisebericht), Katmandu, Katmandu (Gedichte und Prosa mit Nepali autoren) Glacial Whispers (Gedichtesammlung zwischen 1997-2010).  Er hat zwei Sprachführer im Auftrag von Horlemannverlag und Deutsche Stiftung für Entwicklungsdienst (DSE) geschrieben, außerdem drei Artikeln über die Gurkhas, Achtausender und Nepals Symbolen für Nelles Verlags ‚Nepal’ und über Hinduismus in „Nepal: Myths & Realities (Book Faith India). Sein Gedicht „Mental Molotovs“ wurde im epd-Entwicklungsdienst (Frankfurt) veröffentlicht. Seine Lyrik sind in Slow Trains, International Zeitschrift, World Poetry Society (WPS), New Writing North, Muses Review, The Megaphone, Pen Himalaya, Interpoetry publiziert worden.

Bücher von Satis Shrof: