Copyright©Yogesh Patel & all respective copyright holders of the material published
Intrepid love galloped with intent
Looking with apprehension over the shoulder.
The whiplash of patriarchal authority
Spurred the hot pursuit to smoulder
As the blacksmith’s anvil came down
To forge a union of handfasting ardour.
This was cupid’s green where Hymen
Hovered over year-
Today when we drive back from English vales
The smithy’s shop beckons with a dram
To celebrate the freedom to love and live
That trickles through the sluice gates of social dams.
This is my signal of homecoming, across an invisible border
Which I would never like to see barricaded by an order.
I started writing when I was seven, when the music of poetry captivated me. It has remained my first love -
Bashabi Fraser receiving her Word Masala Award from Chris McCabe, librarian, and Dr Vijay Anand, editor of Confluence
Bashabi Fraser was born in India and is currently Professor of English and Creative Writing and co-
When she first came to Scotland in 1985, she came across several people who cornered her at dinners and receptions or hailed her on the street to ask her, ‘where are you from?’ Her answer, ‘from India’ was the anticipated one, which brought on nostalgic memories of time spent in India, of a father who had served in the Indian army, a mother who was married in Calcutta, a cousin who went to school in Uti, an uncle who traded in Karachi or a grandfather who was born in Assam. Bashabi then went on to do several oral history sessions with Scots who had worked and lived in India and discovered that there was a fragment of India in every Scot, through friends, family members or ancestors who had some link with India preserved in personal journals, photographs, family film footage and artefacts brought back from India.
Bashabi Fraser is one of those people without whom Scotland would be a poorer, colder place, less nourishing of the vitalising sense of difference and diversity from which life arises. Her poetry is populated by individuals, relations, mothers and fathers and ancestors and children, people of all kinds from different parts of the world. And it’s filled with geographical reference, most emphatically to Scotland and India, both as nations – with both the strengths and liabilities that word carries – and to locations within those nations, to which people are connected in vital and vitalising ways. Her poems breathe good sense and good humour, a sympathetic spirit, the intrinsic optimism of curiosity and the inherent and integral authority of sensitivity. They do not overrule the reader as some poems try to do; nor do they insinuate duplicitously, as others sometimes do; rather, they lay out there propositions and ideals, yearnings and needs, their senses of what is humanly gainful and what is to be rejected for the sake of our own humanity. Like their author, they are indefatigable and persistent, but always to be welcomed. And you learn from them, return to them, take pleasure in them, thankfully.
An Extraordinary Achievement of Excellence as a Poet
Bashabi Fraser is a poet and children’s writer. She has several publications and has been widely anthologised.
Her recent publications include Thali Katori: An Anthology of Scottish & South Asian Poetry, Co-
Her awards include Outstanding Woman of Scotland 2015, Saltire Society. Bashabi is Professor of English and Creative Writing and Director of the Scottish Centre of Tagore Studies (ScoTs) at Edinburgh Napier University. She lives and writes in Edinburgh.
Patrons: Lord Parekh & Lord Dholakia
Word Masala Award
The Homing Bird
Bashabi Fraser poignantly conjures up haunting poetical narrative stemming from the quandary of living in dual cultures concurrently -
– Yogesh Patel
‘Bashabi Fraser Poetry by Malalshri Lal go to link:-
For Alasdair Mobbatt's Review of Letters to My Mother and Other Mothers see
For Anjana Basu's Review of From the Ganga to the Tay in The Statesman see
Two Rivers: A Shared Heritage: http://tinyurl.com/yb6dynxp
The Homing Bird, Indigo Dreams, ISBN 978-
ALAN RIACH is the Professor of Scottish Literature at Glasgow University, Convener of the Saltire Society and past-