jit-narain---surinamJit Narain (Jidt Narainsingh Baldewsingh), the grandson of Indian immigrants was born in Livorno , Surinam in 1948. In 1969 he went to the Netherlands to study medicine and became a doctor in The Hague . Since returning to Surinam in 1991 he has been the head of an outpatients clinic in Saramacca. A fervent defender of the emancipation of Sarnami, the Hindu-Surinam language, he received for his efforts the Rahman Khan prize. Nairan writes his poems in Sarnami and in Dutch and they both reveal different aspects of the same history, the buried histories and memories of the Hindustan immigrants in Surinam.

Of his work he says: ‘The snare of memories has pulled me up, while in the ash the words and feelings are waiting to be dug up.’ He made his debut in 1977 with the poetry collection in Sarnami,Dal Bhat Chatni (Rice, yellow split peas and chutney), - the first ever published literary product in this language. In 1982 he started, edited and published a magazine called Sarnámi, entirely written in and devoted to the promotion, use and development of the Sarnami language. In many of his poems agriculture plays an important role, relating to his ancestors who bettered themselves through agriculture. The poet’s concern with the stories of his immigrant-forebears finds its poetic expression in the themes of struggle and survival in their new land, of bitterness over lost dreams and conflicts among themselves and between them and the earlier settlers. Thus the poet goes on singing the sorrowful anthems of generations before.

Jit Narain 's participation is part of the Winternachten International Literature Festival (The Hague) poetry package, sponsored by theNetherlands Culture Fund, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry for Culture, Hivos Cultuurfonds, and the Foundation for the Production and Translation of Dutch Literature

 

Select Bibliography

Dál Bhát Catni (Yellow Split Peas, Rice and Chutney), 1977
Hinsá Prasád (Violence as Divine Grace), 1980
Baté Huwán Tu Kahán/Waar ben je daar?. (Where Are You), 1987
en Agni ke yád yád ke rákhi/Ter Herinnering aan Agni (In remembrance of Agni), 1999
Tussen De Woorden Is Het Stil ( It Is Still between The Words), 1999 Dosti ke cáh/Wat vriendschap verlangt (What friendship needs), 2004