Posts Tagged ‘one world’

Article published in Dreisamtaeler and written by Giesela Heinzler-Ries

Dozent, Dichter und MGV-Sänger von Kappel

Green City Freiburg  Honours Satis Shroff

At an official ceremony in Freiburg’s Exhibition Hall Ulrich von Kirchbach, the mayor in charge of Culture and Integration honoured the life work of Satis Shroff. In his laudatio, von Kirchbach presented an Urkunde from the City of Freiburg as a special acknowledgement for Satis Shroff’s commitment and prolonged support and assistance to refugees and foreign students, and as a member of the managing committee of the Männergesangverein (men’s choir) ‘Liederkranz’ Freiburg-Kappel.

Satis Shroff was awarded the DAAD Prize in 1998.

Culture can give you insight into the living world of refugees, it can help remove boundaries and open new horizons, thereby enhancing the development of creativity in humans. Accordingly, Satis Shroff said in his thank-you-message: “I’d advise migrants to join a German association (verein), for that’s the place to meet the Germans and interact positively with them. I’m a member of the MGV Kappel, where we sing old and new German and English songs. After the singing we invariably go to one of the two taverns in Kappel to joke, laugh and talk about what moves us. There’s respect, tolerance, compassion among the singers and a good feeling of togetherness within the community. Whether it’s religious or seasonal events, funerals or initiation-rites, the men’s choir is always there, taking part in all walks of life. In this way, we get to know our strengths and weaknesses and help each other with sound advice and action. As we say in Germany: I really feel ‘Sauwohl in Kappel,’ which means I feel great. I can’t imagine a better integration in the German mainstream.”

In the past, and even now and then, Satis Shroff has cared for refugee children from Bosnia, Madedonia and Kosovo-Albania and did pedagogic work with them. Many children were able to make the necessary grades and others were sent to their home-countries as soon as the krieg ceased in their country of origin. He remembers cases of refugee-families who were woken up from their sleep in the wee hours of the morning by the police and whisked away to Frankfurt, put in a plane and escorted to their countries. This is the other side of the world-wide refugee problem.

“One day, a tall and burly, unshaven Albanian man came to the social office and took us as prisoners. He had a big plastic bag with a canister of petrol and a gun in his hand and said, “If you don’t do what I say I’ll blow you all up.” We were terrified. He was a father who’s daughter had been taken away by the social department because he’d been maltreating her. Whew! That was a traumatic experience. I thought my life was going to end there,” said Satis Shroff.

As a contact person and counsellor for the DAAD and the Alexander von Humboldt Stipendium he worked in cooperation with the Academic Foreign Office in Freiburg and cared for students and scientists from Nepal, India and the United Kingdom and he still maintains good contacts with these academicians.

Satis Shroff speaks English, German, Nepali, Hindi and Urdu and has also worked as a translator with the Amtsgericht on a honorary basis. He has assisted the migrants where he could and he says: “Migrants are helpless in a foreign country and there are cultural, social and language barriers. They a confronted with a strange administrative system and unusual laws and jurisprudence. All this makes the migrant raise his or her hands in despair.”

He was officially requested by the town of Ilmenau to translate Goethe’s famous poem: ‘Wandrers Nachtlied. He has also translated Nepali literature into Nepali. His German book of poems ‘Im Schatten des Himalaya’ has been printed by  www.lulu.com/satisle. He has also written two Nepali language books for German development workers of GTZ, Goethe Institute, DAAD and the members of the Carl Duisberg Society.

Before he came to Germany for further studies, he worked as a Features Editor with the Rising Nepal, where he wrote editorials and a science column, and commentaries for Radio Nepal on themes pertaining to the country’s development, wildlife and culture.

Satis Shroff is a lecturer, poet, journalist and a passionate singer. ‘I simply love singing Nepali, Hindi, English and German songs,’ he says. He’s a prolific writer and a contributing writer on www.americanchronicle.com/authors/view/1207

and on www.blogs.boloji.com/satisshroff and satisshroff.tigblogs.org to name a few.

He likes to describe himself a mediator between western and eastern cultures and sees his future in social engagements in the French sense of the word, and in writing and teaching medical subjects and English and German literature.

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Munjo Mumbai!

Bombay’s burning.

All Muslims are not terrorists,

Although some Muslims are.

Not all Hindus are honourable,

But many are.

Whether one is a terrorist,

Lies in the eyes of the observer.

Are the eyes

Those of Hindus or Muslims,

Jains or Sikhs,

Christians or Parsis,

Buddhists or Bahais,

Animists or atheists

Or the Dalits of the Hindu society?

Are the 130 million Muslims of India

To be judged by the Hindus,

Because Bombay’s Taj Mahal Hotel blew up

At the hands of the ‘Deccan Mujahidin?’

The ghost of Osama’s al-Qaida

Makes the rounds again.

India’s liberal, secular status

Is at stake,

When anti-Muslim resentiments

Are fired

By emotional Hindu nationalists.

Is it Hafiz Saeed versus Babu Bajrangi?

There’s more to it

Than meets the eye.

The USA can bomb

Al-Qaida and Taliban

Hideouts in Pakistan.

But India cannot follow suit.

The wounds in the consciousness

Of Indians and Pakistanis,

Caused by the division of the subcontinent

Haven’t healed yet.

The Babri mosque,

The slaughter of Muslims in Gujerat,

The war in Kashmir

Still linger in the memories

Of the Pakistanis.

An attack would only

Open old clots

And trigger a nuclear war.

Have not the Muslims

Of this subcontinent

Shown solidarity and loyalty

When China waged a Himalayan krieg,

When India freed the people of East Pakistan,

When India fought against the Nizam of Hyderabad?

Hindus and Muslims

Can be friends,

Just as Buddhists and Christians.

Let not communal strife

Pollute our minds.

Let us live

And let live.



Should be the cry of the day,

Not bloodshed and mayhem

In the name of Allah, Shiva or Christus.

It is humans,

Fanatical humans,

Who create crimes,

Injustice and folly

On human souls.

Gewalt breeds only Gewalt.

Hush, read the holy Koran,

Bible, Vedas and Upanishads

Between the lines,

And struggle for more words of love,

Understanding, tolerance, dignity

Of humans and animals

In this precious world.



  • * *

Cocktail Klatsch (Satis Shroff)

A cocktail party is an intermittent dance,

With champagne glass in the hand,

And a blonde’s waist in the other.

Dodging and negotiating

Between sips and slips,

Small talk.

With zeitgeist music,

As a psycho-barrier,

When confronted by

Ladies and gents,

You don’t prefer

To exchange niceties,

Personal secrets

Or somatic secretes


* * *

Dancing Eyes (Satis Shroff)

The dance floor,

A heaven to those

Who know how to dance:

The salsa, samba, tango,

The fox and the waltz.

How many shoe soles have I danced,

How may souls have I conquered?

Here I am,

Longing for a dance,

A paraplegic dancer.

I dance now

With my eyes,

Even when I seem

To gaze in the distance.

I hear wonderful melodies

From the Spring of my life.

I dance now

In my mind.

* * *

Isolation (Satis Shroff)

She had a small soul

And little education.

She gave,

But sought

Something else in return.

She loved her husband,

Pampered him in society,

For all to see.

Did she love him,

Or his wallet?

And things money can buy?

She shielded him from his friends,

With whom he’d fought

In the trenches of Stalingrad,

Cornered together like rats,

And prayed when Stalin’s Orgel

Screamed murderously over them.

He needed love and care

After the trauma of war.

Woke up in sleep

With nightmares of the krieg.

He gave up his camarades,

For a wife who said she loved him.

They had sauerkraut and spätzle,

Watched tennis and thrillers on TV,

And had no time for others.

Lonesome pensioners,

In self-inflicted isolation.

What came was depression

Sans eyes,

Sans friends.

Failing senses

Varicose veins,

Cerebral sclerosis,

Alzheimer and strokes.

The light went out.

Was someone out there?

* * *

The Feud (Satis Shroff)

The feud I fought

Was not whole heartedly.

I handed it to a lawyer,

Who made a hash of it,

And a judge who was subjective.

I had to pay a heavy loss.

Would it have been better,

Had I put my heart

Into the feud?

Can I forget it,

But not forgive?

Can you forgive,

But not forget?

Questions that still

Torment my soul.

* * *

Surya at Benaras (Satis Shroff)

My eyes and mind were fading

Under the rays of the scorching sun.

I was at Benaras,

Standing in the polluted

But holy river.

Half naked,

With a sacred thread,

Greeting Surya,

The child of dawn,

The great source of light

And warmth:

The Sun.

You are the nourisher,

The brilliant light-maker,

The eye of the world,

The witness of men’s deeds.

Oh, you king of the constellations,


Who possesses a thousand rays.

I was mumbling a Sanskrit litany,

I’d learned from my dear Mom :

Hara, hara Gungay,

Saba paapa langay.

May all the sins of this world

Be washed away

By the Ganges.


Gungay: Holy Ganges of the Hindus

Saba: all

Paap: sin

Benaras: Old name for Varanasi

* * *

Wine (Satis Shroff)

He who drinks sings,

He who sinks drinks,

You say.

He who drinks

Drops and spills

His wine,

His self,

His Ich

His life.

And when it’s spilt,

Can you still drink?

Is it you

Or is it the wine

That spilt your life?

* * *


Ich: German word for Id (Freud), I, me

Seduction (Satis Shroff)

Why do you run after me?

You are seduced by my voice,

My style and verse.

Follow your heart,

Your own words.

Till then,

We go different ways.

We follow different paths,

Though we hear the same rhythm.

And in doing so,

We meet again.



* * *

The Whiteness in the Zone of Death (Satis Shroff)

The best view of the world

Is from the top of the highest mountain,

The Abode of the Gods.

‘The best way to climb a peak

Is not to give it

A single thought.

Think of a thousand other things,’

Said the climber from abroad,

To the sherpa.

Suddenly it became stormy,

The dreaded whiteout came

With howling, biting winds,

Tons of snow everywhere.

The sahib had only a single thought.

Hilf mir, O Gott!

And cried like a new born baby,

Scared of the wilderness,

Scared of the whiteness

That surrounded him.

He found the sherpa,

Who said:

‘ Here, where you stand,

Is almost the summit, Sir.

Welcome to the Abode of the Gods.’

‘The abode of what?’

‘The Gods,’ said the sherpa.

The climber turned around:

Whiteness in the death zone,

As far as he could imagine.

A step to the right,

A step behind,

And a blood-curdling scream.

Swallowed by a treacherous crevice.

The half-frozen sherpa mumbled,

Om mane peme hum,

Vajra guru

Peme siddhay hum!

Till sunrise.

He opened his eyes,

Thanked the Gods of the Himalayas

For saving his life,

Felt sorry for the sahib,

And descended

With a heavy heart.

* * *

Manjushri and the Heart of the World (Satis Shroff)

The green fields in the Vale of Catmandu

Shuddered as the heavens parted,

Revealing the secrets of the Himalayas.

Manjushri appeared with his mighty sword,

At this very place where you now stand,

For here was once a lake,

With turquoise waters.

The people hid behind their house-walls

And ornate windows.

They peered with awe

At what unfurled before them.

The Sanskrit and Nepalbhasa they spoke,

Left them wordless,

For Manjushri was there

To release their hearts,

To create a fertile land,

Below the barren hills.

The warrior from the East,

Raised his sword

And cut a gorge,

Where now the Chovar stands,

With its century old sediments.

Lo and behold!

The turquoise water became

A foamy, swirling, spiralling,

Circling mass with music

Rising to a crescendo.

It left Catmandu Valley

With incessant roars.

What remained was a fertile valley,

Rich in alluvium.

From the centre bloomed a lotus

And became

The heart of the world.

* * *

A White Page (Satis Shroff)

On a white page,

I’m searching for you.

I cannot bear to lose you.

Where have you been,

My lovely?

I remember the day

You entered my life.

Your soft gaze

With deep blue eyes.

We drank white wine at the bar,

Went home laughing,

Tipsy and joyful.

I thought it would last forever

And a day.

We were intoxicated

With love,

I thought.

Skins that sweat

And whispered

From the pores.

A never-ending longing

For you.

I heard the screeching of an owl,

Ach, where tenderness was uncovered,

When the clouds slithered past the moon.

I humoured you,

I reeled under the silence

Of the years.

There were distant cries,

But I heard only you.

I had to bear with you,

But you remained

A white page

In my life.


* * *

Souvenirs (Satis Shroff)

They come from lands afar

In search of impressions,

Kitsch or treasures,

For their designer cupboards,

Back home in western countries.

Busloads of them stream out,

Digital cameras, camcorders

Mobiles with cameras

And take shots of the village people,

Dilapidated huts,

Ornate windows, tattered clothes.

Guerrillas with guns,

Children with running noses,

For Mom is down in the vale,

Chopping wood for the hearth.

They click and store the temples,

Shrines, pagodas, palaces,

Gigabytes of global images

For family albums,

Power-point presentations.

Slide-shows for all and sundry,

The intimate images

Of a foreign country.

Will the tourists tell,

When they reveal

What they’ve stored,

Of how hard it is to survive,

In the foothills of the Himalayas?

Where the sun shines at day

And Himalayan winds and wolves

Howl at night.

Where the monsoon brings

Torrential rain and death

From June to September,

And where the earth is dry,

Barren in winter.

Where the waters of the lake Phewa

Mirror the snows of Annapurna

And the fish-tailed one,

Like in a pretty post-card.

* * *

The Music of the Breakers (Satis Shroff)

I remember the beautiful music

From the streets of Bombay,

Munjo Mumbai,

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.

‘The manner in which Satis Shroff writes takes the reader right along with him. Extremely vivid and just enough and the irony of the music. Beautiful prosaic thought and astounding writing.
‘Your muscles flex, the nerves flatter, the heart gallops,
As you feel how puny you are,
Among all those incessant and powerful waves.’

“Satis Shroff’s writing is refined – pure undistilled.”
(Susan Marie, www.Gather.com

Satis Shroff teaches Creative Writing at the University of Freiburg. He’s a lecturer, poet and writer and the published author of three books on www.Lulu.com: Im Schatten des Himalaya (book of poems in German), Through Nepalese Eyes (travelogue), Katmandu, Katmandu (poetry and prose anthology by Nepalese authors, edited by Satis Shroff).

His lyrical works have been published in literary poetry sites: Slow Trains, International Zeitschrift, World Poetry Society (WPS), New Writing North, Muses Review, The Megaphone, Pen Himalaya, Interpoetry. He is a member of “Writers of Peace,” poets, essayists, novelists (PEN), World Poetry Society (WPS) and The Asian Writer.

Satis Shroff is based in Freiburg (poems, fiction, non-fiction) and also writes on ecological, ethno-medical, culture-ethnological themes and lectures at the University of Freiburg. He 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 Akademie für medizinische Berufe (University Klinikum Freiburg) and the Zentrum für Schlüsselqualifikationen (University of Freiburg). Satis Shroff was awarded the German Academic Exchange Prize.

What others have said about the author:

„Die Schilderungen von Satis Shroff in ‘Through Nepalese Eyes’ sind faszinierend und geben uns die Möglichkeit, unsere Welt mit neuen Augen zu sehen.“ (Alice Grünfelder von Unionsverlag / Limmat Verlag, Zürich)

Satis Shroff writes with intelligence, wit and grace. (Bruce Dobler, Associate Professor in Creative Writing MFA, University of Iowa).

“I was extremely delighted with Satis Shroff’s work. Many people write poetry for years and never obtain the level of artistry that is present in his work. He is an elite poet with an undying passion for poetry.” Nigel Hillary, Publisher, Poetry Division – Noble House U.K.

Brilliant, I enjoyed your poems thoroughly. I can hear the underlying German and Nepali thoughts within your English language. The strictness of the German form mixed with the vividness of your Nepalese mother tongue. An interesting mix. Nepal is a jewel on the Earth’s surface, her majesty and charm should be protected, and yet exposed with dignity through words. You do your country justice and I find your bicultural understanding so unique and a marvel to read.’ Reviewed by Heide Poudel in WritersDen.com 6/4/2007.

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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.
(205 Seiten) Paperback:  €12.00 Download:  €6.25
It cries to be written because there are seldom books written by Nepalese writers about themselves. It’s always the casual foreign traveller, trekker or climber who writes about the people in the developing and least-developed countries of the so-called Third World.

The likely readers are the increasing male and female tourists, trekkers, climbers from the whole world who make their way to the Himalayas, each seeking something indefinable, perhaps peace, tranquillity, spiritual experience or a much-needed monologue with oneself in the heights of the Himalayas. The book is aimed at all Nepalophile and South Asian readers irrespective of their origin, and seeks to contribute towards understanding the Nepalese psyche, the world that the Nepalese live in, and the fact that it has to catch up with the rest of the world in terms of modernisation and innovations from the western world, amid the thoughts and beliefs, cultures and religions of the Himalayan world.

The book is divided according to the iterinary of the protagonist’s travels, her sojourn in Freiburg (Germany) and her excursions to Switzerland (Basle and Grindelwald) and France (Alsace and Paris-Versailles) and ends with the chapter ‘Return to the Himalayas’. It deals with the ‘Begegnungen’ or encounters with friendly Germans, the circle of her brother’s friends and the intercultural and inter-religious questions that she is confronted with during these conversations and the encouraging intercultural work being performed by Germans and foreigners specifically in Freiburg and Germany in general in creating a multicultural society, where a foreigner doesn’t have to fear deportation, persecution and xenophobia.

As my friend Satish Shroff requested me to write some introductory words to this book, I decided to start a very unusual way, by congratulating the author for the theme chosen: life, people, mentalities in East and West, with all inherent similarities (alas! few enough) and differences (quite a number). How right the late Rudyard Kipling was when expressing the essence of this subject: “East is East and West is West: Never the twins shall meet”! But by describing the two worlds as twins, he also hints at existing and possibly developing similarities.

Today’s world and way of life shortens the physical and mental distances, tending towards globalisation. Let us hope that one day, the only remaining differences will be of the geographic, artistic and cultural kind. Because there are elements which are common to both worlds and, therefore, they bring them together. Human nature, with all its emotions, love, sympathy, sorrow, hatred and a multitude of other feelings, is the same and the common element of both Eastern and Western people. The writer successfully brings out these points, clearly delineating each character.

This work is a window wherefrom one can peep to the East from the West  and vice-versa. One can make out the geographical distributions, the cultural distinctions and the historic development of East and West separately. But if someone ponders on it, he finds the same basic human sentiments and values that hold mankind together since times immemorial.

Personally, I think that this and other works of this kind will prove instrumental in creating a good understanding between the two worlds, by describing the respective natures, cultures, traditions, art, social life and thus contributing towards a better knowledge and appreciation of each other, which will hopefully result into creating a new, more human world for the whole mankind sharing the same earth and sky. This world should be like a great family, and we, its members, should be constantly striving for maintaining its unity.

So, my friend Satish, as you see, I consider you one of the architects of this new world, this ideal, this Shangri-La of the whole mankind. In spite of many private and global setbacks, I am sure we are approaching it, with little steps, it is true, but we are coming nearer with every smile, with each gesture of tolerance and understanding between the two still different worlds.

I congratulate you, my dear friend, on your efforts to close the gap. May everyone read your book with open eyes, mind and heart.
Bonn, the 26th of May 2007
(Dr. Novel K. Rai)
Former Nepalese Ambassador to Germany

What others have said about the author:
„Die Schilderungen von Satis Shroff in ‘Through Nepalese Eyes’ sind faszinierend und geben uns die Möglichkeit, unsere Welt mit neuen Augen zu sehen.“ (Alice Grünfelder von Unionsverlag / Limmat Verlag, Zürich).

Since 1974 I have been living on and off in Nepal, writing articles and publishing books about Nepal– this beautiful Himalayan country. Even before I knew Satis Shroff personally (later) I was deeply impressed by his articles, which helped me very much to deepen my knowledge about Nepal.Satis Shroff is one of the very few Nepalese writers being able to compare ecology, development and modernisation in the ‘Third’ and ‘First’ World. He is doing this with great enthusiasm, competence and intelligence, showing his great concern for the development of his own country.  (Ludmilla Tüting, journalist and publisher, Berlin).

Due to his very pleasant personality and in-depth experience in both South Asian, as well as Western workstyles and living, Satis Shroff brings with him a cultural sensitivity that is refined. His writings have always reflected the positive attributes of optimism, tolerance, and a need to explain and to describe without looking down on either his subject or his reader.  (Kanak Mani Dixit, Himal Southasia, Kathmandu)

Satis Shroff  writes with intelligence, wit and grace. (Bruce Dobler, Associate Professor in Creative Writing MFA, University of Iowa).       

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