Jyoti Lanjewar, a rebel

 

Bhupali Kusum Vitthal
 

Caves*

Their inhuman atrocities have carved caves
in the rock of my heart
I must tread this forest with wary steps
Eyes fixed on the changing times
The tables have turned now
Protests spark
Now here
Now there.
I have been silent all these years
listening to the voice of right and wrong
But now I will fan the flames
of human rights
How did we ever reach to this place
this land which was never mother to us?
Which never gave us
even the life of cats and dogs?
I hold their unpardonable sins as witness
and turn, here and now.
a rebel.

~ Jyoti Lanjewar

~

 jyoti-la

I woke up this morning and saw this painful update:

'फुलेआंबेडकरीचळवळीतीलजेष्ठलेख़िक़ा, वक्ताडॉ.ज्योतीताईलांजेवारयांचेआजदुखदनिधनझाले.त्यांनाभावपूर्णआदरांजली.'

'The sad demise of Dr. Jyotitai Lanjewar, veteran writer and orator in the Phule-Ambedkarite tradition, occurred today (8th November, 2013). Our respectful homage.'

I just cannot stop my tears, no one can understand for whom and why I am crying. She represented a whole world to me. I did not know her personally, but was fortunate to attend an event where she was an invited speaker. She was such an inspiration. She will remain an inspiration through her words.

Here are a few of her translated poems on The Shared Mirror and Kritya.

Dr.Jyoti-Lanjewar

Dr. Jyoti Lanjewar being awarded Granth Lekhak Prakash Sanstha Puraskar

A brief bio-sketch, excerpted from Ambedkaree.com:

Born in Nagpur, Maharashtra, on 25th November 1950, she grew up in a family that had dedicated itself to social causes.

She was educated at Nagpur where she did her masters, M.Phil and PhD. She has accepted a permanent position as professor and head of Marathi at SB City College, Nagpur and is serving till date.

Dr Jyoti Lanjewar needs no introduction in Marathi literature. She is a noted writer, critic, poet, feminist scholar and social activist. She has authored more than 14 books out of which 4 are poetry collections, and are 7 books on criticism.

Her poems have been translated into almost all Indian languages and also foreign languages including Sinhalese, Russian, German, Swedish and English. Her poetic works are taught at several universities, both in India and abroad. Her poetry has been anthologized in several compilations and anthologies of modern Indian poetry.

A compilation of her poems, translated into English by Dr. Aparna Lanjewar Bose, has come out in the form of the book 'Red Slogans on the Green Grass', published by Scion, Pune.

red slogans on the green grass

In the book, she says:

"poetry is a trestle/ spanning the distance between/ what i feel/ and what i say" says the African American woman writer Nikki Giovanni.

Actually poetry is much more. It is simply the reason for its being. An words are but felt excuses that unload pressures of pain and sensations, by elegantly transmuting life into poetry and then leaving her alone to grow the way she wants to and to become what she attempts to be.

This is how she described her work:

"My poetry is about humanity and its seemingly endless struggles for survival, for change, for justice and sometimes humanity happens to be the oppressed marginalized... it's a wonderful process of all these voices coming out of me."

Read more about her writer's profile here:

"She has authored more than 15 books and remains one of the leading voices in modern Indian poetry today.

Her poetry speaks on diverse themes as womanhood, motherhood, friendship, honest commitment, human values and love. Her poetry punctures the status quoist forces and entails dauntless passion, wisdom, and rare intensity that dismantle stereotypes to render candidly the lived and shared women experiences, intersecting gender, class, caste and caste within"

This excerpt from one of her own poems ('Life Long Kinship'), translated by her daughter Dr. Aparna Lanjewar Bose, seems to capture the essence of her spirit:

Those that have drunk

To the darkness of orthodoxy

Those that invoke religions for self

For all such heads and pundits

I will dig mines, lay trenches

And fill gunpowder

To balk them all

 

Now none of these hilly terrains

Can scare me again

As I have a lifelong kinship

With the tempestuous windstorm.

~

*Source: Poisoned Bread: Translations From Modern Marathi Dalit Literature.

~~~

 

Bhupali Kusum Vitthal studied M.A. in Social Entrepreneurship at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences and is training, learning and accountability officer at CEC.

[Images courtesy: the Internet]

Other Related Articles

Mahatma Phule's Thoughts on Caste-Patriarchy: A Critical Evaluation
Thursday, 16 November 2017
  Sachin Garud It is a well-known fact that at the time of India's national movement, there was another movement known as the movement of social engineering or social revolution, led by Mahatma... Read More...
Becoming Minority- An Unsettling Inquiry into a ‘Settled’ Concept
Wednesday, 15 November 2017
  Bhakti Deodhar (Book review of Becoming minority: How Discourses and Policies Produce minorities in Europe and India, edited by Jyotirmay Tripathi and Sudarshan Padmanabhan, New Delhi, Sage... Read More...
Speech and the Speaker's Identity
Monday, 13 November 2017
  Tejas Harad In 2016, famous Indian author Chetan Bhagat published a novel called One Indian Girl. This book was criticised by some women because the book's narrator, who is also its... Read More...
Celebrating 7th November as Students' Day
Friday, 10 November 2017
  Rahul Pagare The government of Maharashtra declared 7th of November to be celebrated as Students' Day on the occasion of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar's first day of school entry, back in 1900 AD.... Read More...
Surveillance and Punishment in the Village: Reflections on Imayam’s Pethavan
Thursday, 09 November 2017
  Karthick RM "Hence the major effect of the Panopticon: to induce in the inmate a state of conscious and permanent visibility that assures the automatic functioning of power."-Michel Foucault... Read More...

Recent Popular Articles

No Mr. Tharoor, I Don’t Want to Enter Your Kitchen
Saturday, 16 September 2017
Tejaswini Tabhane Shashi Tharoor is an author, politician and former international civil servant who is also a Member of Parliament representing the constituency of Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. This... Read More...
Gandhi's Caste and Guha's Upper Caste Identity Politics
Tuesday, 13 June 2017
  Nidhin Shobhana In today's editorial page of Indian Express, Ramachandra Guha has written an essay by the title 'Does Gandhi have a Caste?'[1] In the essay, Guha tries really hard to establish... Read More...
A Peep into the Soft Porn Film Industry of Keralam
Friday, 30 June 2017
  Anilkumar PV The setting of the last millennium saw the rise of a new star in the horizon of Malayalam film industry: Shakeela. It was in the year 2000 that her first Malayalam movie Kinnara... Read More...
Archiving the Complex Genealogies of Caste and Sexuality: An Interview with Dr. Anjali Arondekar
Saturday, 10 June 2017
  Anjali Arondekar This interview emerged as a series of email exchanges between Rohan Arthur and Dr. Anjali Arondekar who works on the Gomantak Maratha Samaj archives, following Rohan's... Read More...
Some of us will have to fight all our lives: Anoop Kumar
Thursday, 20 July 2017
  Anoop Kumar (This is the transcipt of his speech at the celebrations of the 126th Birth Anniversary of Dr. Babasaheb Amebdkar in Ras Al Khaimah organised by Ambedkar International... Read More...