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

When Inequality Blooms in the Woods
Saturday, 03 December 2016
  Mruduladevi Sasidharan It  received a stunning applause all along the corridors of Inox Screen II at the end of the second screening on 22nd November 2016 at IFFI 2016. 'Kaadu Pookkunna... Read More...
The Janeyu in My News Story
Thursday, 01 December 2016
  Rahi Gaikwad Years ago, while studying journalism, a remark made by a foreign national classmate during a class discussion on caste has stuck in my mind till date. From what I remember, she... Read More...
In the name of the Nation: Historicizing Caste in Indian Universities
Thursday, 01 December 2016
  Nidhin Shobhana In the name of the Nation: Historicizing Caste in Indian Universities (with special reference to Jawaharlal Nehru University) Setting up the Stage The 'idea' of a... Read More...
Poverty and Malnutrition in Odisha: Who is responsible?
Wednesday, 30 November 2016
  Bansidhar Deep Indira Gandhi used the "Garibi Hatao" rhetoric to defend her contempt for constitutional morality, while the present BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) government uses the rhetoric of... Read More...
Bhima’s force shall keep growing…!
Monday, 28 November 2016
  Essay Series on What Babasaheb Ambedkar Means to me Pradnya Jadhav Babasaheb's people have held him high in their hearts without waiting for him to die and appear in any textbooks. The supreme... Read More...

Recent Popular Articles

Covering Dalit atrocities in a savarna newsroom
Wednesday, 10 August 2016
  Dhrubo Jyoti I work with a major mainstream media house in the national capital, one that has hundreds of employees but no diversity policy, that ensures almost all journalists are drawn from... Read More...
What’s in a Name? Buddhist, Mahar, or Dalit
Wednesday, 15 June 2016
  Emma Leiken An excerpt from "The New-Epoch Builders: Buddhist Identities and the Reclamation of Personhood in the Ambedkar Conversion Movement." Contextualizing article: I am submitting an... Read More...
Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan: The teacher who stole from his student's thesis
Monday, 05 September 2016
  The famous case of literary piracy (plagiarism) against Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan for stealing from a student's thesis Utpal Aich In January 1929, one Jadunath Sinha, then a little known... Read More...
The Earnestness of Kabali
Monday, 25 July 2016
  Rajesh Rajamani Kabali is a very good movie. (Warning: Spoilers ahead!) The movie effectively borrows several Rajinikant tropes and uses them meaningfully within the script. For example,... Read More...
Truth behind Armed forces' horrifying acts of rape & sexual violence in Kashmir
Saturday, 16 July 2016
  Harshal Kharat Round Table India strongly condemns the ongoing brutality on Kashmiris by Indian forces on civilians, that is particularly targetting young chldren, youth, women and the... Read More...

Recent Articles in Hindi

पेरियार से हम क्या सीखें?

पेरियार से हम क्या सीखें?

  संजय जोठे  इस देश में भेदभाव और शोषण से भरी परम्पराओं का विरोध करने वाले अनेक विचारक और क्रांतिकारी हुए हैं जिनके बारे में हमें बार-बार पढ़ना और समझना चाहिए. दुर्भाग्य से इस देश के शोषक वर्गों के षड्यंत्र के कारण इन क्रांतिकारियों का जीवन परिचय और समग्र कर्तृत्व छुपाकर रखा जाता है. हमारी अनेकों पीढियां इसी षड्यंत्र में जीती आयीं हैं. किसी देश के उद्भट विचारकों और क्रान्तिकारियों को इस...

Read more

कृष्ण : भारतीय मर्द का एक आम चेहरा...!

कृष्ण : भारतीय मर्द का एक आम चेहरा...!

(कृष्ण की लोक लुभावन छवि का पुनर्पाठ!)मानुषी आखिर ये मिथकीय कहानियां किस तरह की परवरिश और शिक्षा देती हैं, जहां पुरुषों को सारे अधिकार हैं, चाहे वह स्त्री को अपमानित करे या दंडित, उसे स्त्री पलट कर कुछ नहीं कहती। फिर आज हम रोना रोते हैं कि हमारे बच्चे इतने हिंसक और कुंठित क्यों हो रहे हैं। सारा दोष हम इंटरनेट और टेलीविजन को देकर मुक्त होना चाहते हैं। जबकि स्त्री...

Read more