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Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Stories of a Dalit Dom

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

Sumit Turuk 

A small effort to make a rap on the experiences of Dalit identity and importance of Ambedkarism. Apologies for the video quality and the speed of the rap. Hope you like the message. Thanks!!!

(Dedicated to all the fighting Dalit students)


The Passion of Kanchikacherla Kotesu

Friday, March 31st, 2017

Kalekuri Prasad

Even as the wounds festered syam_kanchikahcerla

Wasn’t it your footprints

That I bore on my heart

Even as death approached, didn’t I seek life with only you?

Beloved, with the rice mixed with curd

That you served me in the morning as my witness

Shall I tell you the cause of my death?

 ‘Beloved’! To call you that

How the language of our hearts’ blood struggled!

Even as our bodies enveloped each other

In the dark

I could only call you ‘Mistress’

My wish was never fulfilled until death

Even as your folks tied me to a tree

And beat me like I was a beast

I imagined I was a prince in a swashbuckler film

If someone had asked, what happened?

I wanted to say that I loved you

But the raccabanda* had charged me with being a thief

Weren’t you the witness!

I know how to burn dead bodies

But you burnt me alive

"Father, forgive them,

for they do not know what they are doing"

I remembered what the padre told me

About our lord’s plea.

In remembrance of the sleepless nights we had spent together

If even a single tear drop had glistened in your eyes

I would have forgiven you and your race

The furnace you had stoked in my heart

The flames from the kerosene your folks poured over me

If asked, which hurt more

I can’t say anything, love

As these flames engulf me

It feels like you’re embracing me. 


This untitled poem by Kalekuri Prasad was translated from Telugu by Naren Bedide. The lynching of Kanchikacherla Kotesu for his love of an upper caste woman is illustrated in a series of drawings by Syam Cartoonist. Please see his album titled The Untouchable Love .

The village bench, where the elders hold council.


I Have a Bulletproof Dream

Sunday, December 25th, 2016

Pabitra Bag

Let me tell you…                          pabitra

I have a bulletproof dream

Made of love, transparent and transcendental

Where at times you feel

 The dance of infinity and you became the one with everything

Where you feel neither disturbed by anyone

Nor have any altered state of consciousness

Respecting the social boundaries

of race, caste-class, gender, region, religion and stupidity

Let me tell you…

I have a bulletproof dream of DID syndrome

Where expectations is not troubling enough to be Desires

Where the expectations and desires have no Instability

Where desire is not a wild Dissatisfied and unstable bird

I have a bulletproof dream of honesty

Made of no hate, no pretension, no dependency and no lie

Where the language of love is a smile of no attachments

Such is the bulletproof dream with the dance of infinity

Let me tell you…

I have a bulletproof dream of colours

A dream of rainbow colours but with happiness as colours

With smiles as its figure and gladness as its gender

Where respect is the language and equality is feelings

Where freedom is the absolute state of inner and transcendental being

Where, in law, constitutionalism is the religion and justice is the highest form of love


Pabitra Bag is a Ph.D student at the Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, JNU


अभी तो बाकी है…

Friday, December 23rd, 2016


Renu Singh


आते हैं कुछ धुंधले नज़र, अपने पैरों के निशान,renu-singh
अभी तो बाकी है खुद से खुद के पहचान ।    

अभी तो मिली है परिंदों को परवाज़,
अभी तो छेड़ा है उम्मीदों ने साज़ ।

अभी तो शुरू हुआ है नव्ज़-ए-ज़ोर का तूफ़ान,
अभी तो मिली है मंज़र- ए- खाक़ को ज़ुबान ।

माना आज़ादी हक है तुम्हारा,
पर आज़ाद थे कब तुम?

था आबाद कहाँ आशियाँ तुम्हारा?
कहाँ सुना कभी तुमको किसीने?

जब सी दिया हलक तुम्हारा,
जब रोक दिए कदम तुम्हारे ।

चल चलकर तराश ले खुदको तू,
बुलंदियों का ये सफ़र नहीं आसाँ ।

तबियत से तलाश ले खुद की हुस्न- ए- पेशानी की बसर,
कि कोई रोक न पाए तेरी धड़कती रवानियों का सफ़र ।

समेट कर रख ले अपनी रूह में इस कदर,
की न सुन पाए तू, खुद से खुद की बेमानियों कि ख़बर ।

के, हर जद्द-ओ-जेहद हो मुकम्मल तेरी,
हर रज़ा खुद, तुझ-पर मेहेरबान ।

कर खुद को रिहा इन ज़माने के बेतुके, ग़ैर- मुतालिक़ फरमानों से,
है ललकारे तेरे होने पर, हाथ में लिए जो कमान ।

हर अक्स में झिलमिलाए बस बुलंदियों का चमकता शिखर,
कर खुद को बेख़ौफ़, ज़माने की इन जंजीरों से, बे- खबर ।

ठहर न जाये किसी की गुज़ारिश पर तू यूँही,
जायज़ है, तेरी नाकामियों की गुज़ारिश तो वो किया ही करते हैं ।

बिना किसी तक़ल्लुफ के,जिन्हें है तकलीफ़ तेरे होने से,
तेरी बेख़ौफ़ उड़ानों से, तेरी मोहारत के किस्से- कहानियों से ।

जो महरूम हैं तेरे हुनर की पहचान से,
या फिर तेरे गहरे पड़े क़दमों के निशाँ से ।

तू कर उन्हें आगाह,
तू कर उन्हें आगाह….

कर रुबरुह… तमाम गुलामी के खिदमतगारों को,
जो न जाने कबसे हैं बने फिरते, खालिक-ए-खाक़ तेरे ।

तो बनाये चल काफिले….
बढ़ाये चल काफिले…..
आबाद रहे ये काफिलें….
रौशन रहे ये काफिले…….

आते हैं कुछ धुंधले नज़र अपने पैरों के निशान,
अभी तो बाकी है खुद से खुद के पहचान ।

अभी तो मिली है परिंदे को परवाज़,
अभी तो छेड़ा है उम्मीदों ने साज़ ।


नव्ज़-ए-ज़ोर: sturggle, toil, मंज़र- ए- खाक़: sight of destruction, हुस्न-ए-पेशानी: beautiful-forehead,खालिक-ए-खाक़: creator of demise.


Renu Singh, hails from Lucknow, UP and is currently pursuing Ph.D at the Dept. of Political Science, Jamia Millia Islamia. Raised in an Ambedkarite family, she is well acquainted with the stories of Babasaheb and Gautam Buddha, the Dalit movement, BAMCEF and BSP, the atrocities against dalit community and takes keen interest in issues of social justice, dalit feminism and exclusion of marginalized communities


Who? Me? A Casteist?

Monday, September 26th, 2016

Vivek Singh

Who? Me? A casteist?                          vivek-singh1

Oh, you must be mistaken,         
Such illogical things have been shaken. 

These are things of past,
Generations ago, it is said,
Human dignity was torn and shred.

But not today, sir, no.
How could untouchability have survived rationality?
If you think I'm wrong, check the legality.

Untouchability: BANNED
Manual Scavenging: BANNED
Discrimination: BANNED

See, sir, it's all gone now,
BANNED, by law, by the government,
Who says now it exists? Now there’s development.

What? A study shows it exists?
Well, sir you know how it is,
Those foolish villagers do all sorts of rubbish.

What? In cities too?
Old habits die hard, you know,
Some people just don't grow.

Oh, but they are very few, sir.
Modernity has dawned, development is here.
Awareness has grown, now even the few will disappear.

What? Me? A casteist? Why, sir?
For opposing reservation in colleges and universities?
That is because I believe in quality and equality.

What? Then the maid should get the same food?
Oh she does- everything left is for her.
Same plate? Same table? On a chair?

With all due respect, are you a fool, sir?
Dare I break traditions, sir!
I'm virtuous and religious, no wrong ever.

So, no to inter-caste marriages too?
That bhangi-chamar my wife? How can I break traditions?
Why curse me with unequals for life, give me equals for celebration.

What about equality then?
What? Human Dignity?
What about 'it's gone now'?

Oh, dear sir, be patient.
Don't be such a hard-core idealist.
You know, some things always exist.


Vivek Singh is currently doing his MA (Political Science) from JNU


नया राष्ट्र गीत

Saturday, July 23rd, 2016

Vruttant Manwatkar

vrutant manwatkar

चमचा काल से
प्रबुद्ध युग तक,
धम्मचक्र को आगे बढ़ाएं.
हिन्दू राज पीड़ित भारत को
ऊँच-नींच से मुक्त कराए.

मानव-मानव समान सारे
सब ने मिलके पुकारा हैं.

सोच नयी, आचार नया
यह नव बुद्धि का नारा है.

प्रबुद्ध भारत
प्रबुद्ध भारत
नव जन राष्ट्र हमारा हैं.

सत्य खोजती तर्ककला का
नालंदा का, तक्षशिला का.
विश्वशांति परचम फहराए
चक्रवर्ती की सिंह सीला का.

बलिराजा की, शिवराजा की
सत्ता से राज सँवारा हैं.

इतिहास नया, विश्वास नया
यह नव स्वराज्य का नारा है.

प्रबुद्ध भारत
प्रबुद्ध भारत
नव जन राष्ट्र हमारा है.

क्रांतिसुर्य की नव ऊर्जा का
शेख फातिमा, सावित्री का.
अहंकारी वीरों से लड़ती
लगामधारी झलकारी का.

मर्यादा पुरुषोत्तोम का नहीं
मुक्ता ने यहललकारा है.

बोधनया, प्रतिरोध नया
यह नव समाज का नारा है.

प्रबुद्ध भारत
प्रबुद्ध भारत
नव जन राष्ट्र हमारा है.

उल्गुलानो उलगुलान!
स्वतंत्रता के युद्धनाद का.
पीड़ित जन को प्रेरित करते
बिरसा के मानवतावाद का.

बंधुता की किरणों से
जग में जगमगता तारा है.

तरंगें नयी, प्रकाश नया
यह नव प्रभात का नारा है.

प्रबुद्ध भारत
प्रबुद्ध भारत
नव जन राष्ट्र हमारा है।

नानक, गुणावली, ख्वाजा का
लालोन, तुका, खुसरो, कबीरा का.
मन मूल्यों की राह दिखाते
अभंग-दोहे कि सतवाणी का.

बेगुमपुरा का ध्येय लिए
मानव दर्शन का पिटारा है.

विमर्श नया, आदर्श नया
यह नव मुक्ति का नारा है.

प्रबुद्ध भारत
प्रबुद्ध भारत
नव जन राष्ट्र हमारा हैं.

शिक्षित बनो और संगठीत हो
संघर्षों से जग को जीत लो.
बोधिवृक्ष के ज्ञानमूल से
नव निर्माण की नीव को रख लो.

न्याय नीती से विधि शासन का
बाबासाहेब का इशारा है.

सम्मान नया, अधिकार नया
यह नव विधान का नारा है.

प्रबुद्ध भारत
प्रबुद्ध भारत
नव जन राष्ट्र हमारा है.


बहुजन हिताय
बहुजन सुखाय
बुद्ध धम्म सम्यक वाणी का.
स्वयं सदा सेवा में तत्पर
समताकारक मैत्रीभाव का.

अत्त दीप भव, ज्ञान तेज से
बहती मंगल धारा है.

मुट्ठी बाँधो, 'जय भीम' करो
यह नव क्रांती का नारा है.

प्रबुद्ध भारत
प्रबुद्ध भारत
बहुजन राष्ट्र हमारा है.
बहुजन राष्ट्र हमारा है.


Vruttant Manwatkar is from Nagpur, and is pursuing  PhD at the School of International Studies, JNU.

Ash only knows the heat of burning

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

Mudnakudu Chinnaswamy

A bonded labourer was my grandfather

Leaving the cattle at the tank bund

He gathered some water in cupped hands and drank

The news spread through the village

That the tank was defiled

Caste men threw him to the haystacks in flames

And burnt him alive


Unable to bear the burden of the burnt ashes

Mother earth sobbed in lightning and thunder

Then the Lord of the sky poured down as rain

And soothed her

Then was born my father

As cinder was covered in ashes


A bonded labourer was my father

Like his father, craving for a son like him

He prayed standing on his head and stretched his

Hands to the courtyard of the temple

The news spread through the village

That the God was defiled

Caste men lit fire to the hut

The skeleton of my sleeping father inside

Was burnt alive


Unable to bear the burden of the burnt ashes

Mother earth wept and cried, sobbing in earthquakes

The sea rushed in a deluge, soothing her and

Then was I born, a volcano


Now they can’t burn me,

They burn themselves trying to grab me

Because I have turned into

The letter that burns the ignorance,

A witness for the deathless truth


Translated from the Kannada original by the poet

Mook Nayak, our Mukiya Nayak

Friday, January 8th, 2016

Kadhiravan (Hari) 

Just like your god,

You morph into multiple avatars,

Just as you like,

A Hindu atheist, a Hindu communist,

A Hindu Left, and a Hindu Right,

Just like your god,

Formless, you take shape,

Caste-less and yet full of caste,

Benevolent, and yet full of hate,

Just as much mysticism, just as you like,

Just like your god,

With limitless power, to discipline us,

To make us your dumb worshippers,

But, not long shall we remain, dumbed down,

We have our Mook Nayak, our Mukiya Nayak,

Who teaches us to break idols!


But when I do pray at your temples,

When I tread with the weight of your flags,

Flags of all your colours, red, reddish and more,

When I learn to by-heart your theories,

Your lies on all our lives,

From where I consume your abuse,

And learn the art of self-abuse,

I remain a Pariah,

I remain a category among categories,

Of the many creations, you have created,

Not a Hindu, not a Marxist, not lettered, not a human,

I remain a Pariah, praying at your altars,

Waving your flags, reciting your rhymes,

Remaining what I am, so you would remain all the same,

But, not long shall we remain, dumbed down,

We have our Mook Nayak, our Mukiya Nayak,

Who teaches us to break idols!



महिषासुर मेरा कौन लागे है 

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015


Asha Singh

महिषासुर शहादत दिवस के अवसर पर 

महिषासुर मेरा कौन लागे है 


दुर्गा मेरी कुछ नहीं लगती

महिषासुर मेरा बहुत कुछ लगता है


महिषासुर मेरा बाप

मैं उसकी आज्ञाकारी बेटी


महिषासुर मेरा भाई

मैं उसकी सुशील बहन


महिषासुर मेरा पति

मैं उसकी सेविका पत्नी


महिषासुर शहादत दिवस मनाओ

मैं चलूंगी तुम्हारे पीछे-पीछे

सदैव तुम्हारी


बेटी, बहन, पत्नी, बस?


Asha Singh recently submitted her PhD thesis at TISS, Mumbai, on Bhojpuri Folk songs and Women. Before that she was a Hindi journalist in Bhopal. She belongs to Bhojpur district in Bihar. 

The Rebellious Fields

Thursday, October 8th, 2015


The paddy fields ask, 
Where’s the farmer who quenched our thirst?
The cotton fields ask,
Where’s the farmer who sprinkled blood to protect us?
They hug each other and weep–don’t understand why
They roll on the ground and weep–Don’t understand why
The basmati asks,
Where’s the sweat-scented farmer?
The masoors ask,
Where’s that large-hearted man? 
They thump their chests and wail–don’t understand why
They question the dawn–don’t understand why
The palak asks, 
Where’s the farmer so dear to us? 
The coriander asks,
Where’s the farmer so full of goodness? 

They sobbed and sobbed and withered up–don’t understand why
They waited and waited and shrivelled up–don’t understand why
Windless, the red gram and the horse gram fields
Nod listlessly
They look in all directions and ask,
Where’s the farmer so full of love? 
They sink into sorrow–don’t understand why
They’ve fallen senseless in grief–don’t understand why
The snake gourd and the bottle gourd
The ridge gourd and beans
The eggplant so tender
Blood red tomatoes
All ask–where’s the farmer
Who kissed us before we started rotting? 
They slap their heads and cry–don’t understand why
They wail loudly and cry–don’t understand why

The onion and garlic
Groundnuts and potatoes – 
All of which nestle in the earth mother’s womb
As they grow up, ask
Where’s our father who would show us the world? 
They wept uncontrollably–don’t understand why
They rot and die–don’t understand why

All the cotton fields together
Spread a new garment over him
The dried sticks assemble themselves
Into a cot
The paddy straw becomes a mattress
So that his ribs wouldn’t hurt
The betel leaf presses her mouth 
Over his and kisses him
They cook seven kinds of rice
In a new pot
The kumkum tree shines 
As the crescent moon on his forehead
They all say
We will leave with the farmer who gave us birth
They hug each other and weep–don’t understand why
They roll on the ground and weep–don’t understand why
They cry, our existence has lost meaning
They burn and burn on the pyre
And rise as an inferno
They burn to ashes
The villain who poisons the farmer
The sugarcane fields dive into the water
Release the drawing bucket and return
The green fields become red–don’t understand why
They took to the path of the angry rebels–don’t understand why

Translation of Gaddar's Telugu song 'vori sElu aDiginaayi'. Translator: Naren Bedide. 



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