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Archive for July, 2011

Coaching centre

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Oh learned men!

You surely know

that impurities of touch

completely dissolve

when a high caste man

takes a dip in water

and changes his clothes


But look at the untouchable hordes!

Howsoever much

they rub themselves

with soap and water

and splash and dip

and scrub and polish,

they cannot shake off ‘untouchability’,

which clings to their bodies.


That is how and why

they have remained untouchables

over the millennia.

No-one has been able to decide

if untouchability

is a colour or a touch,

a feeling or an ideal;

whether it resides

in the one who touches,

or the one who is touched.


A learned high caste man

could start a coaching center

and make good money

if he could simply teach untouchables

how to shake off untouchability

with a single dip in water

and a change of clothes.


Basudev Sunani is an Oriya poet; his poems have been translated by Rabindra K Swain and  J P Das. His poetry collections include Asprushya (Untouchable), Karadi Haata (Bamboo Shoots Market) and Chhi (Sneer), and several critical essays and short stories. He is a veterinarian by training, and blogs here.

Courtesy: The Poem Hunter

Fragrance of peace

Friday, July 15th, 2011

When life comes to its end
You, please transport
My lifeless body
Place it on the soil of Father Koubru

To reduce my dead body
To cinders amidst the flames
Chopping it with axe and spade
Fills my mind with revulsion

The outer cover is sure to dry out
Let it rot under the ground
Let it be of some use to future generations
Let it transform into ore in the mine

I'll spread the fragrance of peace
From Kanglei, my birthplace
In the ages to come
It will spread all over the world.

Irom Sharmila Chanu's Manipuri poem was contributed by Mayanglambam Merina Leimarenbi.
Irom Sharmila, Manipuri poet and War Resistor,  is in the 11th year of her fast protesting against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Manipur.
Sharmila began her protest after the Malom massacre where 10 civilians were gunned down by the Armed Forces on 2 November 2000. AFSPA provides special powers to arrest, detain and even kill civilians on suspicion. The power to search and destroy properties on mere suspicion is granted to the Armed Forces of the Union in the 'disturbed areas' of the North East (and subsequently in Kashmir). Where ever AFSPA is in operation, enforced 'disappearances', extra-judicial killings, torture, rape and arbitrary detention have been routinely reported. In 1958 when the Union Home Minster introduced the law in the Parliament, he assured that the Act will be in operation for only 6 months. But it has dragged on for more than 52 years now! Read More
Please visit Manipur Freedom for more information.

Consciousness of the age

Saturday, July 9th, 2011

My land's not mine, they said,

I became a revolutionary


My body's not mine, they said,

I became a feminist


My village is not mine, they said,

I became a Dalitist


My nation is not mine, they said,

I became a minorityist


My region is not mine, they said,

I became a separatist



I am not even human, they said,

Step away 

I've become a human bomb.


My attempt to translate Satish Chandar's Telugu poem 'yuga spruha' (''yuga spRha'). It can be found in his collection of poetry, 'aadiparvam', published in 2008. You can also read the original Telugu poem at Satish Chandar's blog here.  

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