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Archive for September, 2013

Two poems by Chandramohan S

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

The rape and murder of a tribal girl

Chandramohan S

No newspaper carried a headline or a photo feature,
No youth were roused to protests,
No city's life came to a standstill,
No furor in the parliament,
No nation's conscience was haunted,
No Prime minister addressed the nation,
No TV channel discussions,
No police officials were transferred or suspended,
No candle light marches,
No billion women rising,
a tribal girl was raped and murdered!

Casteless society and Secular state

Do talk about haves and have nots

Do not talk about caste!

Do talk about workers and owners

Do not talk about caste!

Do talk about “proletariat” and “bourgeoisie”

Do not talk about caste!

Religious conversions of Christianity,

Ideological conversions to communism,

Theological conversions to atheism

Do not

Scrub off the stain of casteism

Do not

Deodorize the stench of untouchability

Do not

Obliterate caste!

There are no emancipatory ladders


Descend the ascending scales of reverence


Ascend the descending scales of contempt.

Chandramohan S is a poet and activist based in Ernakulam, Kerala.



Friday, September 6th, 2013

Shruti Tharayil


is what i am

“we were untouchables” my mother whispered

when i asked where my roots go



was what i was born as

“you should not claim reservations

use your merits, as you have the privilege”

my father often opined



an identity erased by history

“…but you don't look like one of us,”

what do you mean?

“you don' look like a dalit

your colour is not dalit!

your clothes are not dalit !

and of course your class is not dalit!”



so how does one become a dalit?

even if my lived reality sometimes spells out dalit

when you are not yet uppercaste

“we are nambiars!

we don't worship Narayana Guru”

once my friend told me with pride

“don't ever tell my parents that you eat beef

they won't let you in”

“your sister is one of us,

as she married a brahmin”

said another


And yet I can never be one of you!!

who legitimizes my existence?

does my colour and my class negate my caste?

the reality that i was born into?

does it debar me from speaking my dalit dialect

does it make me less of an ezhava?



an identity i cling on to

the only way to reclaim my past

narratives of resistance and rebellion

questioning my privileges

meandering through the untouched path

towards celebrating being

an ezhava



Ezhavas are ex-untouchables who are now categorized as OBCs; they are considered as the most dominant among the Avarnas (that is, the people outside the varna system).

Nambiars are a ritually higher shudra community on par with the Nairs.

 Narayana Guru was an anti-caste ezhava saint of the 19th century. He has been viewed both as a liberating and sanksritiing agent.

Shruti Tharayil works with a non-profit organization in Andhra Pradesh. She works closely with Adivasi, Dalit and pastoralist communities on Women, Violence and Livelihoods with the focus on Food Sovereignty. 


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