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Posts Tagged ‘Hira Bansode’

O Great Man (mahapurusa)

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

O Great Man

Those who strewed thorns in your path

today offer you flowers

and sing your praises

— now this is really too much —


During the dark procession of time

you lit the flowers of light

but these imposters, these villians

crushed, extinguished those flowers.

Today those flowers have turned into a wildfire

and those villains are fanning that wildfire

— oh now this is too much–


Like an elephant ramming a gate

you pounded on the temple door

the stones of the temple shook.

Under the holy name of religion

they long ago enslaved the gods

Your honest painful claim

of the right to see the gods

was crushed, thrown out of the village.

Now they decorate the great tree

that sprouted on that spot

–now this is really too much–


It is clear that nature belongs to all

but these people bought that too.

Every drop of water in Chawdar Tank

was stamped with their name,

the alert watchman of this culture

guarded the imprisoned water.

They feared that your touch

would poison the water and

they anointed you with your blood

when you were dying of thirst.

And now they pour water

into the mouth of your stone effigy

–oh now this is really too much–


Hira Bansode's Marathi poem Mahapurusa was first published in Sakal in 1980. Source: Images of Maharastrian women in literature and religion. Edited by Anne Feldhaus.

Slave (‘ghulam’)

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Where the doors are decorated with mango leaves

Where the houses are ornamented with little flaming oil lamps

In that country a woman is still a slave


Where Sita entered the fire to prove her fidelity

Where Ahilya was turned to stone for Indra's lust

Where Draupadi was fractured to serve five husbands

In that country a woman is still a slave


Where a woman's identity fades like nature's blossoms

Where delicate jewels of emotion are trampled under a heel

Where free birds of dreams are scorned

In that country a woman is still a slave


Where the sky-flowers of desire must be left to float down the river

Where the threatening force of a woman's mind must be buried in the earth

Where the silvery moonlight of happiness must be poured into a jar of darkness

In that country a woman is still a slave


Where a woman in her youth is dried up by tradition

     she is confined all her life like a stunted tree

     she remains in the shadow of someone else's light

In that country a woman is still a slave


In that country where women are still slaves

The conflagration starts in the house of flowers

The festival of lordship is celebrated with joy but 

The stories of all that are recited with pain


To be a born a woman is unjust

To be a born a woman is unjust. 


Hira Bansode is a major dalit poet whose famous poems include "Yashodhara". The above poem was translated by S.K. Thorat and Eleanor Zelliot. Source: Images of women in Maharastrian Literature and Religion.


Saturday, April 10th, 2010

O Yashodhara!

You are like a dream of sharp pain,
life-long sorrow.
I don’t have the audacity to look at you.
we were brightened by Buddha’s light,
but you absorbed the dark
until your life was mottled blue and dark,
a fragmented life, burned out,

O Yashodahara!
The tender sky comes to you for refuge
seeing your shining but fruitless life
and the pained stars shed tears
My heart breaks,
seeing your matchless beauty,
separated from your love,
dimming like twilight.
Listening to your silent sighs,
I feel the promise of heavenly happiness is hollow. (more…)

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