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Posts Tagged ‘N. D. Rajkumar’

Goddess of Kollangottu

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

For the family
to gain religious merit
in the next life,
they fed the poor full of rice.
Then, when the girl from Kollathi
began to wash the dishes
in the back lot,
she was forced into intercourse.
After feeding on her
the Brahmin promised to come
in his next life, too.
She killed herself and
now comes
as the goddess of Kollangottu,
screaming for human sacrifice.
Lusting after women and gold,
he married the dancer with lies of love
then stoned her to death
amid the thorns
of the cactus fields.
You are my witnesses, she cried
to the cacti as she died.
The dark-blue goddess of the cactus fields
demands blood-filled rice,
transmogrifies into the midnight
goddess Isaki. 


Anushiya Sivanarayanan's translation of the poem by the Tamil Dalit poet N. D. Rajkumar (the poem does not carry a title in her essay: Translating Tamil Dalit Poetry). 

She writes of her interview with the poet:


Dalit women, who have all died violently, have been made into deities. "Our gods are jungle gods," Rajkumar argues.

   Their stories and even their statues are now being tamed to
   make them fit mainstream Hinduism, especially now, with
   the Hindutva movement aggressively taking over our local
   temples. These men find the statues of our gods too wild, in
   some elemental fashion, as if their very mode of address
   goes against the patriarchal bent of the Hindu scriptures. So
   our goddess statues, with their Kali-like, dark-stone images
   have been covered in sandalwood paste--as if by turning
   the black stone into yellow, the narratives could also be
   changed. The Hindu fundamentalists went so far as to even
   break off the tusklike teeth of one of the mother goddesses.
   There is nothing gentle or passive about our gods. Make no
   mistake, they are all ghosts.

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