they came like a mountain,
They arrived in hordes
Black faces bearded with silver
burning eyes red with rage
burst through the blankets of sleep
breaking the barriers of day
breaching the bounds of night.
Earth heaved in the mountains of my men
and quaked to their dance of rage
and those who crawled in lines of ants
rose in paws of jungle beasts
and those who crept like reptiles
rose in cobra hoods.
They rose, my men, in mountains
shouting the red song
Down, down inequality
Down Caste Hierarchy
Down the bug that fattens on money.
Ah, they flooded and flowed in rivers,
my people, yesterday!
The town and village they inundated
they plunged to depths of unknown roots
they floated to heights of unseen stars.
See how by the bushes and under the trees
in the streets and in the alleys
they gather in hordes,
flushing down the ranks of Headman’s power
and the files of Money-lenders away.
These shout a shriek of defiance
those are struck dumb,
these thunder from angry throats
those fall silent.
Ah, the winds of Revolution,
have seized the throats of those cut-throats.
See how in the whirlwind
twist the police batons
and knives of secret agents.
See how the twigs and dry leaves
spin the debris of Vedas,
of Puranas and Shastras.
See how the dirt of ammunition
and hardware of gunmen
whirl in the whirlwind
Ah, my people
how they flooded in thousands of rivers
to swell the Revolutionary Sea.
Siddalingaiah's Kannada poem translated by P Rama Murthy. Source: A string of pearls, Edited by H.S.Shivaprakash and K.S.Radhakrishna. Please read Siddalingaiah's interview here and a review of his book Ooru Kheri here.