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Posts Tagged ‘Yogesh Maitreya’

Legacy of Savitribai

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015


Yogesh Maitreya

If mother had heard about you,             savitribai_photo

she would have penned

about her life what she knew.

But since her life

was devoid of pen and paper,

she decided

to work, make bread and labour

so that I could hold

the pen and the paper

and write what has been erased.

My mother did the same for my sisters

and when I look at them now

it only makes me revisit you

and I think:

how a woman, my mother, never knowing your name

could bequeath Savitribai

to her daughters.


Yogesh Maitreya is a poet, writer and publisher.


Image courtesy: from the book A Forgotten Liberator: The Life and Struggle of Savitribai Phule

Remembering Panthers

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Yogesh Maitreya

We are the sunflowers, woven into a garland

With the distance of years

In which we transformed from untouchables to human.

Now you have departed,

I am still waiting to repay my debts

To our no-homeland.

I walk about your city, your dearest whore,

Whom you kissed with your passion

Like no one before.


The night finally seems to rest in the night.

The abandoned dark hole, the untouched life,

We, the broken ones, mocked them both,

With our loud howls.

Our howl now talks with the Sun,

Foreplays with the Moon.


Bombay, your dearest whore

Now changed to its nakedness, and,

Menstruating the orange blood,

She calls herself ‘Mumbai’ now.

But I prefer to call her as your dearest whore

As your children yet to be allowed a home

To keep their humanness in the bedrooms

To eat health in the kitchens,

I see them under the bridge of Chants of heaven,

Or political coalitions,

With bodies covered with half-nakedness,

With stomachs relished in sacred cocaine.

I don’t need to struggle to know

What does it mean to love or to be loved by this whore?


I close my eyes and think of your abode,

I close my eyes and remember your marches

To defend the dignity of the dead bodies of Kamathipura,

I close my eyes and do not want to open them again

Because I won’t bear your absence.


But I must wake up in this morning,

The mendicant is standing here with a sunflower

To enlighten us.

And I will sing the song you composed and set to tune,

To dance on the stage you made with the bricks of your bones

To pay a tribute to our ancestors’ history

That despite being cheated, and,

Erased from the pages of history,

Reminds us:

We are the people, broken ones

We are the people playing truth’s drum

We are the people drinking the ocean

We are the people rising above the Sun.


Yogesh Maitreya is from Nagpur and is doing his M.A in Criminology and Justice (2013-15) from TISS (Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai).

‘Storyteller gone’

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

(For my grandfather)

Yogesh Maitreya

Today, there is longing in my eyes

To play on your shoulder,

But your bones are liquidated

Into particles of scented soil.

Sorry for that.

I don’t mean to delay.

But I realise much later

In the university’s library

That you are the book of my history,

A storyteller of bloody tales,

Mirror of my old self,

Clue to my possible martyrdom or yours

To being an untouchable

Outside of the village,

Which I die to read again and again

In this age of identity crisis.

When I ask papa now, about

The name of your grandfather,

He finds no books

In which the story of his name

Was written.

Well, he doesn’t read books as well.

You both are silent now,

You, behind my eyes,

As binoculars through which

I can see the blur

Of our vanished stories.

And papa, before my eyes,

With handicapped words

Of alcoholic silence,

Of which I am the victim,

Deprived of stories

Of our old selves.


Yogesh Maitreya is from Nagpur and is doing his M.A in Criminology and Justice (2013-15) from TISS (Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai).

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