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The nameless ones (anamikas)

March 17th, 2011 by anuradha

Begging won't get anything here

            not sympathy, not love

A suit in court wins injustice,

Tears are of no value,

Getting water is a struggle,

Wrapping yourself in smoke from a dead fire won't work

You have to plant the cinder of revolt in your own body.

At times there is a firefly of revolt flickering -maybe

    counterfeit –

But at those times give it outside air to see if it glows.

"The revolution will come through poetry"

Once I accepted that.

But poetry does not live by making revolution.

The same faithless faces of yesterday

        extend the hand of friendship

        while wounding with a sword…….. and

        in their struggle with the enemy were

       made impotent.

They burned houses down with words

But after the house burned, the words died.

For the sake of the poetry of humanity

      one must be so very human,

But they change with the wind…….

And these green parrots of the dry desert turn out to be 

       a mirage.

They turn their eyes where they wish, according to their 

      own convenience.

When there is no strength

      in their own wings

They find the convenient words

      to cut the wings of others.

They make palaces of words!

But I have seen them crumble.

"Kala Ram" and "Chawdar Tank" –

         the history of pain

         is carved on each of our hearts

But even if they could carve words on water

The Indrayani will not save them.


Eleanor Zelliot's translation of Jyoti Lanjewar's poem 'anamikas'.  Jyoti Lanjewar is a professor of Marathi in Nagpur university. "The nameless ones" is a criticism of those within the Ambedkar movement itself. Kala Ram and Chawdar Tank are places that witnessed Satyagraha between 1930-1935. The last line of the poem refers to the poet saint Tukaram who threw his poems into the Indrayani river at the behest of critical brahmins. 

Source: Images of women in Maharashtrian literature and religion



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