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Sona: Mother of Ten

May 10th, 2015 by admin

Translated from Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu 


Ten children I bore

from this physical heap.

Then weak from that, aged,

I went to a nun.

She taught me the Dhamma:

aggregates, sense spheres, & elements.

Hearing her Dhamma,

I cut off my hair & ordained.

Having purified the divine eye

while still a probationer,

I know my previous lives,

where I lived in the past.

I develop the theme-less meditation,

well-focused oneness.

I gain the liberation of immediacy —

from lack of clinging, unbound.

The five aggregates, comprehended,

stand like a tree with its root cut through.

I spit on old age.

There is now no further becoming.


Sona: Mother of Ten (Thig 5.8), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhiku. Access to Insight (Legacy Edition), 30 November, 2013, 

Source: The Therigatha, Verses of the Elder Nuns. The Therigatha, the ninth book of the Khuddaka Nikaya, consists of 73 poems — 522 stanzas in all — in which the early nuns (bhikkunis) recount their struggles and accomplishments along the road to arahantship. Their stories are told with often heart-breaking honesty and beauty, revealing the deeply human side of these extraordinary women, and thus serve as inspiring reminders of our own potential to follow in their footsteps.


My Body Is The Temple

April 21st, 2015 by admin


Rich build temples for Shiva

What can I, a poor man, do?

My legs are pillars

My body is the temple

My head makes the golden cupola

Oh, Lord of kUDala sangama

The standing will perish

The moving will stay on.


The Shared Mirror remembers Basava!

*Kudalasangama deva: Lord of meeting rivers

Translation by Neelanjana


Legacy of Savitribai

January 20th, 2015 by admin


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


January 20th, 2015 by admin

Jyoti Lanjewar

Their inhuman atrocities have carved caves
In the rock of my heart
I must tread this forest with wary steps
Eyes fixed on the changing times
The tables have turned now
Protests spark
Now here
Now there.
I have been silent all these days
Listening to the voice of right and wrong
But now I will fan the flames
For human rights.
How did we ever get to this place
This land which was never mother to us?
Which never gave us even
The life of cats and dogs?
I hold their unpardonable sins as witness
And turn, here and now,
A rebel.


Translated from Marathi by Shanta Gokhale

In the orchard of graves

September 20th, 2014 by admin

Gurram Seetaramulu

gaza's child

The language of murder is the same everywhere

But we've to discover a new language to console you, child;

Bloodthirsty Uncle Sam

Has forcibly ended

Your parents' lives.

Now Gaza is bleeding

Your home has fallen;

Time is a butcher, child

Even the orchard of graves

Does not offer you a sapling.

The seed that was trampled

Under the march of the bunker busters

Promised you

A tree

Hope that grows

And offers you shade. 


My translation of Gurram Seetaramulu's untitled Telugu poem expressing solidarity with Palestinians.

Gurram Seetaramulu is a doctoral fellow at EFLU. 

Remembering Panthers

August 21st, 2014 by admin

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).


August 18th, 2014 by admin

(For my mother)

Daisy Katta

In your womb I shook,

I felt a thunder,

Like this abode of your body,

Was not safe anymore,

For me and you.

I must have heard a piercing scream,

And maybe you cried that night,

I do not recall,

But you stood calm,

Just to preserve me

But I know,

Someone kicked your belly,

Because you were not wanted,

And nor was I.

They wanted us dead,

Our sheer existence,

Your womb and your very being

Was shaken again and again,

How many times was your body bruised?

How many times was your soul erased?

Did you tell your mother then?

Of your agony and pain?

Perhaps not.

The shackles of four walls,

Must have maimed you then.

But I know what you did,

You treaded with your little feet,

Carrying pots of water,

On your aching body,

You washed the bucket of clothes,

And burned that little stove,

Which splintered sparks on your wounds,

Just to nourish me.

When I was born you said,

You said,

There was no pain,

You forehead was drenched with sweat but no agony,

You smiled at me with sheer pleasure,

Because it was your victory,

As well as mine.


Daisy Katta is a mass media graduate from Mumbai and currently works at Tata Institute of Social Sciences as Research Investigator. 

‘Storyteller gone’

April 29th, 2014 by admin

(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).

Easter Drum

April 17th, 2014 by admin

P. Dayanandan

glory lily

(Glory lily (Gloriosa superba) also known as the Flame Lily is the State flower of Tamil Nadu and National flower of Zimbabwe. It started blooming at our house in March 2014)


Earth trembles, sky thunders like the parai drum

Heavens open up, pouring un-polluting waters

Mingled with red earth, flowing like blood on the cross

Give me the chalice, Give me life!

It blooms as thunder lilies, Easter lilies, Valley lilies,

Flame lilies

See the glory in the lily?

True Life never dies!


Dr. P. Dayanandan retired as a professor and chairman of botany after teaching for 38 years in the US. His interests range from all aspects of botany to Pallava art history, Tamil literature, Dalit issues, education, space biology and spending time with young people to explore social consequences of oppression and empowering them to pursue studies in India and abroad. Ten years ago he helped organize a student and youth group called 'THUDI' involved in educating, agitating and organizing.

शुक्रिया बाबा साहेब

April 14th, 2014 by gurinder

Gurinder Azad

शुक्रिया बाबा साहेब !
आपके चलते
हमें किसी से कहना नहीं पड़ता
कि हम भी इंसान हैं !

उनके अहं को जो भी हो गवारा
लेकिन अब तस्दीक हो चुका है
कि बराबरी थाली में परोस कर नहीं मिलती
आबरू की धारा किसी वेद से नहीं निकलती
बड़ा बेतुका है
कल्पना करके सोना
सुबह अलग सा कोई नज़ारा होगा
या धीरे धीरे सब सही हो जायेगा
अपनेआप !

कुछ मुद्दों पर कोई बहस नहीं होती
जैसे रियायतों में ढला इन्साफ
वेदों धर्मों के मुंह से कंटी छँटी इंसानियत का जाप

कुछ चीज़ों से समझौते नहीं हो सकते
जैसे कि भगवी विचारधारा से

कुछ लड़ाईयां जड़ों की होती हैं
ज़मीन से जुडी होती हैं
वजूद में पिघली होती है
आज हम इन सबसे
खूब आशना हैं !

शुक्रिया बाबा साहेब कि आपके चलते
मैं ये सब लिख पा रहा हूँ
डंके की चोट पे!

~ गुरिंदर आज़ाद

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