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Posts Tagged ‘Madduri Nageshbabu’

A Rakshasa’s proclamation

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

'The poet should be a complete man'.


Feel angry


Feel impatient

Like pins are being stuck all over my body

Like I am being skinned and salt and pepper are being rubbed over my flesh

I feel stuffy, uncomfortable

Like being stranded in a tunnel

and struggling to find my way;


I am the carcass of the mosquito which died

stuck between palm leaf manuscripts,

I am the empty centuries bleeding

from the weight of the thorny crown of distorted oral literatures.


My mind

became fuel for some fictional fire accident

My imagination

is crouching in shame, fear and submissiveness

in some crevices of humiliations-filled latrines


I have no Jandhyam*, no Sandhya

You won't find a letter if you cut open my stomach,

I have no faith in prophets or reformers

and, especially, no loyalty either;


Feel hot

Feel a nausea stirring in my stomach

Feel like I am listening to Sanskrit Slokas


A desire resulting in action

A bird flapping its wings to fly

A man living as a man–

When all those remain mere illusions

When I always remain an unending debt

When un-men pass off as human and honourable–

how can I be a man?

How can I think with complete humanity?

I eat salt and pepper like everyone,

I am an ordinary living creature

composed of weaknesses, satiations and passions:

it might be possible for a Mahatma

to forgive and offer his tears

to someone who has raped his mother in front of his eyes,

stripped, paraded and banished her,

to wash his loins,

but not for me.


It might be possible for some good soul

even in the last days of this 20th century

to love Manu and his serpent offspring

and write worldly love letters, but

I can't do it

I was born to one father

I love my country and citizenship

From the age of the Vedas I've been dreaming with sweaty eyes

of realising here a heaven without caste and varna

I am not a complete man

You might not accept me as a poet

You might not have a seat for me in your literary sabhas

nor a page, a line

in your underhand literary history


it still doesn't matter

I still can't show my cheek again

I can't chop off and present my thumbs or heads

to prove my humility and loyalty


Feel foul

Feel very disgusted

Feel very Chunduru Chunduru

Feel very Karamchedu Karamchedu

I need a great bath now

I need a purification–

until then, the need to prove myself human

is a great historic un-necessity.


My translation of Madduri Nagesh Babu's Telugu poem 'oka raakshasuDi prakaTana' (from his collection of poetry 'velivaaDa').


*Jandhyam: janeu, the Brahmin's sacred thread.

Caste Certificate

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

He doesn't have a warrant,

nor is there any case filed against me


his eyes search intensely for me

while I cringe in fear and humiliation;


here, life is

a cops and robbers game.



When one gets a seat

the notice board

becomes an informer,

while fellow students become para-military squads,

until I finish my course

I am Christ carrying the cross.



After I get a job

my reservation becomes Judas

selling me off for my enemies' mockery,

like I have no merit

except that piece of paper;

when the Tumkur B.E.,*

smirks maliciously at me

I hang as a tear drop

from the thorn of many boycotts.



Now it has become my crown,

the sword hiding in my scabbard,

my caste certificate

shall become the foreword

of the new history I shall write.


My translation of Madduri Nageshbabu's Telugu poem 'Caste Certificate' (from his collection of poetry 'velivaaDa').

* Tumkur B.E: refers to someone who has an engineering degree obtained from a private college funded by capitation fees.

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