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Posts Tagged ‘Namdeo Dhasal’

Ode to Dr. Ambedkar

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

My ropes are pulled towards you, you who conceived of giving a burial
To the cages of religion, caste, gender, and race preserved under armed protection;
My ropes are pulled towards your achievement
Through a low-toned falling rain’s softly played flute
Tunnelling out of my soul, surrounding electric trees
Kicking that ancient woman hard and deep in the butt.
Mirrors are losing their reflective polish;
The sea of hell is being parted;
The powdered bones of those afflicted with sin are being scattered from high above in the sky
And they vanish; the sun is setting over the lands ruled by demons—
The devils who plucked the leaves of mythology from a blossoming spring;
The devils who made my throat sing songs that condemned all regions of evil.

The skin of the untouchable parched by cycles of untouched life is moistened by your Heavenly stream;
You’ve smashed the head of the god-given wind
That created room for a wobbly nation and its restless people;
You’ve pierced through the voluptuous thighs of those ghostly nymphs that cast
Their spell upon us. My history starts from you, the age of everyman you launched.
Let those who want to have the history of man bundled and sacked in abstract and concrete
Stigmata the blind masses wear on their forehead; the caste-mark of false history.
People are tempted to dynamite themselves to blow up their latent greatness.
I won’t look for you among the bulls and the bears of the market, or in the clock of the present Time.
I won’t seek you in the distance between the crow and the factory, the public urinal and the prison custody.
The shining liver of a seven-year-old gathers rust.
O teak tree shaking in all these circumstances,
I pursue the waves of change on the crest of my period;
I’m thinking of the wild birds and the city birds shitting on your bronze statue.
That’s no thought really; it’s only a parasite that’s growing
On a circumambulation of your statue,
That’s the origin of the individual, and a shortening of the long journey towards one’s identity
That contains neither a flame nor a knife,
That has the hardness of the back of a female crocodile and the insensitiveness
Of the skin of a rhino;
That contains only the burbling sound of the original spring of life and the tenacity of an iguana;
And bodies built like fortresses and bastions.
Thought and death are both deception;
Smoking a hashish pipe and getting laid are both deception—
As though a sheet bought from the goddess of rags can cover absolute nudity.
The parrot of existence perennially pecks at the unending agony of thought;
The parrot of existence perennially pecks at the permanent pain of death.
Death is that stone inscription of which the thinker is always afraid.
The hashish pipe:
Sexual intercourse:
It’s a sovereign precious stone that even time cannot cut with its teeth.
I can’t see my own face, you know;
It’s a nauseating face; and that I, with such a face, should be an animal wagging its tail
Following them; you’ve pushed me towards such a crucial doorstep.
An earthen owl of compassion and a black rose of blood grow out of my arse;
Their fermented foul breath commands me to vomit,
And makes me walk through a crowd;
And trees walk with me like humans;
And my hands compose books of the apocalypse;
The procession that covers me up has no root in death;
It’s a procession for which a fire-pit blazes in my mind
And white rabbits swing in the air;
It’s the formation of a single luminous clan that the seasons have planned;
That procession and I were never split apart.
Time does not categorise the same sex: for the eyes of time are never
As myopic as the vision of the censors;
If time were myopic, how would your face
At the bottom of this procession, and at the bottom of my being, be hurt
By those divine whales imagined differently in parliaments of the people?

As my head becomes visible, rising above hurts and tortures,
Shrieking military aircraft circle above me searching for their prey
And the design of a martial law regime starts erasing
Lines drawn on maps; and the whole web of lines;
And through this crisis, I am going on my tenacious journey
Like a would-be conqueror, driven by a desire shaped like the Ashwamedha charger;
In this pomegranate forest I am going through, my society is just a bystander; if I don’t uproot this society of mere onlookers,
A hard rock will separate you and me:  and I will not be able to see
Your radiant disc surrounded by lotuses growing among crystals, rejecting all material things,
And merged with myself, tasting wholesome and scrumptious like freshly baked millet bread;
A textile mill, a hut;
An asthmatic, a soldier;
One goes through the length of the settlement to the courtyard of childhood
To play with shaggy red-haired puppies,
And to inhale mango-blossoms that burst before raw mangoes appear on the tree;
And to catch and slay the frightening anti-shadows,
Their hordes prancing like deer, and shimmering like bony plates on the skin.
I am afraid I’ll go berserk,
Fifteen years after you were gone.
Death has just fed dust to one of your comrades,
And buried him in a grave measuring his seventy-one years;
And once again the same gloom has fallen that spread when you passed away;
Newspapers repeated the same headlines they had used for you:
Champion of the Dalits Gone
Creating a Void in the Dalit Community

Do leaders in a movement wear the same shirt?
And have the same ink and letters used about them, and their feet and their shoes?
They—who never make the error of going
One step forward or backward from the pioneer—
Don’t posses the fuel and the velocity with which are born
The ones who have the spunk to lift their foot as high as their leader did
Or to move it differently.
He who digs his own grave in the presence of his mentor,
And eagerly embraces decreed concessions,
And rides high horses for the sake of a chair that has no successor,
He who does not change the flavour of the day or the night,
Or the saliva on the tongue, or the water in the saliva;
He who loses touch with life in the soil, and creates the black and white
Monsters of factionalism,
For such a one I cannot shed one heart-felt tear.
I don’t squeeze for him the oil in my body, nor light candles for him;
And I don’t wear my best mourning black to attend an obituary meeting.
On the Throne that people gave you, since occupied by only grief and spontaneous lament,
I smell only your fragrance;
And the extinguished pupils of my eyes itch as the skin of cripples does.
I follow your teachings: struggle relentlessly, challenge the foundation of faith, of pledges;
And I carve myself up to the last particle of poverty and agony in me.
And I plunge a sharpened shovel into my own heart too;
And soak the pages of your life with warm blood;
And arouse the only honest thing in me;
And I move into the battle amidst gunfire and explosions and tanks;
And through lush green blades of wheat;
For, at the very point of the needle, one is introduced to love and to the green blade of wheat;
And with the robust surging energy of uncontrollable bulls,
The wife dreams the husband’s dreams, and the dreams of the wife are dreamt by the child;
And thus happiness forms its chain of life to forge a future.
Everyone is, as a matter of fact, as complete as the Sun
That protects and preserves all; including the cactus;
And uses the dew that forms on petals
To heal all pain;
That Sun recognises the difference between man and beast;
That Sun grows weary of the sameness of day and night;
That Sun crosses over all things;
That Sun finds the colour of life and death as useless as that of a sweet lime
Its beak turns into brass, and pecks at the diseased skin of age;
That Sun flows perennially through shouts of victory,
And is found moving in the smile of a flower.
It refuses to serve the village community, rejects the millet-bread offered as its mahar gatekeeper;
It cannot sprout in the muck of rum and coke;
It does not sit on doormats as untouchables do.
That Sun flies like the New Year’s butterfly and spreads light;
That Sun grows parallel to railway tracks;
That Sun loosens the stone walls of universities;
It moves only from one freedom to the next.
You are that Sun, our only charioteer,
Who descends into us from a vision of sovereign victory,
And accompanies us in fields, in crowds, in processions, and in struggles;
And saves us from being exploited.
You are that Sun
You are that one—who belongs to us.

From Namdeo Dhasal's Marathi Collection of poetry, Golpitha. Translated by Dilip Chitre for the book, 'Namdeo Dhasal, Poet of the Underworld: Poems 1972-2006'.

Man, You Should Explode

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Man, you should explode
Yourself to bits to start with
Jive to a savage drum beat
Smoke hash, smoke ganja
Chew opium, bite lalpari
Guzzle country booze—if too broke,
Down a pint of the cheapest dalda
Stay tipsy day and night, stay tight round the clock
Cuss at one and all; swear by his mom’s twat, his sister’s cunt
Abuse him, slap him in the cheek, and pummel him…
Man, you should keep handy a Rampuri knife
A dagger, an axe, a sword, an iron rod, a hockey stick, a bamboo
You should carry acid bulbs and such things on you
You should be ready to carve out anybody’s innards without batting an eyelid
Commit murders and kill the sleeping ones
Turn humans into slaves; whip their arses with a lash
Cook your beans on their bleeding backsides
Rob your next-door neighbours, bust banks
Fuck the mothers of moneylenders and the stinking rich
Cut the throat of your own kith and kin by conning them; poison them, jinx them
You should hump anyone’s mother or sister anywhere you can
Engage your dick with every missy you can find, call nobody too old to be screwed
Call nobody too young, nobody too green to shag, lay them one and all
Perform gang rapes on stage in the public
Make whorehouses grow: live on a pimp’s cut: cut the women’s noses, tits
Make them ride naked on a donkey through the streets to shame them
Man, one should dig up roads, yank off bridges
One should topple down streetlights
Smash up police stations and railway stations
One should hurl grenades; one should drop hydrogen bombs to raze
Literary societies, schools, colleges, hospitals, airports
One should open the manholes of sewers and throw into them
Plato, Einstein, Archimedes, Socrates,
Marx, Ashoka, Hitler, Camus, Sartre, Kafka,
Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Ezra Pound, Hopkins, Goethe,
Dostoevsky, Mayakovsky, Maxim Gorky,
Edison, Madison, Kalidasa, Tukaram, Vyasa, Shakespeare, Jnaneshvar,
And keep them rotting there with all their words
One should hang to death the descendents of Jesus, the Paighamber, the Buddha, and Vishnu
One should crumble up temples, churches, mosques, sculptures, museums
One should blow with cannonballs all priests
And inscribe epigraphs with cloth soaked in their blood
Man, one should tear off all the pages of all the sacred books in the world
And give them to people for wiping shit off their arses when done
Remove sticks from anybody’s fence and go in there to shit and piss, and muck it up
Menstruate there, cough out phlegm, sneeze out goo
Choose what offends one’s sense of odour to wind up the show
Raise hell all over the place from up to down and in between
Man, you should drink human blood, eat spit roast human flesh, melt human fat and drink it
Smash the bones of your critics’ shanks on hard stone blocks to get their marrow
Wage class wars, caste wars, communal wars, party wars, crusades, world wars
One should become totally savage, ferocious, and primitive
One should become devil-may-care and create anarchy
Launch a campaign for not growing food, kill people all and sundry by starving them to death
Kill oneself too, let disease thrive, make all trees leafless
Take care that no bird ever sings, man, one should plan to die groaning and screaming in pain
Let all this grow into a tumour to fill the universe, balloon up
And burst at a nameless time to shrink
After this all those who survive should stop robbing anyone or making others their slaves
After this they should stop calling one another names white or black, Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, or Shudra;
Stop creating political parties, stop building property, stop committing
The crime of not recognising one’s kin, not recognising one’s mother or sister
One should regard the sky as one’s grandpa, the earth as one’s grandma
And coddled by them everybody should bask in mutual love
Man, one should act so bright as to make the Sun and the Moon seem pale
One should share each morsel of food with everyone else, one should compose a hymn
To humanity itself, man, man should sing only the song of man.

Found that Marathi poem by Namdeo Dhasal (from Golpitha, 1972), translated by Dilip Chitre, at the Almost Island site.

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