Dalit Poetry

Tr. Mukesh Manas

Kanwal Bharti

What would you say?
The moment you are born
Cursed you are with untouchability
Demerits begin
Slavery becomes destiny
And humiliation, life.
                           What would you say of that religion?
         Which supports the degradation of millions of people
Commands to slavery
Bans study and earning of money
Wearing  clean clothes
And  living as the civilised
                          What would you say of those religious books?
They are not born for the welfare of human beings
But to protect Cows and Brahmins
To divide humanity
And to confine justice
                               What would you say of those gods?

Om Prakash Valmiki

Cut forests
Burrowed mountains
Ploughed farms
Yet remained hungry

Made canals
Dug wells
Lay taps
Yet remained thirsty

Fought wars
Won land, fields
Changed kingdoms
Yet remained slaves

With infinite power in hand
Patience in heart
Trust in mind
Yet received scolding

Sowed not cockspur
Gave only
         love and love
Yet remained untouchable‘

Jai Prakash Kardam

Come not in my way
You will not be able to stop me
A river I am
I know how to make a way
Attempt to stop me
You will do as many
And I will attack you with more pressure
There I will march on
Crushing your chest

Mukesh Manas

Spartacus of new era
There happened a Manu
Who very thoughtfully
Made a cross
And put on it
A thought

Born from that thought
Uncountable Manus
And they made
Uncountable crosses
And kept on crucifying us on them

We are alive again
Now we are boundless
We are worldwide
Now we are
In the air and in fragrance
In the light and in water
In the books and in thoughts
In the flow of breath
In the story of struggle
Now we are in life

We are,
We are the Spartacus of the new era
Now how will you hang us
On any cross

Rajani Anuragi

You ride the wings of fancy
To create a poem
But the poem we conceive
Often burns while making chapattis on a stove
Drifts away with the soapy dirt from our washing
And sweeps out of the mind when we sweep
With our mopping it drains along
As we clean the cobwebs
It intertwines within
And spins another tangle of webs

It peels off like a dried paint while dusting the walls
And it hangs along with the towel on the peg
While threading the needle
It vanishes from our sight.
And perforates
While fixing a button on your shirt

It loses its voice in children’s shrieks
Soil with manure into the flowerpot
Overwhelmed by your vanity while we toil in and out
And escapes as a sigh as from
The chimneys comes out smoke

Read if you can
Read us
Like our poem
For out and out
We women too
Are a poem

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