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Friday, August 28, 2009

Poems by B.N.Vankar

Translated from Gujarati by Dr.G.K.Vankar


This cow

at our place

never walked

never mooed

neither it gave milk.

then what is the point

of debate and distress?

to cross the vaitarni,

don’t worry,

we will ,


an overbridge.

Vaitarani, A river one has to cross to reach heaven, a gift of cow to Brahmin ensures a cow while facing the river, clinging to the tail of the cow one can cross vaitarani.


There is no bread

But there is royal food

There is no loincloth

But there is pitambar

There is no home

But there is hermitage.

What a misfortune!

How miserable is man!

Pitambar :Yellow clothe, royal dress of Krishna

In a Chawl of closed mills

The area of the chawl.

screams for a grain.

The dim yellow light too

Is about to put out

In the rooms

And what happened to

the bodies like steel?

The limbs are paralyzed

The billows of lungs whistle

The circulation slows down.

In the volcano of unemployment

Burns the hunger

Burns with the roots lives.

On one side, silent screams

On the other side, silence everywhere.

That’s why

The sabarmati of civility and riches

Has dried out

And the Manchester

has turned into a mortuary.

Sabarmati river divides Ahmedabad, on the eastern side the slums of old city and on the west are posh areas. Ahmedabad was known as Manchester of India because of textile industries

Honour Be to You

If you close your finger into a fist

then honor be to you.

All the three

taking support of

the thumb,

how do they together eat butter and cream?

Mohan, why the small finger is left alone?

How the three formed a triangle

to avoid the little finger ?

the curd is spent, the pot overflows,

and yet here, O Mohan, the little finger touches it barely!

All five are threaded together in the wrist

To give test of strength of wrist.

The circles of the karma and dharma are such

That when you open the fist

All become ‘others’.

If you can close your fingers into a fist

Then honor be to you.!

We Refuse


We refuse

To cool the fire within us

In the sea of pain

And we grow

In our sad eyes

The raging volcanoes.


We refuse

To give palpitating embrace

To hateful inequality

And in the terrified palms

We draw lines of fate afresh.


We refuse

To preserve the worn out walls of

A narrow world

And beyond horizons

We soar

The new sky.

The Bat-house

I am the stone of foundation

Of the building that stands there.

I have toiled to create it.

To tell you the truth

I had wished for good of all.

But the bats of

Caste and class

Lived in it.

In the name of dharma,

In the name of artha,

In the name of kama,

In the name of moksha,

Gradually became owners

And devoured

My nose, ear, eye and thumb

Even my torso.

That’s why

Spitting at this

Foul-smelling ruin

Of the bat-house

I have moved away.

Search for the dawn

Be cursed this Midnight!

If you climb on the top of a hill

And call

The horizons would not open the doors.

Of the walls

Huge walls, planted

Since centuries

How many hands do support these walls?

Like a seawave

Sharks rejoice,

Let the fish die, trembling.

Craving for grass

Innocent deer get killed in jungle

And the stray beasts trample the lush green fields.

As if they have monopoly

Of skinning

Man alive

On the earth studded with thorns

The bleeding feet


A trail,

That too ,stings you?


is the wealth of the mind.

Though half a century

We wasted in wilderness

But the feet did not sprout wings

Let’s walk to the east, now

Let us find

The dawn.

Be cursed this Midnight!

Feet = shudras


They drowned us

midsea ,

feet chained and eyes blinded.

But we have preserved

The sky beyond horizons

In our eyes,

And the sunrise

In our fist.

That’s how

Turning into the surging waves

Through the fire burning in the sea,

We will swim to the shore


The Existence

You fix our feet

With iron chains

And ask:

‘Fly, fly

The whole sky is yours, isn’t it!’

But this unjust atrocity

Itself will light

The fire of revolt.

Taking together

Earth with our feet,

We will soar the high skies

Like a hawk

One day.

Our answer shall be

Nothing but

Our graceful existence,

Riches full of pride and

Unmatched ability.


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