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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
Humans 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.