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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Poems by Pravin Gadhavi

Translated from the Gujarati by Dr.G.K.Vankar

Farewell to Arms

Let us put aside the arms and convene a round table conference.
We have no nation, no identity,
We have no land to till, no house to live in.
You did not leave even a blade of grass for us since times of Aryavart.
OK, we would forget that.
Are you ready to break the walls that you constructed in the village?
We are ready to dissolve like sugar in milk.
Will you tolerate if your Draupadi selects our son Galiya as her husband?
And will your Arjun accept our daughter Raili if she comes as new Chitrangada?
Let us pull the dead cattle turn by turn, do you agree?
We are ready to eat your leftover food,
Will you eat leftover food at our marriage ceremony?
Let us remove provisions for reservation from our constitution.
Our Magan and Chhagan will compete on open merit basis,
But will you give admission to them in you convent schools?
Let us put aside arms,
and till the fertile land of our country together.
But will you give us half the share of the harvest?

(From Bayonet)

My shadow

O, woodcutter cut my shadow.*
I may be a Hindu,
a Buddhist,
a Muslim,
I cannot cut my shadow.

Now there is no spitting goblet hanging round my neck,
no broom on my back,
And yet
I can not relinquish my shadow.

I may change
my name,
my work,
my place,
my surname,
This shadow does not leave me alone.

I may change
my language,
my dress,
my history,
This shadow does not disintegrate,

I may write smriti,
constitution, I may enact laws,
I may be in reserved category.
Whatever the circumstances,
I cannot erase this shadow.

O wood cutter,
Cut my shadow.

* Lorca

(From Padchhayo))


Give me some water from Ganges,
and add waters of seven sacred rivers.
I want to wash thoroughly the brain hanging from
the broken skull of this Chittapavan Brahmin.

Give me a Tata detergent cake
I want to wash each and every cell of his brain.
I want to scrub and scrub to remove the rust on his
thinking since centuries.

This is the Brahmin’s center of hearing,
Along with hymns of Vedas,
Anustupa Meter of Valmiki,
Verses of Upanishadas,
The stanzas of Manusmriti are also taped here.
O’ Brahmin, you are free to chant Upanishads on
the bank of the Ganges at dawn,
But there is no need of the venomous curses of Manusmriti.

This is the center of vision which has given me
black identity since centuries.
O’ Brahmin,
See the blue sky of winter, see the green of forests,.
see the seven colors of rainbow, too
But why do you see the black color of my skin?

This is the Brahmin’s center of smell.
It is stimulated by the stink of my perspiration,
my breath, my karma, my existence.
O Brahmin, there are flowers of jasmine on the earth to smell.
And if there is stink
It comes from corruption, hoarding and lies.
Why my odor is a stink to you?

This is the Brahmin’s center of touch.
This center turns green at the slightest touch of Mahasweta’s breath.
Even with touch of my shadow, it turns bright red hot.

O’ Brahmin, if we had fought together against intruders
We would have not become slaves in history.
In this cell, there is anger against reservation,
Here there is disgust, here hate, here rage of Durvasa,
This false sense of being superior.

Please bring one more detergent cake.
I want to wash each and every cell of your brain thoroughly.
O’ Brahmin, even curd is spoiled if it remains unattended for long.
Your brain is as it is since Vedic times.
See, how disordered, how rotten, how dirty has it become.
Please bring more water from the Ganges and waters from seven sacred rivers.

(From Bayonet)

The Poet
Pravin Gadhavi
Pravin Gadhavi, born 13 May 1951, is an IAS Officer in the Government of Gujarat. A prolific writer, his collections of poetry are Bayonet (1985), Padchhayo (1996) and Tunir (2002). His short story collections are Pratiksha (1995), Antarvyatha (1995) and Surajpankhi. The last publication was given Govt. of Gujarat Award.
His address: B/17, Someshwar-I, 132 Feet Ring Road, Ahmedabad 380015. Cell: 09427305236


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