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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Poems By Raju Solanki

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

To walk on the feet mattered most

You came, conquered and enslaved us.
Can history be so simple?
You might have come on horses and fought with iron
Was every epoch of progress full of pain?
Let us ask
Unknown, frightening past
Whose present is as frightening, too,
Was slavery of man by man predestined?
We too had danced with zest,
Worshipped, Shivalinga, mysterious and meaningful,
We too were afraid of the unknown land
Where questions begin and reason remains without any answers.
Perhaps your almighty could have showered compassion on us , too,
By giving us
A small boat to rescue ourselves from this manmade disaster.
But his doors remained shut, which was inevitable.
We continued to sweat among the pyramids
Got frightened by the moored ships on the seashores
We were separated from mother, wife and children, dearer than life,
Sold in foreign lands
Where incestuous relations became common,
Without meeting of minds.
The rainbows never peeped in our skies.
Seeing endless rows of clouds,
The strings of our hearts did not ring,
Speech pressed under the burden of pain
Was not blessed by the words of the poet.
The knot of life was tied
Not on the imagination of heavenly happiness,
But on the thread of longing for life.
Exploitation, injustice, oppression
Who knew head and tail of these words?
To walk on feet mattered most.

(From Mashal)

The dalit ghetto
Under your* fascist sky
Slowly pants the terrified the dalit ghetto.
Under your fascist sky
Slowly pants the terrified dalit ghetto.
Call it a fungus or a stale bread
Or an oasis in a desert
It drinks all similes
In a single breath
like lattha.
Sometimes it laughs loudly
And the Savarna sky shivers.
Making existence a float
It flows in the fall of pain
In its arms
Torn papers, broken glasses
Plastic and iron junk.
It creates arms of new creation,
The eager and lonesome army,
the dalit ghetto
The small string cots snugly arranged
One on the other.
On the stack of quilt,
Wearing thin towel, time screams.
In its borders mannerly
It rapes so-called civility unknowingly.
Its equations about relations are unique.
Behind unseen walls pine so silent the dalit ghetto.
*Caste Hindu
(From forthcoming poetry collection)

The two divers

The two divers
All pat the first one’s back.
Sight of the other irritates.
The two divers
The first one goes to seashore
The other on bank of the Ganges called gutter,
One wears the foolproof electronic armor
The other covers himself with the stink of liquor.
The two divers
One goes to the cave of bottomless dark
The other tramples layers of solid waste of hell.
One gets white pearls, priceless.
The other gets ugly shit of culture.
(From forthcoming poetry collection)

The Poet
Raju Solanki
Raju Solanki, born on 18 August 1961, is a leading dalit poet and activist, and a freelance journalist. He is the President of Jati Nirmulan Sangh. As an activist, has made important contribution towards dalit solidarity with women and minority groups. His collection of poetry is Mashal (1986), and his street play, Bamanvadni Barakhdi (c.1986). His new collection of poetry is under preparation.He regularly recites poetry with writers from other marginalized groups in slums for social change. His poetry is versatile with powerful depiction of caste, gender, and religion politics.His phone no. : 079-25624243