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India: A Dalit writer’s compelling poems addressed to Narendra Modi sharply capture the despair

Friday 30 June 2017, by siawi3

Source: https://video.scroll.in/842013/watch-this-dalit-writers-compelling-poems-addressed-to-narendra-modi-sharply-capture-the-despair

This Dalit writer’s compelling poems addressed to Narendra Modi sharply capture the despair

30.06.2017

‘We stand in a row waiting to welcome you, holding in our hands, our severed heads’.

As attacks on minorities, particularly against Muslims and Dalits, stack up at an alarming rate under the NDA government, voices of dissent are turning sharper. But the despair hangs thick in the air.

In such a climate, the poetry of protest shines in a telling, urgent voice, echoing the thoughts of thousands who don’t have one. D Ravikumar, a Dalit writer and general secretary of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi in Tamil Nadu, has written a set of compelling poems capturing the helplessness of ordinary people in a frighteningly accurate way.

Without naming Modi, Ravikumar lashes out at his silence on the ongoing atrocities. The poetry is thick with nuanced complexity, quietly withering, and especially precious in times of growing self-censorship.

Ravikumar reads out two of his poems in the video here. The translations are below:

In our name
You killed a child

In our name
You killed a pregnant woman

In our name
You killed an elder

In our name
You killed our neighbours

In our name
You killed justice

In our name
You killed peace

In our name
You killed the nation

In our name
You killed our belief

In our name

The plane descends
on a runway lit by pyres
You have been flying, flying, flying;
and now return after learning
the art of preventing birds from flying
We stand in a row
waiting to welcome you
holding in our hands
our severed heads