Bridge to Global Literature

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Sunil Abhiman Awachar

May 8, 2021 | Front And Center | 1 comment

We can do anything

We can do anything
We can make Dalits as data and write research on them
Paint them as we want
Translate their writings
Sing their songs
Act as Dalits
Produce films on them

We can do anything
We can make fake caste certificates
And acquire their jobs
We can take over their platforms/stage,
Take control of their mikes
Displace them in the name of development
Boycott them from village, state and nation,
Deny them water
Restrict them from education
Declare them naxalite and anti-national,
Jail them
Ban them from entering temples

We can do anything
We can hate reservations
We can even say Jai Bhim

But we cannot give up age old Brahmanism
And recognize them as human being with equal worth.


Translated from the Marathi by Vishal Thakre



Untouchable Mumbai

Babasaheb said: the village is the rotten den of casteism.
Without caring much for life
To appease my historical hunger
I enter this grotesque city.

I embrace the footpaths adjoined to highways,
Some ot us have got jobs
In the blood sucking factories,
Some of us are made to sweep and clean
The gutters of municipality at the cost of our lives
Being here is like suffering with the agonies of hell
Or being an orphan lost in the dreadful city.

Some people say Mumbai is the door of heaven
Others say it is the city of dream;
But when we ask for our share after toiling hard
We get kicked on our arse.

Today sixty years have passed since independence;
The new age of digitalization is being celebrated.
Our pockets are filled with enough money and
It seems as if we are accommodated in the mainstream;
But when we want to buy a flat  in the high tower in Mumbai
They suspiciously ask us: Who are you?
It we tell them our real identity
They make their faces and say: No.

l am standing beneath the shower
Rubbing the soap all over my body
But the stain of untouchability
That stuck inside my skin as if a membrane,
Seems impossible to wash out.

Mumbai must have offered prosperity to them
But to us, it does not allow a living
without first burning in the hell of caste.

Translated from the Marathi by  Yogesh Maitreya 


Sunil Abhiman Awachar

Sunil Abhiman Awachar

Dr. Sunil Abhiman Awachar is well known as a poet and painter, also an assistant professor with the Department of Marathi in the University of Mumbai. Meanwhile, he is a full-time activist in the Dalit human rights movement. He has published four anthologies of poetry, all in Marathi, that include Global Vartamanachya Kavita (2008), Mi Mahasattechya Darashi Katora Gheun Ubha Rahanaar Nahi,  Bravo! Fox Minds of Capitalist and Poems of the Occupied Everything.

1 Comment

  1. Sunita

    Very nice poem comes with truth



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