Namdeo Dhasal – Two Poems

Their Eternal Pity

Their eternal pity — no taller than a pimp on Falkland Road.

No pavilion put up in the sky for us.

Lords of wealth. They are locking up light in those vaults of theirs \

In this life, carried by a whore, not even the sidewalks are ours

Made so beggarly it is nausea to be human,

Cannot fill our gut even with shrivelled dirt.

Each new just day supports them as if bribed—

not a sigh slips through the fingers of day’s plant 

as we are cut down. 

*translated by Jayant Karve and Eleanor Zelliot 

 

 

Now Now

Turning their backs to the sun, they journeyed through creatures;

Now, now we must refuse to be pilgrims of darkness.

That one, our father is bent from carrying,

carrying and darkness. Now we must lift that 

burden from his back.

Our blood was spilled for this glorious city

And what we got to eat was the right to eat stones.

Now, now, we must explode that building which kisses the 

Sky!

After a thousand years we are blessed with a sunflower-giving fakir;

Now, now, we must, like sunflowers, turn our faces to the sun. 

*translated by Jayant Karve and Eleanor Zelliot 

Translators’ note: The reference is clearly to Ambedkar, and the connotation of fakir seems to be the miracle worker.

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