because it is the anniversary of the day osman pasha signed his last firman :
the rains let loose the streams, rivers this year
you know there were no seasons, the last ten years
listening to the koel's welcome, as i stepped into jail
i wondered, has the spring arrived so early?
walls from the nizam's time, barbed wire, electrified to kill
the sentry ramparts, walls within walls, gates within gates
locks locked unlocked, between the guards
the captured greenery
the pigeons that can't fly
the sky imprisoned in the yard
the faint call to namaaz in the absent noon
the moist-eyed ground giving the wind a chill
it's here the seasons had been held since long
the mango sprout neem blossom taste the same
the jail koel sings all the time
like belle lalita
a chained song
in my honour perhaps
or because my mate kanakachari isn't here.
vara vara rao wote that on 25.08.05 in chanchalguda prison, hyderabad.
the poet wasn't thinking about punctuation when he wrote that.. so it's to be read as it drones - like life in a prison, i suppose. also, i don't know who/what 'belle lalita' is/are. i tried to capture, that word again, the sense of the poem. i know others can do it better. so i'm inviting them to do so (especially the poems that follow) - especially gadde anandaswarup. i mean to update this post in the near future - this is a work-in-progress in a way. but in this poem i like the use of the word - 'ruthuvulu' (seasons). it could be understood as seasons, plain and simple, or as the peasant's season 'kaalam' which is the monsoon. when he says there haven't be seasons for the last ten years - he means the incessant drought during the naidu rule..or the repression, as he perceives it, let loose during the period..or he means simply a long period. or that he hasn't been in prison for a long time. or just time.
it's the peasant's
the peasant who, staked life felling
fierce jungles, creating
fertile lands, grinding bones
to ash tilling, filling
the nawab's coffers with gold,
it's his, telangana is his; will
the old fox get it?
o nizam demon! there
hasn't been one like you;
you plucked the strings and dipped them in fire
my telangana, a crore gem-studded veena.
this is where the purists can begin whetting their knives - this poem, of course, defines the telangana freedom struggle, or the telangana peasants' struggle.. and has been a war song, especially the last line since it was written (but published later in 1949). in nizamabad prison by dasarathi. but i wish they'd wait..until they read this :
i can't endure this beating anymore ramappa, save me
i said i'd do good, what do i have to fear
i gathered varaha moharis for your servants
i gave not a pie to others, i submit at your feet
they whipped me govinda, i can't endure this
i trusted in you, govinda, can't endure this
where's the courage that bound the ocean, demon slayer, save me
rama bhadradrisitarama rama, didn't i chant your name, always.
what have you done to ramadasu ?
that's a kirtan written/composed by kancherla gopanna, or ramadasu, in prison inside the golconda fort some..day in the seventeenth century. here's the original, ( if the pundits haven't guessed that by now). what's the point in translating a kirtan that's more music and mood than a poem? only to complete this short compilation of prison lore.
yes, they must be bad translations..but i was only trying to make sense of those times..identify..what's common among those experiences and the times.