i am watching everything
observing your every move
the bodies that drifted away in the blood rivers of december 6th
i am still searching for them with wet eyes

while no foot can turn a man into man now
i watch them turn into rocks and maniacs

the al kabeer gherao
which stands between my hunger and my livelihood
the falling flag post which turned into a trishul in hubli idgah
'mathura' lying crushed under your kautilyan plans
i am watching all.

thinking, indivar- is the light of our home
rajeev- the fragrance of my heritage
i celebrated
you too turned into vamana's feet
walked over the guldastas of my dreams
to rip open the pyjamas of my trust
hacking me, anointing your foreheads with my blood
leaving me with a bougainvillea citizenship.

with nothing more to bring down
perhaps, you might be annoyed or impatient.
spread your hawk's eyes across the land once
by the yamuna, some mad dada of ours,
you'll find, had turned all his love for dadi ma
into a milk and cream moonlight mansion.
in delhi, someone had plucked a piece of the eastern sky,
you'll see, and planted it as a palace soaked in his blood
my traces shall continue stoking
as qutub minars char minars buland darwazas
jama masjids mecca masjids maharaja palaces
your restless fanaticism.
when you destroyed or cut down throats we stayed silent
as you set fire to our history
and announced compensation with another hand
but- when you break the country into pieces
stamp people down into graves
and raise beasts in the cities, i wouldn't tolerate that
you necrophiliac-
to release the dead if one needs corpses-
it's inevitable
the first corpse would be mine.
i am watching everything.

my translation (like my other attempts, this shall remain a work-in-progress for some time) of jehad, a telugu poem by khaja that i found in padunekkina pAta, a compilation of dalit poetry published in 1996.


Space Bar said...

I'm very intrigued by 'bougainvillea citizenship.' How does that read in the original?

(Ihope you're working on these translations properly and will consider sending them out to journals.)

kuffir said...

'bougainvillae pourasatvam'- that's the exact phrase used in the poem. i found it a little strange so reread that part of the poem. 'indivar' and 'rajeev' (apart from references to political leaders, i think)both mean 'lotus', a native flower (?) while bougainvillae, plants like crotons etc., are often referred to as alien flora. the flowers look sort of papery and insubstantial too, no?

all these are very amateurish attempts- i'm kind of shy of sending them anywhere.. for instance, i'd heard about this compilation a lot and got to buy it only yesterday in the evening. i got down to read it as soon as coming back home and felt like attempting a translation of a few i liked in that kind of..excitement. i don't know much about how proper translators go about their work.

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