Wednesday, January 15, 2014

RIP Namdeo Dhasal

Namdeo Dhasal, Dalit Panther, poet, has died. His family struggled to raise money for his treatment and this morning he died, a bare month before he'd have turned 65.

Here's a poem - not the better known ones from his earlier work - but from Ya Sattet Jeev Rahmat Nahi (The Soul Doesn't Find Peace in This Regime, 1995), translated by the late Dilip Chitre and published by Navayana in Namdeo Dhasal: Poet of the Underworld.


 The face you find stirred up on the surface of the water is mine:
The foaming crown on the raised wave
About to touch a pride poised between time and space.
Hell's bastions of suffering have begun to crumble and fall.
I've made myself tired and unhappy here on this seashore of pain;
Sculpting with a chisel and image of many-faceted wounds.
The gossamer mantle of Being fluttering in the wind;
a fierce foreplay of light and dark creating its urgent rage
Formless skies; wistful; as the transparent birds of dreams fly away.
The flowers of inner awareness, beginning to bloom, have no fragrance;
Like a snake, I too shed my skin; this touch of icy water cuts all passion's cords.
Don't blow a soothing breath on the surface of the water now, or my memoirs will lose their face.


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