Friday, June 16, 2006

Varavara Rao: "You are lucky, you are meritorious"

Via Amit Kumar Singh (see his comment on this post), we have the link to Varavara Rao's poem titled Déjà vu from 1990. Here are a few stanzas from near the end of this poem:

The corpse of your merit
Parades through the main streets
Has its funeral in `chourastas�
Amidst chanting of holy `mantras�

But Merit has no death
You creatively conduct symbolic procession
And enact the mourning `prahasan�
In us
To die or to be killed
There is no merit

We die
With hunger, or disease,
Doing hard labor, or committing crime,
In lock up or encounter
(Meritorious will not agree inequality is violence)

We will be thrown
By a roadside;
In a filthy pit;
On a dust heap;
In a dark forest

We will turn ash
Without a trace
We will `miss�
From a hill or a hole

Our births and deaths
Except for census statistics,
What use they have
For the national progress?

We take birth
And perish in death
In and due to
Miserable poverty
You assume the `Avatar�
When Dharma is in danger
And renounce the role
After completing the job
You are the `sutradhar�

You are lucky
You are meritorious.


  1. Anonymous said...

    "Lucky, we have merit"

    Lucky We are, they say,
    cos' we have merit.

    emotions are high
    resolutions are strong
    politicians in power for 50 years did nothing for the "backwards"
    no body is asking why? whats wrong?

    what happened to the false promises?
    where are the jobs?
    where are the schools for all?

    Lucky, we are
    we were born "rich" in small towns,
    parents toiled hard, survived on a meal
    so that we could
    some day perhaps become someone renowned.

    we never did manual labor, dont know their plight
    as we worshipped saraswati, spending many a sleepless night
    still you say, we must wait - and let some one else take
    what we earned by hard work and merit
    and call us names - selfish, hypocrite - thats not right !

    thats not the point you see !!
    the khaddar dhari politican speaks ...
    trying to put some sense in us ..
    "i woo the backwards, woo the down trodden
    they have the numbers and unity
    u are upper caste and have few votes,
    what worth you are to me?"

    we say ..
    "they have lost always, they need to win
    we need more schools, more colleges, reforms"
    "If they have to win, must we lose?
    is this a zero sum game ? to not play we may not choose?"

    a voice replies .. shshshshhhhhh !!
    "your ancestors were sinners
    hence you must repay, how dare you ask that ??
    you uppercast untouchable
    dont you see - u have merit !"