I have earlier offered a translation of Kannada Dalit poet Mudnakudu Chinnaswamy. He is a senior writer and a good poet. Experimental and sharp, his works are surely important. Recently I discovered his website which has lot of pictures and details about him.
Some of Mudnakudu Chinnaswamy’s poems are available in translation by Prof. Rowena Hill here
I must apologize for spelling his name incorrectly in my previous post. Thsi time around I have corrected it.
IF I WAS A TREE
If I was a tree
the bird wouldn’t ask me
before it built its nest
what caste I am.
When sunlight embraced me
my shadow wouldn’t feel defiled.
My friendship with the cool breeze and the leaves
would be sweet.
Raindrops wouldn’t turn back
taking me for a dog-eater.
When I branch out further from my roots
Mother Earth wouldn’t flee shouting for a bath.
The sacred cow would scrape her body on my bark,
scratching wherever it itched
and the three hundred thousand gods sheltering inside her
would touch me.
at the end,
hacked into pieces of dry wood,
burning in the holy fire,
I might be made pure,
or becoming the bier for a sinless body
be borne on the shoulders of four good men.