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Mainstream, VOL LV No 45 New Delhi October 28, 2017


Monday 30 October 2017

Recently there was a news item in a national daily about a piece of wasteland outside a village being earmarked by the concerned State Government as a separate crematorium for the untouchables, because they are not being allowed by the higher-caste people living in the village to use the common crematorium. There is an irony hidden in the arrangements made by the law-enforcing authority. The following poem has been composed against that background.

by Ajit Kumar Das

When I came into this world,

I was carrying a stigma —

the birth mark of my origin. 

It has stayed with me

through the avenues of life,

never got erased, rather shining

with its discriminatory purity.

The journey meanders along

a separate sidewalk hedged

by roads, lanes, bylanes,

trudging towards a wasteland

at the outskirts of the village,

now earmarked as ‘muktidham’*

for final release from the bondage.

 *a separate crematory for untouchables

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