HerStory

yet the task is only half-done
pricey is freedom of expression.
until the working class women,
who still are waiting to be heard,
let alone seen, in this
fermenting revolution;
when they get to win
the means of communication,
them that are not on twitters
weary, exhausted workers,
marching, one may day, at a time
to end all exploitations;
#themtoo will be seen
rise in solidarity
and march in unison;

An Ode to the Unfinished

like the unfinished manuscripts unsung songs leaderless movements incomplete news abridged classics discarded mixtapes dimmed lights celebrity kids burnt-out prodigies demonetized masses abandoned refugees rsvp’ed maybe postponed suicides depressed doctors temp on sick leave upper east side homeless professor with student loans yet another president palestinian dreams pretend plays criterion collections hawaiian sovereignty discovering god forgiving abortions cultural purities national boundaries racial features gendered restrooms leaked emails exiled pirates 50c raise in hourly wage a year of promises half empty or, half full a broken calendar that rarely matters anymore… or shall it – this coming year? – by Saswat…

Sahir Ludhianvi – Communist and a Poet

By Saswat Pattanayak It was more than a coincidence that Sahir Ludhianvi was born on an International Women’s Day. His concern and respect for women was as much personal as it was political. For him, no one – and nothing – was more important than his mother Sardar Begum. Resenting her husband’s feudal properties, his mother had left that household and raised Sahir on her own. And Sahir grew up as an organic revolutionary against landlords and burgeoning capitalism of that era. And more importantly, as a progressive poet deeply aware of the capitalistic exploitations of women and the working…

Divided We Fall

Last year alone, an earthquake – among many – left 9,000 dead in Nepal. Stampede among the devotees caused death of 2,200 people in Mecca. Over 3.1 million children – under five – died of malnutrition everywhere in the world. They were not victims of terrorism or organized murders. They did not perpetuate any evil to justify a divine plan that took their lives. And yet, not one God or multiple versions of Gods could do anything to save them. That is because there is no God. There is no reason for a belief in God, or adherence to any…

Meritocratic Jury

(In the backdrop of Supreme Court of India’s bench comprising Justice Misra and Justice Pant citing national interest to scrap quota in higher education institutions)   Looks like you have the merit – Birthright of the nationalist. Wearing that Sacred Thread. Making a call to daddy’s old boys network every now & then. Misra uncles and Pant uncles And their colleague uncles. Uncle’s uncles. Bhagwat uncles. Generationally scholarly. Proud Indian Hindus. Feeling the national interests Merit runs in their veins. Your access not denied to the temples. Of gods and sacred texts. Interpreted by sacrosanct gatekeepers. High Court Jagannath Temple…

Modified

Modified – Dadri – Knock knock Who’s there? Your neighbor My neighbor who? Neighbor to trust – Godman – Knock knock Who’s there? Your Baba My Baba who? Baba, God, Man – Leader – Knock knock Who’s there? Your leader My leader who? Leader you can fear – Tolerance – Knock knock Who’s there? Your fan My fan who? Fanning a plane ticket – Patriot – Knock knock Who’s there? Your conscience My conscience who? Herr Herr Modi – Saswat Pattanayak, Peoples’ Poet, 2015

Silent Majority

First they came for the Muslims, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Pakistani. Then they came for the women, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Feminist. Then they came for the Adivasis, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Naxalite. Then they came for the Dalits, and I did not speak out – Because I was not an Ambedkarite. Then they came for the rationalists, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the…

2015: Of Incidental Revolutions

What about the promises this new year shall bring Ballads of scrutiny, merciless calendar sings Memories slurping away, with bitter windtongues Cruel time ticking away, sans any arbitrary stops Moments of endless reflections, for the years past us Stunning silence of missing airplanes, roaring blunders What if this, what if that, had we tried our best Could we have ended this bloody war, that electoral race A patriotic bunch in India murdering Gandhi again Revitalized danger, right wing fascist men Third World Project a dying form of irrelevance Playground for capitalists, turf for deathly dance Irreparable losses of beloved poets…

No Thanks(giving)

Murder the Indigenous Slaughter those turkeys Thank the Indigenous Pardon that turkey No thanks Kill the dissenters Land of freedoms Celebrate survivors Build more prisons No thanks Demand gratitudes Columbus to Obama In lieu of guns, drones Such Thanksgiving drama. No thanks – Saswat Pattanayak, Peoples’ Poet, 2014 (Published in Gossamer)

2014: Let Ourselves Prevail

“Where the mind is without fear” and whistleblowers roam free Prisons abolished; die with them, values all reactionary Where the world exults in differences, amidst sheer diversity Supremacism ends; cease with it, any collective adversity Where ideas spring from challenged truths, broken promises Perfection wound up; sought after no more are divine images Where faith is exposed as a hopeless quest, of oppressed states Reason, power and strength too seen as elite privileged quests      Where rape no longer a metaphor, nor millionaires act commoners Celebrities awaken the conscience, not profiteers, accumulators  Where the admired do not endorse wars,…