for lalgarh

die, hate.

i am tired of grieving
over lives i can do nothing for
but write another poem

die, anger.

i am sick of cursing
at vague smug faces
from website photographs-
with the wealth rolling up the chin
and pudgy little fingers
(looking remarkably like mine)
dealing out
judgments dipped
in blood
and gravy

die, hate
die, anger

and take the fingers
as you go,


Gauri Gharpure said...

you know what, there are these two thing i have been wanting to write on, lalgarh and aila.. but seeing news as they happen, more so the photos, the gloom and confusion is too much to actually materialize into words.. saw photos of the mass following, the PCPA meetings with thousands and thousands of tribals marching with bows and arrows, dancing to their music.. the energy is sizzling. makes you think that post 1947 too, there have been so many freedom struggles going on, and so many movements being throttled by might and bureaucracy

feddabonn said...

i know the feeling, gauri. i hope this goes somewhere.

i sometimes think of the the indian independence movement as one in a series of struggles for more freedom. a major landmark, yes, but not the first, or the last. i hope the tribals get their due. we of the north eastern tribes have had it good comparitively-we now mismanage our own states. but at least we have identities-something most mainland indian tribes do not.

Tomichan said...

The common man is indeed helpless in situations like those of Lalgarh. At best we can curse! Your poem has an oblique power.

Blind Dayze said...

hmmm these kind of lines wouldn't be too out of place as an LOG song ...[LambofGod metal band...]

Blind Dayze said...

LOG's Laid to Rest goes like..

Now you've got something to die for.
Infidel, Imperial
Lust for blood, a blind crusade
Apocalyptic, we count the days.
Bombs to set the people free, blood to feed the dollar tree
Flags for coffins on the screen, oil for the machine
Army of the liberation, gunpoint indoctrination
The fires of sedition
Fulfill the prophecy.....

Randy Blythe killer vocals and really great band... sorry off topic... but just thought you might like to get into some metal music :-) .... to suite the mood ..maybe ..

feddabonn said...

@tomichan: thanks. i honestly look for the day when we do more! just trying to 'show an affirming flame' for now.

@blind: just listened to some LOG. the only metal i listen to (sometimes) is rage against the machine, and i didn't think this would be something i liked. one listen has changed my mind, though. thanks!

feddabonn said...

Bombs to set the people free, blood to feed the dollar tree
Flags for coffins on the screen, oil for the machine

i like!

Anonymous said...

"I am tired of grieving
over lives i can do nothing for.."

This is deeply sad.. If I may, I would like to add a line following it..

"I'm tired of grieving over lives I COULD but didn't"

samda said...

Hate, anger, cursing, death all walk hand in hand. No point in visiting the same on the perpetrators of it. Love heals and brings life. Try it for a change.

feddabonn said...

@blackest: hmm. thanks, will give that a go.

good point, though-maybe there are things we *can do, but don't. one of the problems with too many ' issues', i think, is that one is in a state of shock, so to speak, not knowing where to help, what to do. only action can snap one out of that, i think. *any action. just pick a cause and do.

@samda: agreed. hate and anger are ultimately pointless, which is why the exhortation, in the poem, that they die. while love is often a choice we make, it is often more difficult than an intellectual choice.

John Doe said...

the carnage at Lalgarh is still too fresh in my mind to write about it.

sometimes i wonder whether our voices have any meaning at all? whether the tears and blood shed on the killing fields are the only thing with any meaning.

feddabonn said...

i don't know, john. actually sometimes i wonder if even the tears and blood mean anything either. i guess one can just do what one can:

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:

and then

Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

~September 1, 1939, W.H. Auden

Gauri Gharpure said...

I think you will like this article, it's about the traditional weaving patterns of the North East. follow the link below:

feddabonn said...

hey thanks gauri! lately tribal art has been on my mind, especially about how the mainland tribes are comparitively ignored. would love to hear about any of your experiences in gujarat and bengal. (or elsewhere)

Gauri Gharpure said...

i esp. liked the thing abt a story / memory with each design.. only wee bit of exposure is with warli art.. now, i have finally learnt a bead-weaving stitch (which i discovered is called peyote stitch) i had seen amazing woven jewellery made by a tribal woman and wanted to learn ever since..

feddabonn said...

yeah@memory/story. that is something the naga tribes talk about. i haven't heard any of the other tribes talk about their designs that way.

from what i read, the traditional tribal arts of the maori were revived in popular consciousness in the 30s. there are now schools that teach these skills etc. it would be amazing to have similar schools in india, passing on tribal arts and skills in a non-exploitative atmosphere. again, i feel the need is more immediate with the mainland indian tribes than the eastern ones.

Diana Saw said...

Wow. What a powerful poem. Love it.

I disagree with the poster who says love is the answer, that we have to love everyone - only if we can *smother* them with love. Do you really think a Hitler or an Idi Amin or a Robert Mugabe will change if only we love them enough? Don't be naive.

Some people deserve respect; other people deserve contempt. General pronouncements like these are useless, glib and irresponsible. Don't forget Edmund Burke's quote: "The only thing needed for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing."

feddabonn said...

much thanks, diana, and very nice to see you here! hope to have more of your unique perspective here. i have been watching your blog, and am fascinated by your work with bloom and your thoughts on cambodian life.

@love: while i am easily angered by injustice, it has not, in my experience, been easy to decide who deserves contempt and who respect. the greatest people have a nasty flaw-gandhi seems to have been very cruel to his own family, and the 'worst' people may have a tender side we know little about.

'love' does not equate to doing nothing, what you are referring to is the soppy silliness sold by hallmark cards. in fact, the poster who talked of love is one of those persons i know who have made quite a few bitterly self sacrificing decisions out of love. while it may have sounded glib, i doubt it was meant so.

i find it very easy to hate, and know how this emotion eats up inside. i have watched, as i grew up, how hate is destroying india.

just got back from an amnesty meeting where a lawyer who was in south africa was speaking of the truth and reconciliation commission and the difference it made. while there has been criticism of the commission, it has brought healing to people in ways that western systems of retributive justice may never have. will something like this work elsewhere, i don't know.

i do not have easy solutions, diana- but hope that some day we will get *some answers!

Marty Mars said...

I found your poem powerful. Can anger and hate die? The idea of looking out, reflected within, is accurate. Can we forgive? Can we not forgive? Is it possible to forgive those who would destroy us? If we don't, what have we got? I love it when more questions come out, after, than before - that is a sign of a poem worth reading again.

A poem for me is a snapshot in time, a freezeframe of action, of emotion and of impact. poems show angles usually unseen or considered. Your poem does all of that.

I want to forgive and I want to heal and i want to take the hands away from my neck so that i can breathe free air.

Can I forgive? Can I live if I don't?

feddabonn said...

thanks for dropping by, marty, and much thanks for the kind words.

in the context of the maori struggles, have your people (in general) forgiven? or is the anger reaching a peak?

how we handle these questions of love/forgiveness are, i think, crucial to the direction we take in our movements. while i sometimes feel sympathy/empathy for people who have picked up guns, i have another side telling me that violence is counter productive. then again, how else do you get a apathetic government/populace to respond? as diana has pointed out, is it naive to think that 'love' can change people/situations? even if it did, do we have the time such an approach will take?

Marty Mars said...

There is still anger and it manifests in many ways. It is difficult to pin down but I'll just talk about me. I haven't had my family shot, or my friends disappeared, or been beaten by police. But i still have a lot of anger. And it's mainly around the loss. the loss of not being bought up within my culture, of not being taught my language, of not being taught my history, of basically having a null culture. Or of having that culture dismissed and not considered at all. This is colonisation at work. my brothers and i grew up with tiny amounts of information about who we were, and what this country is. That makes me really angry. maori had named everything and knew the natural world here, they could whakapapa everything and knew how everything fitted together and the colonisation of this country took all of that away. And how am I supposed to teach my son?

Maori are tolerent but things are coming to a head because maori are exerting their self esteem, their mana. This is causing those who want things to stay the same to become frightened and that leads to less tolerance and more violence.

Revolution does seems attractive and i've been a 'Che' man. But who would you shoot here? This country won't fix itself with violence, simply because it is impossible to tell a maori from a non-maori in many ways. Colour of skin is not the measure, name is not the measure. For maori it is geneology or whakapapa. Have you a unbroken line of descent? And you can't tell that by looking at someone.

Sometimes to have to fight. And sometimes love isn't enough. But if we give up on love - is there any point fighting?

Life makes living worth dying for. I wrote that when I was very young, it still seems apt to me.

RTFAT1 said...

Hi Baruk - finally got round to looking at the blog - i do like your poetry - it grabs you - powerful stuff - of course , i don't understand the background, but I gather you're referring to a specific incident where , no doubt , people were brutally suppressed. I know that when you consider these terrible things and how frequent they are, it can be overwhelming, - bearing in mind ofcourse that i'm sitting in comfort here in Hamilton when i have these thoughts. Your poem is a strong and understandable expression of this and the anger we feel at people who either take part in the oppression, facilitate it, (or just maybe don't give a damn.)

hope i'm reading your poem right - not sure what the reference to your own fingers was about - maybe thats like me wishing i didn't have such a big puku( don't know if you've come across this common Maori word for tummy). Also, i'm not sure whether you're telling hate to die at the end, or its just an extreme expression of your anger

liked a lot of the comments - i think , philosophically, I'm more with Samda - not that i'm saying i can necessarily live up to this - on the other hand, as Diana Saw says, we have to try and see things as they are - and condemn those actions that are deserving of condemnation - this partly means, I think, to expose the truth and counter progaganda and spin

. I dont' quote the bible very often these days, but does it say that ' violence begets violence' ?- this, I think, is pretty much demonstrably true and it doesnt' take much for people to forget the 'other lot' are human. Violence can lead to all sorts of unforseen and unintended consequences - it must be karmically very complicated for the universe, no doubt. The recent AMnesty report on Gaza spoke of how the Israeli forces left behing grafitti such as 'the only good Arab is a dead Arab' and their actions certainly manifested this kind of attitude -

i also liked your reply to Diana Saw - I didnt' disagree with all she said, but i liked your acknowledgement of the kind of love which is hard to define, but greater than the tos and fros of our everyday human emotions. I imagine that Gandhi , Martin Luther King, and one or two others were exponents of this kind of practice

however, as I see it , this is a poem, not a manifesto of political action so such feelings and thoughts are perfectly valid and worthwhile expressing - the fact that you got so many comments is testimony to this.

feddabonn said...

@marty: thanks. i guess we figure things out as we blunder along. kia kaha.

@bruce: thanks for leaving a note here- it adds to a discussion of what is, to me, at the core of my understanding of resistance movement.

i think the fingers speak (to me at least) of our(my) complicity in the oppression around us(me). is there truly neutrality in any situation? are we, by "not taking sides", actually helping the oppressors?

i do not personally see a big difference/separation between word and deed, definitely not between poetry and manifesto. i think art could do with a lot less ambiguity and politics a lot more.