Chandalinir Kobita

By Kalyani Thakur Charal

I leave behind these marshes and jungles,
The people of the jungle,
Leave behind the river
The forest trail
Far away to my own people
Who shed blood and sweat
I go

To the malnourished children
Of our fallen,battered forefathers,
To my brothers and sisters

I shall leave behind this land
Of four rivers and five settlements

Stretched out beside the blacksmith’s furnace
I have been privy
To the argument of the hammer and the iron

I have become the plough
And travelled far, riding on the farmer’s shoulder
Tilled the vast expanse
So that the field teems with crops

Just to fight the pangs of hunger

Still I have to witness Amlasol*
I have to feed my family ant-eggs
That look like white grains of rice

That is enough to sustain the children
They take up their bows and arrows

And even without caring for
The true meaning of revolution
Bare their chests in front of the barrel of the gun

*Amlasol a very poor village in West Bengal, was in the news for a number of starvation death.
Translated by Sayantan Dasgupta.