Poetry| Dipak Barkhade

Source: http://www.brambedkar.in/


Mother’s Saat 

My mother lived 
in the railway colony 
of Surat city.
She got married and 
came to live 
in the village of Selamba.
My mother saw
Grand-mother sitting 
in the shop 
She learnt 
to use katiyar, amboor, 
raapi, saat, 
and the nails
one day. 
Since then, 
I hear the noise
of saat striking 
the tiny dark nails 
in the hard leather chappals 
like the jolts
of an earthquake. 
The more I age
the more the nails pierce
into my soul. 
I ask my mother 
to continue her saat
no more. 
But she is 
not to stop it
I ask my mother 
My mother passes me 
a smile 
of victory 
which is lost
in the history 
of love, labour and life.
Note: saat (an iron hammer in round vertical shape), katiyar (a needle to sew the broken part back to the slipper), amboor (nail clipper) raapi (a cutter) 



Learn how to love 
from Ramai.
She met
Baba saheb under 
a raining sky. 
Since then, 
To Baba saheb
She truly stood by. 
Both faced 
the challenge of sky.
Both pained 
seeing the fall
of the womb.
Both struggled 
to ensure the seasons 
of humanity bloom. 

Note: Baba saheb (Dr. B.R. Ambedkar), Ramai (the wife of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and mother of the oppressed of caste)


The Odour 

I did not see my mother at first.  
I had felt the odour 
near her breasts.
A new born,
I grew up 
on her milk and left
for the city
where I shared the colours 
with the upper-caste friends.
The colours had obscured 
the taste of milk
I had sucked 
on the breasts 
like a blossom of the breeze. 
But the long seated odour 
always beckon me.
I went home back 
in the village and 
heard what 
Mr. Bhanu Luhar 
had reported:
“your mother tried
to arrange the chappals
on the iron rod
in the foot-wear shop.
Unable to take her hands 
to the uneven heights
She fell off
the stand.”
The glass of my eyes are 
with the memory 
of imaginary fall
Though influenced by the colours
of city, 
I come back 
to my self-consciousness 
in angst 
again and again. 


The Taste of Roti

Both Ratilal and
Motilal had melted 
the cow fat 
in a tomb yard 
of the village.
They survived 
against starvation and 
protected their sister, Shanti 
from the upper-castes.
They heard 
they were 
the reserved castes. 
They day 
they became officers
they fed roti 
to their posterity. 
They did not know
the roti would 
swallow the past
in the love 
of taste. 
the posterity roam
in the city 
of identity 
the ancestors shared. 


A Loss of Silver Bangles

Mother sold 
the grand-mother’s silver bangles
to the gold-smith
of Selamba. 
The eclipse 
of identity 
She herself had 
But she failed 
to grasp it. 
Mother was compelled 
to imitate the upper-caste norms.
She was restless 
to make money and
feed her children 
a future bereft
of her indigenous culture
until she saw
her children writing 
the songs 
of revolt. 


Dalit Mothers

All struggle 
in the search of streams.
The Dalit mothers 
store morsels
of hope
in the language 
of dreams. 
They have wept, laughed 
and danced 
with the mothers 
of the water, the forest and 
the earth 
of mankind. 
They share 
common dreams
in the indigenous stream. 
They embody 
a culture
evolving from the toil 
of day and night. 
They represent 
a path 
moving to the light.

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