Damned if I die, damned if I don’t

Farmer's plight is a damning reflection of how much reform has taken place

Farmer’s suicide is a silent killer being brushed aside as a marginal issue; after all, a few farmers taking their life ‘here and there’ can’t be that serious. Hmm….neither is it ‘few farmers’ (nearly 200,000 in 10 years) nor is it here and there (Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh are just the big five!). Of course, it is not a marginal issue, stemming out of a simple lack of money to repay a loan – the phenomenon points bloody fingers at the very process of ‘economic reform’ – yes, the same reforms that makes possible the 3G in our hands, and the apple on my desk. A paradox, this….Sridhar Kadam, a farmer who incidentally trained in public health shares this poem. For hindi speakers, please neglect the effort at english translation by Werner and me.

जालियांवाले हत्याकांड आज भी होते है, जरा गौर से देखिये,
गोली के निशान नहीं, जरा मौत की वजह देखिये !

लाश के सरहाने जहर की बोतल देखकर,
सभी ने जान लिया की शायद कोई किसान था!

अब तो कपास भी शरमाता है,
किसान के खेतो में फूलने के लिए!
रोटी तो वो दे नहीं सकता,
मगर कपड़ा भी दे नहीं पाता, बदन ढकने के लिए!

वो सर पर लाद कर सब्जीया बेचती है,
अपने बेटे को पढ़ाने के लिए!
और खुद ‘सरकारी गोली’ खात्ती है,
अपना खून बढाने के लिए!

ऐ लोगो मत कहो ‘खुदखुशी’ किसान की मौत को,
वो खुद की खुशी नहीं, बनाए गए हालात थे!
अगर गौर से देखा जाये तो,
जालियांवाला हत्याकांड में भी कुछ ऐसे ही हालात थे!

इसका रोना नहीं की हमारे पूंजीपती इसके निर्माता है,
और चंद ‘विद्वान’ फिरंगी इसके निर्देशक है!
गम इस बात का है की,
हमारे माटी के पूत ही इसके तमासगीर है!

क्रांती आज भी होगी, जरा आजमा के तो देखिये,
आप हमारे बंधे हाथ, जरा खोल के तो देखिये!

Still today we see bloodbaths not unlike Jalianwala Baagh.

Stop looking for bulletholes.

Watch the cause of death and misery.

See the bodies lying clutching the bottle of poison

To inform us that the cause of death was suicide.

The cotton is embarassed

To flower in the farmer’s field.

May not give bread, this cotton,

Neither will it give the farmer a cloth to cover.

His wife still sells the load of vegetables on her head

So that her son may be lettered.

And she’s still downing sarkari goli

For ironing her blood.

O brother, don’t call this one a death by suicide.

It was not to soothe own failure that he killed himself.

Don’t say destiny created the end of the road.

Cry why!

Did not the massacre at Jalianwala Baagh

Bestow the same destiny for the unarmed?

Don’t shout that Capital was the producer of this drama.

Nor wail that the Bank was the director of this karma.

This pain cuts deeper than a minstrel show.

It took sons of our land to cut so deep.

Radical change is what we need.

Dear brothers, come together

And open up your arms.

6 responses to “Damned if I die, damned if I don’t

  1. Wonderful post and highly relevant issue.

  2. So true..nice translation

  3. Screwed up Neo-liberal wave! despite of knowing that US type economic policies leads to doomsday..We are still a sitting duck..
    We rejoice for getting a some relief at income tax..but behold..the changes brought about by todays government is for middle class (that too a part of it) whereas the votes it seeks from are far away from middle class dream..
    I feel like kicking the butt of pranab mukerjee and all similar ASSHOLEs

  4. I thought the translation was lovely…how poignant a poem….

  5. You are a good man.

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