I am not your data | ನಾನು ನಿಮ್ಮ ಅಂಕಿ ಅಂಶವಲ್ಲ | Abhay Xaxa/ಅಭಯ್ ಖಾಖಾ

Sociologist and activist Abhay Xaxa has written this poem that I found deeply illuminating for many privileged folks like myself who work with Adivasi communities. Since the poem in English is not accessible to many of my Kannada-speaking colleagues & collaborators, with help from Latha Chilgod, we produced a crude Kannada translation of the poem. A dream to set it to tune in Kannada one day, perhaps with help from some of the amazing Adivasi musicians here in Chamarajanagar…one day….meanwhile, below is our Kannada translation and further down is the original in English that I believe was first published in Roundtable India.

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Pointing to myself

I can press like on one
and retweet another
with ease;

practising my likes & retweets
requires grit and strength
that I am still trying to gather;

tired of pointing out
everything that’s wrong with the world
and realise

that I’m complicit to what I point…

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Tukde Tukde hum nahin, tumhara tootna mumkin hai

टुकड़े टुकड़े हम नहीं, तुम्हारा टूटना मुमकिन है
– उमेश श्रिनिवसन

यह जो बैर के पहाड़ खड़े किए हैं तुमने
सोचा होगा के हैं हिमालय से भी बुलंद
हम नहीं जियेंगे इनके साए में
नफ़रत के टुकड़े कर देंगे

टुकड़े टुकड़े हम नहीं, तुम्हारा टूटना मुमकिन है

जाओ रेंगते उसी गुफाह में
जहाँ से साँप बनकर निकले हो
तुम्हारा ज़हेर ना होगा हमसे हज़म
आतंकवाद के टुकड़े कर देंगे

टुकड़े टुकड़े हम नहीं, तुम्हारा टूटना मुमकिन है

खून बहाया, मौत भी बाँटा
अब खामोशी में बर्दाश्त नहीं
ना होगा ख़त्म हमारे खून का कोष
भेदभाव के टुकड़े कर देंगे

यह टुकड़े टुकड़े हम नहीं, तुम्हारा टूटना मुमकिन है

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The puddle in the mind

A lotus bloomed over a puddle

Glistening in the morning sun.

A cheer to the shepard

and to the maiden alike,

While the fisherman pondered on.
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Canned corn at Google’s cost

Bessie Braddock (to Winston Churchill): Winston, you’re drunk.

Churchill: Bessie, you’re ugly. But tomorrow I shall be sober.


George Bernard Shaw showing scorn and resentment at corny humour such as this poem

This exchange (perhaps apocryphal like any other exchange attributed to Churchill) is up there for no particular reason. I find it funny and that quite suits.

Well, here’s another poem and like my previous poem blogs, again not by me, but in reaction to email dissemination of my attempts at serious rhyme through poem. In response to fierce criticism through email that in the real world could have translated to egg on my face, I retorted with the life experience of George Bernard Shaw and his travails at finding a publisher for his work for nine years. Of course, the implication in invoking Shaw being that I may somehow be of such a kind. A good friend from  this lab which has some science on its menu had this to say:


Please desist from the literary arts
Yours stink worse than lighted farts
If at all you must persist
Then let your works be lost in mist

By mist I mean oblivion
Forever and ever – time AND space
We are not your guinea pigs
So spare us all, the human race

You would be better received on Mars
Where life forms are not yet sentient
Go recite to rocks and fungi
At least they’ll be more patient

And if this is a dent to your ego
I hope it comes well in time
For failure after much persistence
Is like your work, an empty rhyme

Coming from a person with as corny a sense of humour as corn itself, I chose to make it funnier using a recent and under-utilised humour tool, called Google Translate. Yes, as useful as it might be for writing emails in our own languages (even Indic ones now!), it can be used very effectively for humour. Running this poem through Google Translate produces:

कृपया साहित्यिक कला से विरत
तुम्हारा जला farts बदबू से भी बदतर
अगर तुम सब पर दृढ़ रहना चाहिए
तो फिर अपने काम करता है धुंध में खो दिया जा

धुंध तक मैं विस्मरण का मतलब
हमेशा के लिए और कभी – समय और स्थान
हम अपने गिनी सूअरों नहीं कर रहे हैं
इसलिए हम सभी को छोड़ दो, मानव जाति

आप बेहतर मंगल ग्रह पर प्राप्त होगा
जहां जीवन रूपों अभी तक संवेदनशील नहीं हैं
चट्टानों और कवक को सुनाना जाओ
कम से कम वे अधिक रोगी हो जाएगा

और अगर यह अपने अहंकार के लिए एक गड्ढा है
मुझे आशा है कि यह समय में अच्छी तरह से आता है
बहुत हठ के बाद असफलता के लिए
अपने काम, एक खाली कविता की तरह है

And that is how you can have canned corn at Google’s cost!