• The Many Languages We Speak

    ICF Team

    October 3, 2019

    On September 14, 2019, Union Home Affairs Minister Amit Shah proclaimed the need for a single language to "unify" the nation and the ability of Hindi to do so, a language he assumes to be the most "widely-spoken" in the country. "India is a country of different languages and every language has its own importance but it is very important to have a language which should become the identity of India in the world. If one language can unite the country today, it is the widely-spoken Hindi language," he tweeted right after the proclamation.

    The latest in Hindutva's attempts at homogenisation of the country and through it, bring about a twisted idea of nationalism, Shah's words have rocked the non-Hindi speaking regions of the country. Artists and activists from various parts of the country have also been voicing their dissent. The poem below, by professor and activist Raheem Ponnad from northern Kerala's Malappuram, is one such outcry. Written originally in Malayalam, the poem talks about a probable situation in the country if all of us were forced to speak a single language, one so alien to the most of us. The poem by now has been translated into English, Hindi, Telugu.

    The Language Ban
    Raheem Ponnad

    Then one midnight
    They proscribed language.

    ‘From today you can use
    Only one language.
    You can exchange your language
    At the post-office.’

    People who woke up in shock
    Began to run helter-skelter.
    Silence filled the air.
    Mothers covered children’s mouths,
    And stuffed the mouths of the elders with bits of cloth.

    The music in the temple stopped,
    And the azaan in the mosque.
    The radio played only veena
    And the television moved to sign language.
    Instead of the newspaper
    The readers got eight blank sheets.
    All keyboards went still
    And the mobile screen displayed only codes.

    No one spoke in the queue at the post-office:
    They could exchange only two words per day!
    Some carried sacks full of words
    And there were children with bags and
    Dubbas crammed with words.

    Those who gave amma got ‘maa’;
    Those who gave achhan were given ‘baap.’
    Children who had queued up
    To exchange ‘chocolates’ and ‘games’
    Were sent back from the counter:
    Only Malayalam words could be exchanged.
    Because there were no substitutes,
    Bejar (embarrassment) and edanger (trouble)
    could not be exchanged either.
    The one who came to exchange kaththi (knife)
    Was driven off by the crowd and
    The one who had come to exchange ganja (opium)
    Was caught by the police.
    An old man collapsed from exhaustion
    Having stood in the queue for long.
    He begged for vellam (water);
    he got a bullet in his mouth.   

    On reaching home,
    I found my courtyard strewn with words,
    Dug out by my kin for exchange —
    Old, new, some without letters.
    I could not comprehend
    The words my father had pulled out of the pillow
    And I had never heard the words my mother
    Had kept hidden on the edges of her loincloth.
    Only when my wife pulled me into the kitchen
    Did I find out she was being cooked among so many words.
    Daughter’s bag was full of words for her homework
    Son’s box had playful words, their letters gone awry.

    How can I tell them only two words can be exchanged?
    I searched for long in the pile of words.
    Finally something heavy struck both my hands.
    I pulled them out with all my strength:
    Janadhipatyam (Democracy). Nanatvam (Diversity). 

    By the time I rushed to the post-office with them
    It was already growing dark
    The man at the counter looked at my hands
    And he stood up, startled;
    The words fell from my hands
    Some unknown men surrounded me;
    Boots echoed all around:
    ‘Traitor!’ ‘Kill him!’
    Even as I was losing consciousness
    I heard, in absolute terror,
    Those words given in exchange.

    (Translated from Malayalam by K Satchidanandan)

    भाषा पर पाबंदी

    (Translated into Hindi by A. R. Sindhu, Veena Gupta)

    భాష రద్దు
    రహీమ్ పొన్నాడ్

    ఒకానొక అర్ధరాత్రి అతను భాషపై నిషేధం విధించాడు
    ‘ఇవాళ్టి నుంచి అందరికీ ఒకటే భాష
    పాత భాషా పదాలు మీ దగ్గర ఉంటే
    పోస్టాఫీసులో మార్చుకోవచ్చు’
    అని గంభీర ప్రకటన వెలువడింది

    సగం నిద్రలో ఉలిక్కిపడి లేచిన మనుషులు
    అటూ ఇటూ పరుగెత్తడం మొదలెట్టారు
    ప్రతిచోటా నిశ్శబ్దమే
    తల్లులు బిడ్డల మూతులను అరచేతులతో మూసేశారు
    ముసలివాళ్ల ముఖాల మీద గుడ్డలు కప్పేశారు
    ఆలయాల్లో పాటలు ఆగిపోయాయి
    మసీదులో అజాన్ కూడ వినబడలేదు
    రేడియోలో వీణానాదం తప్ప మరేమీ లేదు
    టీవీ తెరమీద సైగల భాషలో వార్తలు వస్తున్నాయి
    పత్రికల పేరు మీద మార్కెట్లోకొచ్చినవి
    ఎనిమిది కాలాల తెల్ల కాగితాలు
    ప్రతి కీబోర్డూ మౌనం దాల్చింది
    మొబైల్ స్క్రీన్ల మీద బొమ్మలు మాత్రమే మిగిలాయి

    పోస్టాఫీసు ముందర నిశ్శబ్దంగా నిలబడిన పొడవాటి వరుస
    రోజుకు తలా రెండు పదాలు మార్చుకోవడానికి మాత్రమే అనుమతి
    కాని కొందరు బస్తాల నిండుగా శబ్దాలు పట్టుకొచ్చారు
    టిఫిన్ బాక్సుల్లో స్కూలు బ్యాగుల్లో మాటలు నింపుకొచ్చిన
    చిన్నారి పిల్లలు కూడ వరుసలో నిలబడ్డారు
    ‘అమ్మ’ అనే మాట ఇచ్చిన వారికి ‘మా’ అనే మాట దొరికింది
    ’నాన్న’ అనే మాటకు బదులు ‘బాప్’ అనే మాట
    చాకలెట్, గేమ్ అనే మాటలు మార్చుకోవాలనుకున్న
    పిల్లలను కౌంటర్ దగ్గరి నుంచి వెనక్కి పంపేశారు
    ఇక్కడ భాష మాత్రమే మార్చుకోవచ్చునన్నారు

    బదులు శబ్దాలు లేవనే కారణంతో
    అసంతృప్తి అనే మాటనూ
    శవవస్త్రం అనే మాటనూ వెనక్కి పంపేశారు

    చురకత్తిని మార్చుకుందామని వచ్చినవాళ్లను తరిమేశారు
    నల్లమందుకు బదులిమ్మంటే పోలీసులు పట్టుకున్నారు
    క్యూలో నిలబడీ నిలబడీ అలసిసొలసిన ముసలివాళ్లు
    మంచినీళ్లు అని అడిగితే
    తుపాకి తూటాతో వాళ్ల నోరు మూసేశారు

    ఇదంతా చూసి చూసి ఇంటికి తిరిగివస్తే
    వాకిట్లో మాటల కుప్ప పోగుపడి ఉంది
    కొత్తవీ పాతవీ లిపిలేనివీ
    మార్చుకుని తీసుకురావాల్సిన పదాలన్నీ
    కుప్పపోసి పెట్టారు ఇంట్లోవాళ్లు
    నాన్న తన తల దిండులోనుంచి బైటికి తీసిన
    శబ్దాలు నాకు అర్థమే కాలేదు
    అమ్మ తన చీరచెంగు ఒడిలో నింపిన
    పదాల్ని నేనెన్నడూ విననే లేదు
    వంటగదిలోంచి మా ఆవిడ లాక్కొచ్చినవి చూస్తే
    అన్ని మాటల మధ్యనే ఇన్నాళ్లూ ఆమె వంట సాగిందని తెలిసింది
    నా కూతురి సంచీలో హోమ్ వర్క్ పదాలు
    నా కొడుకు పెట్టెల్లో చెల్లా చెదురైన సరదా మాటలు
    అన్నిటికీ బదులుగా వారికి రెండే రెండు మాటలు
    దొరుకుతాయని ఎలా చెప్పను?

    ఆ మాటల మూటలో చాల వెతికాను
    ఎంతో కష్టపడ్డాక చిట్టచివరికి
    ఒకటొకటిగా చాల బరువైన శబ్దాలు రెండు నా చేతికందాయి
    బలమంతా ఉపయోగించి ఆ మాటలు బైటికి లాగాను
    ఒకటి ప్రజాస్వామ్యం
    మరొకటి బహుళత్వం

    గబగబా పరుగెత్తి పోస్టాఫీసుకు చేరేవేళకు
    మునిమాపు చీకటి వాలుతున్నది
    నా చేతిలో మాటలు చూసి
    కౌంటర్ దగ్గర కూచున్న ఉద్యోగులు
    ఉలిక్కిపడి లేచి నిలబడ్డారు
    నా చేతి నుంచి మాటలు జారిపడిపోయాయి
    ఎందరో పరుగెత్తుకొచ్చి చుట్టుముడుతున్నట్టు
    బూట్ల చప్పుడు వినబడింది
    స్పృహ కోల్పోతూ పడిపోతున్న నాకు
    రెండే మాటలు వినబడ్డాయి
    ’చంపి పారెయ్యండి’
    ’దేశద్రోహిని’

    (Translated into Telugu by N. Venugopal)

    ഭാഷാ നിരോധനം
    റഹീം പൊന്നാട്

    അങ്ങനെയിരിക്കെ
    ഒരു പാതിരാത്രിയിൽ
    അവർ ഭാഷ നിരോധിച്ചു.

    ഇനിമുതൽ ഒറ്റ ഭാഷ മാത്രമേ പാടുള്ളൂ
    തപാലാപ്പീസിൽക്കൊടുത്താൽ
    പഴയ ഭാഷ മാറിക്കിട്ടും.

    ഉറക്കമുണർന്ന ജനം പരക്കം പാഞ്ഞു.
    എങ്ങും മൗനം മാത്രം.
    അമ്മമാർ കുട്ടികളുടെ വായ പൊത്തിപ്പിടിച്ചു,
    പ്രായമായവരുടെ വായിൽ തുണി തിരുകിവച്ചു.

    അമ്പലത്തിലെ പാട്ടു നിന്നു,
    പള്ളിയിലെ ബാങ്കും.
    റേഡിയോയിൽ വീണവായന മാത്രം,
    ടെലിവിഷനിൽ ആംഗ്യ വായനയും.
    പത്രത്തിനു പകരം രാവിലെ
    എട്ടു ഷീറ്റ് വെള്ളക്കടലാസു കിട്ടി.
    കീബോർഡുകളെല്ലാം നിശ്ചലം,
    മൊബൈൽ സ്‌ക്രീനിൽ ചിഹ്നങ്ങൾ മാത്രം.

    തപാലാപ്പീസിലെ ക്യൂവിൽ ആരുമൊന്നും മിണ്ടിയില്ല.
    ഒരാൾക്ക് ഒരുദിനം രണ്ടു വാക്കുകൾ മാത്രമേ നൽകൂവത്രെ!
    ചിലർ ചാക്കുകണക്കിന് വാക്കുകൾ കൊണ്ടുവന്നിട്ടുണ്ട്.
    വാക്കുകൾ നിറച്ച ബാഗും ചോറ്റുപാത്രവുമായി
    കുട്ടികളുമുണ്ട്.
    അമ്മയെക്കൊടുത്തവർക്ക് ‘മാം’ കിട്ടി,
    അച്ഛനെക്കൊടുത്തവർക്ക് ‘ബാപും’
    ചോക്ലേറ്റും ഗെയിമും മാറ്റാൻ വരിനിന്ന കുട്ടികളെ
    കൗണ്ടറിൽ നിന്ന് മടക്കിയയച്ചു,
    മലയാളം മാത്രമേ മാറ്റി നൽകുകയുള്ളത്രെ!
    പകരം വാക്കുകളില്ലാത്തതിനാൽ
    ബേജാറും എടങ്ങേറും മാറ്റിക്കിട്ടിയില്ല.
    കത്തി മാറ്റാനെത്തിയവനെ ജനം ഓടിച്ചു വിട്ടു
    കഞ്ചാവ് മാറ്റാനെത്തിയവനെ പോലീസു പിടിച്ചു.
    വരിനിന്നു വാടിയ വൃദ്ധൻ തളർന്നുവീണു,
    ‘വെള്ളം’ ചോദിച്ച വായിലേക്ക് വെടിയുണ്ട പാഞ്ഞു.

    കാഴ്‌ചകളൊക്കെക്കണ്ടു വീട്ടിലെത്തിയപ്പോൾ
    മുറ്റത്ത് വാക്കുകളുടെ കൂമ്പാരം,
    മാറ്റിവാങ്ങാനായി വീട്ടുകാർ പുറത്തെടുത്തിട്ടതാണ്.
    പഴയതും പുതിയതും, ലിപികളില്ലാത്തതും.
    തലയണയ്ക്കുള്ളിൽ നിന്ന് ഉപ്പ വലിച്ചെടുത്ത വാക്കുകൾ
    എനിക്ക് മനസിലായതേയില്ല
    ഉമ്മയുടെ കോന്തല നിറയെ
    ഞാൻ കേട്ടിട്ടില്ലാത്ത വാക്കുകൾ.
    ഇത്രമേൽ വാക്കുകൾക്കിടയിലാണ് അവൾ
    വെന്തിരുന്നതെന്ന് അടുക്കളയിലേക്ക് ഭാര്യ
    പിടിച്ചുവലിച്ചപ്പോഴാണറിയുന്നത്!
    മകളുടെ ബാഗ് നിറയെ ഗൃഹപാഠം
    ചെയ്യാനുള്ള വാക്കുകൾ,
    മകന്റെ പെട്ടിയിൽ അക്ഷരങ്ങൾ സ്ഥാനം
    തെറ്റിയ കളിവാക്കുകൾ…

    രണ്ടെണ്ണമേ മാറ്റിക്കിട്ടൂവെന്ന് അവരോടെങ്ങനെ പറയും?
    വാക്കുകളുടെ കൂമ്പാരത്തിൽ ഞാനേറെ നേരം തെരഞ്ഞു.
    ഒടുക്കം ഓരോ കയ്യിലും ഭാരമുള്ളതെന്തോ തടഞ്ഞു,
    സർവശക്തിയുമെടുത്ത് ഞാനവയെ വലിച്ചു പുറത്തെടുത്തു;
    “ജനാധിപത്യം”, “നാനാത്വം”.

    ഓടിക്കിതച്ച് തപാലാപ്പീസിലെത്തുമ്പോൾ ഇരുട്ടിത്തുടങ്ങിയിരുന്നു.
    എന്റെ കൈകളിലേക്ക് ഒന്നേ നോക്കിയുള്ളൂ,
    കൗണ്ടറിലുള്ളയാൾ ഞെട്ടിയെണീറ്റു.
    എന്റെ കൈകളിൽ നിന്ന് വാക്കുകൾ നിലത്തുവീണു.
    ആരൊക്കെയോ ഓടിക്കൂടി
    ചുറ്റും ബൂട്ട്സിന്റെ ശബ്ദങ്ങൾ
    “കൊല്ലവനെ”, “രാജ്യദ്രോഹി”
    ബോധം മറഞ്ഞുപോകുന്നതിനിടയിലും
    പകരമായിക്കിട്ടിയ രണ്ടുവാക്കുകൾ
    ഭയത്തോടെ ഞാൻ കേട്ടു.

     

    ಭಾಷೆ ರದ್ದು

    ರಹೀಂ ಪೊನ್ನಾಡ್
     
    ಒಂದು ಮಧ್ಯರಾತ್ರಿ
    ಅವರು ಭಾಷೆ ನಿಷೇಧಿಸಿದರು
     
    ‘ಇಂದಿನಿಂದ ನೀವು
    ಒಂದು ಭಾಷೆಯನ್ನು ಮಾತ್ರ ಉಪಯೋಗಿಸಬಹುದು. 
    ನೀವು ನಿಮ್ಮ ಭಾಷೆಯನ್ನು
    ಪೋಸ್ಟ್ ಆಫೀಸ್ ನಲ್ಲಿ ವಿನಿಮಯ ಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳಬಹುದಾಗಿದೆ.’ 
     
    ಆಗತಾನೆ ನಿದ್ದೆಯಿಂದ ಎದ್ದ ಜನ 
    ಎದ್ದು ಬಿದ್ದು ಓಡಲು ಶುರು ಮಾಡಿದರು.
    ಗಾಳಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಮೌನ ಆವರಿಸಿತು.
    ಅಮ್ಮಂದಿರು ತಮ್ಮ ಕಂದಮ್ಮಗಳ ಬಾಯನ್ನು ಮುಚ್ಚಿದರು, 
    ಹಾಗೂ ದೊಡ್ಡವರು ತಮ್ಮ ತಮ್ಮ ಬಾಯಿಗಳಿಗೆ ಬಟ್ಟೆಯ ಚೂರನ್ನು ತುರುಕಿಕೊಂಡರು. 
     
    ದೇವಸ್ಥಾನದಲ್ಲಿ ಮಂತ್ರ ಪಠಣನೆ ನಿಂತಿತು, 
    ಮತ್ತು ಮಸೀದಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಆಜಾ಼ನ್ ಕೂಡ. 
    ರೇಡಿಯೋದಲ್ಲಿ ವೀಣೆಯ ನಾದ ಮಾತ್ರ ಕೇಳಬಹುದಿತ್ತು
    ಹಾಗೂ ಟಿೀವಿಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಸಂಙ್ಯಾ ಭಾಷೆಯ ಬಳಕೆ ಮಾತ್ರ
    ದಿನ ಪತ್ರಿಕೆಗಳ ಬದಲಾಗಿ
    ಓದುಗರಿಗೆ ಎಂಟು ಖಾಲಿ ಹಾಳೆಗಳು ಸಿಕ್ಕಿತು.
    ಎಲ್ಲಾ ಕಂಪ್ಯೂಟರ್ ಕೀಲಿಮಣೆಗಳು ಸ್ತಬ್ಧಗೊಂಡವು
    ಮತ್ತು ಮೊಬೈಲ್ ಫೋನಿನ ಪರದೆಗಳು ಬರೀ ಅಂಕಿಗಳಿಂದ ತುಂಬಿತ್ತು. 
     
    ಪೋಸ್ಟ್ ಆಫೀಸ್ ನಲ್ಲಿ ಸರದಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ನಿಂತ ಯಾರೂ ಕೂಡ ಮಾತನಾಡಲಿಲ್ಲ:
    ಒಂದು ದಿನಕ್ಕೆ ಎರಡು ಪದಗಳು ಮಾತ್ರ ವಿನಿಮಯ ಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಅವಕಾಶ!
    ಕೆಲವರು ಚೀಲದ ತುಂಬಾ ಪದಗಳನ್ನು ತುಂಬಿಕೊಂಡು ತಂದಿದ್ದರು
    ಇನ್ನೊಂದೆಡೆ ಮಕ್ಕಳ ಬ್ಯಾಗ್ ಹಾಗೂ ಟಿಫಿನ್ ಬಾಕ್ಸ್ ಗಳು 
    ವಿವಿಧ ಪದಗಳಿಂದ ತುಂಬಿ ಹೋಗಿದ್ದವು.
     
    ಯಾರು 'ಅಮ್ಮ' ಕೊಟ್ಟರೋ ಅವರಿಗೆ 'ಮಾ' ಸಿಕ್ಕಿತು;
    ಯಾರು 'ಅಚ್ಚನ್’ (ಅಪ್ಪ) ಕೊಟ್ಟರೋ ಅವರಿಗೆ 'ಬಾಪ್'.
    ಯಾವ ಮಕ್ಕಳು ‘ಚಾಕೊಲೇಟ್’ 
    ಹಾಗೂ ‘ಗೇಮ್’ ಗಳನ್ನು ಬದಲಾವಣೆ ಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳುಲು ಸರದಿಯಲ್ಲಿ
    ನಿಂತಿದ್ದರೊ ಅಂತವರನ್ನು ಅಲ್ಲಿಂದ ಹೊರಗಡೆ ಕಳಿಸಲಾಯಿತು:
    ಬರೀ ಮಲಯಾಳಂ ಪದಗಳನ್ನು ಮಾತ್ರ ವಿನಿಮಯ ಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳಬಹುದು.
    'ಬೇಜರ್’ (ಅವಮಾನ) ಮತ್ತು 'ಎಡಂಗ್ನಾರ್’ (ತೊಂದರೆ), 
    ಈ ಪದಗಳನ್ನು ವಿನಿಮಯ ಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವಹಾಗಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ
    ಏಕೆಂದರೆ ಈ ಪದಗಳಿಗೆ ಪಯಾ೯ಯವಿಲ್ಲ.
    ಯಾರು 'ಕತ್ತಿ'ಯನ್ನು ವಿನಿಮಯ ಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು
    ಬಂದಿದ್ದರೋ ಅವರೆಲ್ಲರನ್ನು ಅಲ್ಲಿಂದ ಓಡಿಸಿದರು
    ಹಾಗೂ 'ಗಾಂಜಾ' ಪದವನ್ನಿಟ್ಟುಕೊಂಡು ಬಂದವರನ್ನು ಪೊಲೀಸರಿಗೆ ಒಪ್ಪಿಸಿದರು.
    ಒಬ್ಬ ಹಿರಿಯ ಅಜ್ಜ ಸರದಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ನಿಂತು ಸುಸ್ತಾಗಿ ಅಲ್ಲೆ ಕುಸಿದು ಬಿದ್ದ.
    ‘ವೆಲ್ಲಂ’ (ನೀರು) ಬೇಡಿದ ಅವನಿಗೆ;
    ಬಾಯಿಗೆ ಗುಂಡು ಹಾರಿಸಲಾಯಿತು.
     
    ನಾನು ಮನೆಗೆ ಹೋದಾಗ, 
    ಒಳಗಡೆ ಸಾಕಷ್ಟು ಪದಗಳು ಚೆಲ್ಲಾಪಿಲ್ಲಿಯಾಗಿ ಬಿದ್ದಿದ್ದನ್ನು ನೋಡಿದೆ,
    ಮನೆಯವರೆಲ್ಲರೂ ಸೇರಿ ಅವುಗಳನ್ನು ಹೆಕ್ಕುವುದಕ್ಕೆ ಹೋದಾಗ –
    ನನಗೆ ಅರ್ಥವಾಗದಂತಹ‌ ಹಲವಾರು ಪದಗಳು ಕಂಡವು.
    ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಸಿಕ್ಕಿದ್ದು ಹೊಸದಾದ, ಹಳೆಯದಾದ, ಕೆಲವು ಅಕ್ಷರವಿಲ್ಲದ ಪದಗಳು.
    ನನ್ನ ತಂದೆ ತಲೆದಿಂಬಿನಿಂದ ಎಳೆದು ತೆಗೆದಂತ ಪದಗಳು
    ಹಾಗೂ ಅಮ್ಮ ತನ್ನ ಸೆರಗಿನಂಚಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಬಚ್ಚಿಟ್ಟ ಎಂದೂ ಕೇಳರಿಯದಂತಹ ಪದಗಳು.
    ನನ್ನ ಹೆಂಡತಿ ಅಡುಗೆ ‌ಮನೆಯಿಂದ ಎಳೆದು ತೆಗೆದಾಗಲೇ ನನಗೆ ಗೊತ್ತಾದದ್ದು ಆಕೆ ಸಾಕಷ್ಟು ಪದಗಳ ಜೊತೆಗೂಡಿ ಅಡುಗೆ ಮಾಡುತ್ತಿದ್ದಳೆಂದು.
    ಮಗಳ ಹೋಮ್ ವರ್ಕ್ ಗೆಂದು ಬ್ಯಾಗ್ ಪೂರ್ತಿ ತುಂಬಿ ಹೋದ ಪದಗಳು
    ಮಗನ ಊಟದ ಬಾಕ್ಸ್ ನಲ್ಲಿ ಇದ್ದ, ಅಕ್ಷರಗಳು ಅದಲಿ ಬದಲಿ ಆದ ಆಟಿಕೆಯ ಪದಗಳು.
     
    ನಾನು ಅವರಿಗೆಲ್ಲ ಹೇಗೆ ತಿಳಿಸಲಿ ಬರಿ ಎರಡು ಪದ ಮಾತ್ರ 
    ವಿನಿಮಯ ಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳಬಹುದೆಂದು?
    ಬಹಳ ಹೊತ್ತು ಹುಡುಕಿದೆ ಆ ಎಲ್ಲಾ ಪದಗಳ ರಾಶಿಯಲ್ಲಿ.
    ಕೊನೆಗೆ ಸಿಕ್ಕಿತು ನನ್ನ ಕೈಗಳಿಗೆ ಭಾರವಾದಂತಹ ಎರಡು ‌ಪದಗಳು.
    ನನ್ನ ಶಕ್ತಿಯೆಲ್ಲ ಸೇರಿಸಿ ಆ ಎರಡು ಪದಗಳನ್ನು ಎಳೆದು ತೆಗೆಯಲು ಯಶಸ್ವಿಯಾದೆ:
    ‘ಜನಾಧಿಪಥ್ಯಂ’ (ಜನಾಧಿಕಾರ). ‘ನಾನಾತ್ವಂ’ (ವೈವಿಧ್ಯತೆ).
     
    ಮನೆಯವರೆಲ್ಲರ ಜೊತೆಗೆ ಪೋಸ್ಟ್ ಆಫೀಸಿಗೆ ತಲುಪುವ
    ಹೊತ್ತಿಗೆ ಕತ್ತಲೆಯಾಗುತ್ತ ಬರುತ್ತಿತ್ತು.
    ಪೋಸ್ಟ್ ಆಫೀಸಿನ ಕೌಂಟರ್ ನಲ್ಲಿ ಕುಳಿತಿದ್ದ ನೌಕರ ನನ್ನ ಕೈ ನೋಡಿ
    ಗಾಬರಿಯಿಂದ ಅವಕ್ಕಾಗಿ ಎದ್ದು ನಿಂತ.
    ಆ ಪದಗಳು ನನ್ನ ಕೈ ಜಾರಿ ಕೆಳಗೆ ಬಿದ್ದಿತು.
    ಕೆಲವು ಅಪರಿಚಿತ ವ್ಯಕ್ತಿಗಳು ನನ್ನನ್ನು ಸುತ್ತುವರೆದರು.
    ಬೂಟಿನ ಸದ್ದು ರಿಂಗಣಿಸಿತು.
    ನಾನು ಪ್ರಜ್ಞೆ ಕಳೆದುಕೊಳ್ಳುವ ಹೊತ್ತಿಗೆ ಉಗ್ರ ಧ್ವನಿಗಳು ಕೇಳಿಬಂದವು:
    'ದೇಶದ್ರೋಹಿ'. 'ಕೊಂದು ಹಾಕಿ'.

    (Translated into Kannada by Aniruddha Nagaraj)


    Raheem Ponnad is assistant professor at Government Arts & Science College, Malappuram, Kerala.
    K Satchidanandan is a widely translated Malayalam poet and a bilingual writer, translator and editor. His most recent works available in English are While I Write and Misplaced Objects and Other Poems.For more on the author and his work see satchidanandan.com.
    A.R. Sindhu is Secretary, Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) and is based in New Delhi.
    N Venugopal is journalist and editor of Veekshanam, Telugu Monthly Journal of Political Economy and Society. He is based in Hyderabad.
    Aniruddha Nagraj is pursuing a PhD in Comparative Literature and Translation Studies at Ambedkar University, Delhi.

    This post was updated on 22 October 2019.

    Donate to the Indian Writers' Forum, a public trust that belongs to all of us.