Three poems
Translated from Punjabi by Rajinder Azad

You Think Wrongly

This is what you think:
That poets
Cannot be sold to rulers
Cannot be communal fascists
Don't have political importance

This is what you think:
That guns
Will fire salutes on your sister's wedding
Are not terrorists present in security forces?
Give you opportunities to express your opinion

This is what you think:
That religion
Is impartial to those who are discriminated
Is less injurious than intoxicants
Is more important than cattle food 

This is what you think:
That political power
Will provide with you a lactating buffalo
Is an organization that recruits meter readers
Is a pump to inflate a bureaucrat's belly

This is what you think:
That the Mandal Commission report
Is a lizard stuck in the throat of the political snake
Is the common people's attack on the privileges of the rulers
Is a vigorously moving worm on the chest of elite class

This is what you think:
That Gandhi
Is such an actor who has not played the role of a scoundrel
Is never political when it comes to Dalit rights
Understands the scientific and nutritional facts of goat's milk 

This is what you think:
That Hitler
Has entered into Saddam Hussien
Won't be seen in the shell of Indian democracy
Will desert the obsession of personal property and become a shepherd

This is what you think:
That horse cart processions
Don't rape the brains of the Dravidian people
Don't abort coordination and harmony
Is not secret tool to use your vote,
You think this way; 

Whoever thinks this way
Thinks wrongly 


A lowly caste
And expecting land ownership?

We have done it on farms
In sugarcane fields
In sorghum fields 

Alright, alright
Your kids play in our courtyards 

So, what?

We will do DNA tests

For what?

To divide sugarcane, sorghum, and farmland

Oh no
This land is our mother
Why don't you divide walls? 

Farms, what happened now?
A lowly caste and expecting land ownership?



Oye, bring four glasses
Better still,
some chips and onions 

Yes, sir, here I come 

Take some drinks
You also take one
You must be tired
Yes, sir 

Go bring some chicken
It should have been cooked 

Yes, sir

Hey, four people and five bowls?

Sir, I will eat too 

Eat afterwards,
Won't you get leftovers
after serving us drinks? 

Let me tell you about leftovers
I'll bring a bigger bowl
And I will mix five bowls in it
Let's eat in one bowl, all of us together 


Do I need to explain?

I work, I eat
Not your father who doesn't do anything

These poems are from Days Will Come Back, a collection of poems written by Kamal Dev Pall and published by Panther's Paw Publication. Republished here with permission from the publisher.

Kamal Dev Pall has published two books of poetry and one book of Ghazals. His poems have been published in numerous magazines and newspapers. He currently resides in the United States of America.
Rajinder Azad is working towards translating Punjabi dalit literature to English. Through radio and television, he brought awareness about caste discrimination in India and Australia. He currently resides in California.