Remembering Gauri

Three years after she was assassinated for standing up for what she believed in, Kavitha Lankesh remembers what Gauri stood for.

She was obsessed about bridges.
The islanders did not like it
They broke them down daily
And she rebuilt them everyday
with her bony hands.
The bent back was as old as the bridge

She was forever drinking, smoking,
questioning, planting saplings
of wild flowers in the gun barrels
She was the voice, eyes
And arms of the tired souls.
And she thrust her chest to catch
the flying stones,
singing songs of the struggle
loud and clear.

Someone was swearing
the other day
She is not a nice woman, sir
She burnt her wings
And spread the ashes
For the faltering steps to walk on.
Yes sir,
She was not a nice woman.

The poem originally in Kannada by Pravara Kottur; translated to English by Pratibha Nandakumar.

First published in Sabrang India.