Recipient of the Dr CV Vatsaladevi Memorial Award, conferred by the Karnataka Lekhakiyara Sangha, Manjula Hulikunte is one of the prominent contemporary dalit voices in Kannada literature and poetry. Born in Hulikunte, located in the Doddaballapur taluk of Bengaluru Rural district, Manjula studied journalism and has edited a book about the rights of youths titled Heading koDi.
Featured in Bol’s poetry of #DalitResistance, Manjula’s poem “Love in the Time of Nationalism” is a powerful refusal to surrender arts and literature in the service of a regime that propagates a degenerate form of nationalism that claims lives, spreads grief and disharmony. To sing of love, in such times, becomes a radical act.
Let my words not be at the service of
a nationalism that is valued more than
the blood of a poor man
a nationalism that feeds itself
by humiliating humans.
I dream and speak only of
a country whose heart is filled with love.