Known among people and friends as JaVi, JV Pawar was one of the founding members of Dalit Panthers in Maharashtra. With his first published poetry collection नाकेबंदी in 1976, translated as Blockade in 1992, Pawar brought to the dalit movement a powerful literary poetic sensibility with his contemporaries such as Daya Pawar, Namdeo Dhasal, Arjun Dangle, Avinash Mahatekar and Raja Dhale.
His poetry emerged from the everyday life of those on the margins, assertion of dignity, a sharp criticism of discrimination and the hopes that reside in resistance.
Featured this week in Bol is Pawar’s Stree (Woman), translated by VD Chandanshive [with minor edits], read by theatre performer and director Sudhanva Deshpande. Pawar’s Stree signals the frustration and angst at the intersection of caste and gender oppression, and a firm assertion of the power to overturn it.
The million volcanoes in your blood
wished to set ablaze
the age-long manifestoes.