Sometimes the most ordinary things lead to the most searing realisations. Malayalam dalit poet S Joseph’s poetry does just that. Recipient of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award in 2012, S Joseph doesn’t need to resort to jargons to express himself. The simplicity and the everyday ordinariness of his poetry lay bare the exclusion and othering marginalised communities face so often. It raises important socio-cultural questions about one’s identity and community. It also challenges brahmanical poetic traditions and reclaims language.
This week on Bol, as we continue celebrating the Dalit History Month, we present Joseph’s poem, ‘My Sister’s Bible’, translated into English by poet K Satchidanandan.
This is what my sister’s Bible has:
a ration-book come loose,
a loan application form,
a card from the cut-throat money-lender,