Sukirtharani grew up in one of the ten dalit families of a village called Lalapet in the Vellore district of Tamil Nadu. Her grandfather played the parai and her father worked as a labourer. As a child, she wasn’t very comfortable with her identity but she turned all her thoughts and questions into poetry.
Today, she is a fierce and fearless dalit feminist poet. The female body in her poems map her dalit identity. “A feminine body is disrespected, but a dalit feminine body is almost hated.” she said in an interview with The Wire. This intersectionality of caste and gender plays an integral role in her writing.
This week for Bol, Sukirtharani reads her poem, “Infant Language”, translated into English by Lakshmi Holmström.
I need a language
still afloat in the womb
which no one has spoken so far,
which is not conveyed through signs and gestures.