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30 Jun 2023 · 2 min read

Janeu-less writer / Poem by Musafir Baitha

Mister writer is a Brahmin
and has turned seventy two
not his fault to be born
in a Brahmin clan
he says so himself, we do too
reaching this grand age
the writer has initiated
a massive programme to
wash away his Brahmin-ness
to wipe it clean
by breaking his janeu

despite his self-proclamations
or as per the worlds’ claims
in fact, because the world says so
people still accord him respect
reserved for a Brahmin
even in this de-casting that unfolds
what’s his role?
to who all,
where all
should he keep swearing by
this breaking of his janeu?

all exclusive savarna panels
still extend him ceremonious invitations
and his janeu-breaking,
de-casting trick
has been deliberately ignored
by his friends and foes alike
who continue to revere him
at his savarna pedestal
even if he wants to escape all this
then how can he
or why should he?
given the benefits
of this special treatment
it is easier to break that janeu
because it only breaks on the surface
even as it stays intact under
seven layers of clothing

that this outward breaking
has some visible effect
is not necessary

to have that effect
a lot more than this thread
needs to be broken

the twenty two years Dasrath Manjhi took
is the kind of persistence one needs

janeu is brahminism
the claim to be a different being
to be born of the same mother
and yet imagine oneself to be differently born
it is a reflection of the hubris
of some false exalted origin.
It requires persistence
whether it comes from the heart
or against one’s wishes

I asked the writer:
good you broke it
but apart from this janeu
what else have you broken
in the thread that binds your caste?
The writer seems at a loss for words.
~~~~~~~

[English translation of Musafir Baitha’s Hindi poem ‘Janeu-tod lekhak’; translated by Gaurav Somwanshi and Akshay Pathak, published on ’The Shared Mirror’ blog, on Friday, September 25th, 2015]

Language: English
Tag: Poem
1 Like · 311 Views
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