Baasi Roti/ Stale Bread (Dalit Poetry) Poem by Bijay Kant Dubey

Baasi Roti/ Stale Bread (Dalit Poetry)

Baasi Roti/ Stale Bread
(Dalit Poetry)


Dalit Matters, Dalit Things (A Peep Into The Dalit World) I shall call them tagged poetry. Again, I am taking Baasi Roti as clubbed poems. What it has been included in and what it has been left, I cannot say it. My collected poems relating to Sabrimala are just like Kanyadaan.
While discussing Baasi Roti, I chose to dwell upon the stray poems as for to analyze her character, but later on quit the idea to some extent rather than delineating biographically. Again I reverted back to the autobiographical.
I turned very sad when I saw her after the drunken fall and death of her husband, none came to help her and she a good lady turned into a street woman. I also came to mark the tribal woman, how the bazaar used her and threw her out when she fell it sick and ailing. One day I saw her into the highlands sitting on a rock and contemplating.

-----Bijay Kant Dubey

Taking Baasi Things Grew I Up

Eating baasi roti,
Grew I up
Taking stale bread,
Refined wheat flour made
Bread pieces not,
But husked,
Mixed with other cereals
Taking baasi roti
Grew I up.

Juthan, Left-Overs Of Food

Juthan khake hi bada huyi hun,
Juthi thaali maanjana
Aur jutha khaana,
Yahi thee meri jindagi,
Yahi meri kahani.

I have grown taking left-overs of food,
To wash the dishes and plates
And to eat the left-overs,
This was my life,
This my story.

The Story of my Life

You do not know the story,
The story of my life,
How was I born
Into a poor family,
How unfed and unclothed lived I,
Played I with dust and clay?

So many brothers and sisters were we,
I a small girl child used to look after
My younger brother
In the small hutment,
The bivouac of the tent
Palm leaf.

Without the breakfast,
I used to live
Sometimes used to get
Baasi roti, sometimes juthan,
Sometimes on rice puffs
If available.

While the parents used to be
Away to working homes and fields
And it used to take time in returning,
One time they use to cook,
That too boiled rice and spinach.

A poor girl I,
I have nothing to tell you
How I grew up in poverty and underdevelopment,
Scarcity of food and resources,
In dirt and squalor,
Hunger and without some legacy.

I poor girl
I know it what poverty is,
What squalor is,
What underdevelopment and un-culture,
What vice and evil,
How they drank it and quarrelled,
How in bad blood!

Slept I on the floor on a date-leaf mat
And that too was not sometimes
With a straw bed
Or on the jute knapsack sheet,
Read and learnt I it not,
Remained I uneducated,
The same working class girl
Who will be married off early
And the husband will quarrel, beat and divorce her.

The Story of my Life---II

The story of my life has not ended it,
There is more to hear from,
There is more to learn and see,
You just go on observing and observing,
Reading, reading how our lives are,
How we are in reality,
How our things,
We are the poor people,
The poor people,
We have nothing,
Nothing to pride on!

Our people, our society and our men,
Got doomed for drinking
Without any food at home
Or stored,
They keep drinking,
Keeping bad company,
Smoking, gambling and doing menial works.

How do I work for baasi roti,
How do I for juthan
Into the other man homes,
Into the fields,
But do not,
Do not get proper wages,
I a wage-earner,
I a labourer,
I a foster mother!

Just for the stomach,
The stomach,
Just for up keeping,
Up keeping and upbringing
Myself and my family,
I living under the bivouac,
Under the tent,
Under the mud house
Without the oil lamp burning
To light me.

What It In My Autobiography?

My biography
I shall not write
Nor do I know it
The three R's,
A Dalit girl
I was born as a poor girl
To live poorly.

My life started it
With struggle and suffering,
Pain and pine,
Trouble and tribulation
As I was in a poor family
With nothing.

I had no house,
Even had was a hut,
A small dingy hut,
Mud and bamboo built,
Palm leaf thatched,
Straw-thatched partly.

To rise by sunrise
And to sleep by moonrise
Was our daily life
Exhausted with daylong labour
And my life spent in
Looking after my brothers and sisters.

My life spent in
Working in other man homes,
Working in fields
As a day-labourer,
A construction-worker,
A wage-earner
Whichever came it the way.

A ragpicker, a beggar,
A woman with a poor destiny,
A poor woman am I,
Am I living my days
Licking tears,
Teardrops falling,
A ragged woman, woman I.

Baasi roti,
Taking stale and left-overs grew I,
Grew I up
And sometimes this, this too was not
In my lot,
This my life and destiny!

Baasi Roti, I Have To Eat

Baasi roti,
Stale bread,
This too is not in my lot
As for who will at it,
I or my children?

Leave you the talk of hot breakfast
Or fast food,
I have but stale boiled rice
To take.

Our Rural Scape

The children of poverty, malnutrition, underdevelopment,
The tales of
Hunger, scarcity, shortage,
Lack of resources,
Food problem, water problem, house problem,
Where to live, where to sleep,
What to eat,
How to put it before
And present it?

The rural space agrarian and agricultural,
People living in the shanty,
Hutments and mud houses,
Under straw and bamboo-thatched roofs
Leaking badly during the rains,
The rags to sleep on the date-leaf mats
Spread over the floor
Without light, just the oil lamp to show it light
Sometimes when burnt through the embers of the ashes
Of the hearth extinguishing.

No talk of education and morning time breakfast,
The stale food is enough and that too if it remains,
The crows too in competition with the hungry children
Crying for food to be sufficed and playing with,
But crows slyly looking for a break to lift
From the bowl of the children and it trying to divert
The wily creatures whisking away,
Go to the river, take a bath and worship you at midday
To the mid day meal in the afternoon.

Just the rice gruel and a fistful of boiled rice or stale rice
The morning time breakfast with a chilly and a pinch of salt,
The bamboo cot woven with the jute rope,
Paddy straw bed as for warm up during the chill winter,
No bathrooms, no toilets, live you taking the name of God,
Nothing to talk of science and development,
Inaction, lethargy, superstition, witchcraft,
Quarrel, brawl, altercation, litigation, their things.

Dalit Photography

In this canvas
I want to snap the photos,
The photos of
Dalit homes,
Dalit people,
Dalit poverty and hunger,
Scarcity and shortage of resources
Zooming in, zooming out closely
Seen from near,
Taken from far.

How are their houses
Which but Indian models,
Clay and straw and bamboo sticks made
Structures and housings,
How their poverty, living below the line
Which but Indian poverty,
If you have not, hear you the tales
Of Indian poverty and hunger?

Dalit houses hutment areas, shanty areas,
Poor and dirty areas
Without amenities and resources
Living below the poverty line
Under scarcity of food and livelihood,
Nothing to eat, nothing o drink as clean water,
Sleep they under the moonlight,
Arise and awake they by the sunrise
Or the bird chirrup.

But Dalit photography is a photography
Of Dalit people and Dalit homes,
Dalit men and women and children,
Poor people, poverty's children,
Hunger's children,
The dens of illiteracy and ignorance
Where light is not,
The dens of drunkenness and other evils.

Dalit homes where you can see hunger,
Where you can poverty, malnutrition,
Death, disease and hunger,
Dalit homes where you can scarcity,
Shortage of food and materials,
Where you can mark
How the people go half-fed, half-clothed
And now they can wear it too,
In the past it was almost difficult to live.

The poor country boys and girls crying,
Crying for stale foot at daybreak,
Crows cawing cleverly,
Marking the crumbs of bread
Into the aluminium bowl of the child
Taking molasses and home-made bread
But in the past we had just the earthen utensils,
Women busy with their household works
Taking out the hens, ducks, goats and sheep,
Cleaning the sheds attached to,
Going to bring water.

The change is in it when plastic sheets were not,
Now they can cover up the roofs from leaking,
With the small-small palm leaf shaded or straw-thatched
Under the canopy of the cottages,
They used to pass on their days
Taking palm juice, stale boiled rice,
Collecting local spinach varieties,
Going for fishing into the water bodies
Or marshy and muddy plots.

Small-small daughters married at a younger age,
Small-small boys talking of marriage and wine,
People working as housemaids, servants,
Cleaners, fosters, cowboys,
The hearth burns it almost for once
And the day-time meal is cooked
By putting in the haystacks, dry eaves
Into the earthen oven smoking,
Troubling the eyes and you go on puffing
To blow fire extinguishing often
For the dry sticks to be put into to support
The dry leaves burning quickly and extinguishing.

To clean muddy floors with a muddy water and cow dung paste
Every morning is really a difficult job
To clean the dung of the cattle
And to live with them side by side
In an attached shed in the vicinity of
Or proximity sometimes smelling foul,
What to say about such a life and living
Which is but our India rural system
And our houses had been as such.

Baasi Roti, Stale Bread (Dalit Lit.)

Baasi roti,
Eating it
Grew she up
In a hut,
The small mud house
Living with the cattle,
Ducks, hens, goats, sheep
And cows
And unaware of
What it to befall,
What lies it awaiting
And even baasi roti is not
In her lot.

Juthan, Left-Overs Of Food

The left-overs, scraps of food
To be thrown to the garbage
Or to be drained out or dumped elsewhere,
This too is not in her destiny
Of the poor woman,
For her work what does she get it,
Not even the stomachful food
To quench the fire of the belly,
A poor woman born with a very poor lot
Unable to eat, drink and dress,
What more to say it,
To wash the plates, collect the juthan
Her life and to live upon the left-overs
Her poor destiny, so distraught and dishevelled?

Her Life

Taking to baasi things
She grows up
Taking to left-overs
Of the plates and dishes,
What we throw away,
She will,
A Dalit kanya she.

She is but a poor girl,
A hutment dweller,
She knows how to drink
Tears as she has been
Born in a poor family,
She knows as for
How to live on juthan.

A mud house daughter
She knows
How to live under scarcity and shortage,
She knows how to live a life
So fraught with misery,
Pain and sorrow,
But still she keeps smiling.

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