Dalit Photography Poem by Bijay Kant Dubey

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

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