Decolonization4 mins 124 4 mins 124
Homemade women crooked language indigenous fabrics colonised histories decayed skin stained foreheads forgotten lives. sentences that don't begin with capitalised letters- twisted etymology cross-braided into hymns for the weather sung from within lightless mud houses- estranged semantics dissolved into dialects of sorrow songs of homegrown sounds and syllables native to the palate of the mouth incomprehensible colloquial conversations of truth a consistent coughing- the settling of English euphemisms into naked lives- the bland language of the birds consumed with dried roti and rough namak and symphonies of native lives strung together with hand-woven words moth-eaten cantos tattered poetry syntactic courtesies imported language and foreign flavour disrespected on native tongues enslaved to hand-stitch garments of grace faces whitened identities forfeited lands expropriated timbre tamed mothers of the soil maimed wombs seeded and children with numerical epithets for names for the names of the natives are letters incorrectly placed uncomfortable unaccented raw sounds so blatantly laid with misplaced punctuation and broken handwritten letters foreordained illiteracy unknown men from across the seas the monetised lives of the adivasis the academic certificates that remind;
‘caste’: ST, SC, OBC(NC), Persons with a Disability, Kashmiri Migrants, People, Humans, Heirs of the Land, The Righteous- ingrained into education are the footsteps of the rulers the thieves the bandits the colons who wore modernised clothing woven from fibres stolen from lands swidden the colours on the bodies of the first inhabitants and the ancestral women the ancient women; clothes bangles and wrinkles like the folds on fields cultivated sown with seeds and stones the forest dwellers the mountain people and the children of the land the dalits the ‘untouchables’ who touch sense embrace pray and parent the womb of the earth who dissolve into the reddish-gray soil of subtropical India these are the mothers and the fathers the newborn and the aged who are recognised by a word that belongs to a dialect that never accepted them-
‘adivāsi’, Sanskrit; the dictionary: /ˌɑːdɪˈvɑːsi/ a member of any of the aboriginal tribal people living in India before the arrival of the Aryans in the second millennium BC.
‘dalit’, Sanskrit; the dictionary: /‘dʌlɪt/ (in the traditional Indian caste system) a member of the lowest caste.
‘harijan’, Sanskrit; the dictionary: /ˈhʌrɪdʒ(ə)n,ˈharɪdʒan/ a member of a hereditary Hindu group of the lowest social and ritual status.
‘harijan’: a word of Gandhi a word used to shield the ear from the unpleasantness of naked truth a word rejected by Ambedkar a word used to condone a word used to console a thin cotton rag to soak the blood that leaks from the wounds of a quarter of India that leaks from between the creases and crevices of lineage and autonomy justice and democracy; the flow of the river of history diverted yet to be restored a past stolen a story silenced hands chained and women raped and reparations paid through words and numbers typed on premium paper made into a 'constitution': literary fiction for the privileged-
Art. 16(1), Art. 16(2), Art. 352, Art. 366, Art. 29, Art. 46, Art. 350, Art. 244, Art. 275, Art. 164, Art. 330, Art. 337, Art. 334, Art. 243, Art. 371- we hide our crimes beneath arabic digits we repent for our sins our atrocities our inhumanity in numerical figures within the coarse mathematics and barbaric mechanics of legal language which will never wipe away the dried blood on our hands the vulnerability of those who were born of the earth- revolts rebellion revolution and repression- we are the assassins the murderers the hounds and the scoundrels and we are the victims the refugees the sufferers and the corpses-
I hope this discomforts you I hope you swallow your tongue I hope you uproot your entrails I hope you haul your heart to your lips and speak as the sounds roll off your mouth decolonise your body embrace the simple truths inscribed into the tales of your descent that your mother speaks about on lonely Sunday mornings
the smoke-filled rooms of fascism and falsehood first-world stories printed on newspapers bundled for raddi the entwined lives of the locals and the strangers: leave these behind and read drown yourself in the water that you were taught to fear seek your history feel the symbology on the walls within caves the lines on your face and the colour of your skin and the texture of your hair and the structure of your bones and the culture the heritage that is yours and only yours to claim the land that is yours and only yours to name.