tamarind leaves
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Elegy for Bundles of Hunger by Jaydrath Suna, translated by Pitambar Naik

Originally written in Odia by Jaydrath Suna

Jump to Odia version

Oh, maidens, you can’t walk your way in a dream

oh, young men, you can’t live only on hope; come, let’s

go to collect the mahua flowers, let’s go to pluck the leaves

this is our bolted, darkened filthy fortune.

There you look, god took the sacred book and entitled

a hundred acres of land to someone’s fortune but didn’t

arrange a slate for us nor did he show us the way of light.

Let’s go to the mountain cleavage to eat summer berries

to collect kendu, and to pluck tamarind; searching every

patch of land set apart from the forest, bundling hunger

in the sari drape, let’s save to bring it with us.

Come, let’s go fishing with a cane pole, we could collect

hunger for some more days; let’s go to get down the palm beer

probably, we could fetch thirst for some more days.

Don’t worry, oh, young men and young women,

mothers and fathers, they could call us uncivilized

after all, we’re wild from the genesis

come, let’s sing the primitive songs, let’s worship the

mountain, carrying our deities let’s dance without a pause.

ଅଣ୍ଟିଏ ଭୋକର ଗୀତ
ଜୟଦ୍ରଥ ସୁନା

ସ୍ପପ୍ନର ପଥରେ ଚାଲି ହୁଏନିରେ ବୁଇମାନେ ,

ଆଶାର ଦିଶାରେ ବଞ୍ଚି ହୁଏନିରେ ନୁନାମାନେ ଆସ,

ମହୁଲ ବେଟିଯିବା, ପତର ତୋଳିଯିବା

ଇଏ ଆମର ଅନ୍ଧାର ଅର୍ଗଳିର ଅପନ୍ତରା ଭାଗ୍ୟ ।

ହେଇ ଦେଖ, ଈଶ୍ବର ଖଞ୍ଜିଲେ ତାଙ୍କ ହାତରେ ପୋଥି

କାହା ଭାଗ୍ୟରେ ଲେଖିଲେ ଶହ ଶହ ଏକର ଜମି

ଖଞ୍ଜିଲେ ନାହିଁ ଆମ ହାତରେ ସିଲଟ

ଦେଖାଇଲେନି ଆଲୋକର ବାଟ ।

ଆସ, ଡଙ୍ଗର କୋନଝୋଳାକୁ ଚାହାଁର ଖାଇଯିବା

କେନ୍ଦୁ ବେଟିଯିବା ତେନ୍ତୁଳି ତୋଳିବା

ସଲପ ସଲପ ପତ୍ରା ପତ୍ରା ଖୋଜି ଶାଢୀର ଅଣ୍ଟିରେ

ଅଣ୍ଟିଏ ଭୋକ ସଂଚିକି ଆଣିବା ।

ଆସ ଗରିଲାଟ ଧରି ମାଛ ଲଗାଇଯିବା ହୁଏତ କିଛି

ଦିନର ଭୋକ ମିଳିପାରେ ଆସ, ସଲପ ଉତରେଇ ଯିବା

ହୁଏତ କିଛି ଦିନର ଶୋଷ ମିଳିପାରେ ।

ଧନ୍ଦି ହୁଅନିରେ ନୁନାନନୀମାନେ ଆୟାମାନେ,ଆବାମାନେ

ଅସଭ୍ୟ ବୋଲି କହିପାରନ୍ତି ସେମାନେ ଆମେତ

ଜନ୍ମରୁ ଆଦିମ ଆସ, ଆଦିମ ଗୀତ ଗାଇବା

ଆମ ଡଙ୍ଗରକୁ ପୂଜି, ଦେବତାକୁ ଫାନ୍ଦି ନିର୍ଧୁମ ନାଚିବା ।


Pitambar Naik is an advertising copywriter for a living. When he’s not creating ideas for brands, he writes poetry. His work appears or is forthcoming in The McNeese Review, The Notre Dame Review, Packingtown Review, Ghost City Review, Rise Up Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, The Indian Quarterly and elsewhere. He’s the author of the poetry collection The Anatomy of Solitude (Hawakal). He grew up in Odisha and lives in Bangalore, India.

Jaydrath Suna started writing in 1997. He has two collections of poetry in Odia—Shosha and Niandhara. He has been conferred with the Kendra Sahitya Akadenmi Yuva Puraskar in 2018, Kalahandi Yuva Puraskar and many more. He has two master's degrees and a degree in teaching. He teaches at Pragati College, Bhawanipatna. He grew up in Kalahandi, Odisha in India.

Translator's note

The crux of the poem is around the culture and lifestyle of the Dalits and the Tribals of the Kalahandi district of Odisha in India. Basically, the poet mirrors the day-to-day struggle and plight of these people and how they earn their livelihood. This poem also depicts the age-old deprivation and inequity they have faced down the centuries under the caste hierarchy, living far away from the mainstream. Since every issue of Carmina runs voices from diverse cultures and backgrounds from across the globe, this piece certainly enriches the upcoming issue in a distinct way.