I do not ask
For the sun and moon from your sky
Your farm,your land,
Your high houses or mansions
I do not ask for gods or rituals,
Castes or sects
Or even for your mother, sisters, daughters.
I ask for
My rights as a man.
Each breath from my lungs
Sets off a violent trembling
In your texts and traditions
Your hells and heavens
Your arms leapt together
To bring to ruin our dwelling places.
You’ll beat me, break me,
Loot and burn my habitation
But my friends!
How will you tear down my words
Planted like a sun in the east?
My rights: contagious caste riots
Festering city by city, village by village,
Man by man
For that’s what my rights are-
Sealed off, outcast, road-blocked, exiled.
I want my rights, give me my rights.
Will you deny this incendiary state of things?
I’ll uproot the scriptures like railway tracks.
Burn like a city bus your lawless laws
My rights are rising like the sun.
Will you deny this sunrise?
Translated by Priya Adarkar