Organic Dalit leader by chandramohan s
|Ayyankali,one of Kerala's first dalit leaders was instrumental in the
social revolution of the later half of the nineteenth century along with
Sreenarayana Guru and Sahodaran Ayyapan.He stands apart from other
social reformers of his era since he did not have any forms of social or
cultural capital like education or financial muscle.History has been
unkind to him in the fact that his role as the first peasant organizer
of Kerala is skillfully buried by the left grand narratives and his
glory is being slowly unveiled only from the global demise of Marxism
and communist regimes the world over.His brave attempts to get access to
education for the people of his race,facing odds of all kinds and his
dream of producing educated graduates from the lower social rungs of the
society were commendable even for a modern society like us.Even today a
thorough biography of Ayyankali does not exists in Malayalam or
English.Probably this poem could be the very first one in English.|
Ayyankali(1863–1941) -Organic Dalit leader
In the times when a handful of rice can engulf a village
When famines were more consistent than the monsoons
Unlettered in the hymns of revolution
decades before the crimson feathered crane from
St.Petersburg announced its renaming as Leningrad
and flapped wings to unsettle the straight line of peasants
chained to the fields.
He lead his race of peasants off the fields
To grow weeds in landlord’s granaries .
Let our children into schools
It wasn’t the pounding of the gavel
From “Brown Versus Board of education”
That roused him to clutch Panchami’s hand
Into a school
The first ever from his race!
That flew from Leningrad catching the
strong wind currents of Glasnost and Perestroika
to announce its rechristening back to St.Petersburg
perched on his statue.
The victor over fate!