Meena Kandasamy: Reverence :: Nuisance + Becoming a Brahmin


Meena Kandasamy:

 Reverence :: Nuisance


On walls of reception counters
and staircases of offices,  hospitals,  firms
and other  ‘secular’  institutions –
pictures of Hindu Gods are painted…
so that casual people walking in  (or up or down)
fear to spit on the adorned walls.

But still looking around or climbing:
you can always find the work done
an irregular red border underlining the walls
owing so much to betel juice and spit.

And on cheap roadside compound walls
that don’t bear  ‘Stick No Bills’  messages or
cinema and political posters — the Gods once again
are advertised.   And captioned with legends that read
‘Do Not Urinate’.   And yet,  the Gods are covered with
layers of smelly urine – they don’t retaliate.

Tolerance is a very holy concept.

Or like someone said,
the Caste Gods deserve
the treatment they get.



Becoming a Brahmin


Algorithm for converting a Shudra* into a Brahmin**:


Step 1:   Take a beautiful Shudra girl.
Step 2:   Make her marry a Brahmin.
Step 3:   Let her give birth to his female child.
Step 4:   Let this child marry a Brahmin.
Step 5:   Repeat steps 3-4 six times.
Step 6:   Display the end product. It is a Brahmin.


Algorithm advocated by Father of the Nation at Tirupur:
Documented by Periyar on 20-09-1947.

Algorithm for converting a pariah into a Brahmin:

Awaiting another Father of the Nation
to produce this algorithm.

Inconvenience caused due to inadvertent delay
is sincerely regretted.




* Shudra:  the fourth and lowest caste of India –  “serving” the three above it

** Brahmin:  the first and highest caste of India




Both poems © 2006, Meena Kandasamy


Meena Kandasamy, born in Chennai in 1984,  writes poems that

are a literary discovery of being a woman –  and Tamil in India –

and about low-caste and even outcaste-ness.

Being a Poet  is glamourized – often – all around the world.

But Kandasamy is not interested in praise or literary garlands

– she feels a responsibility to ensure that language is not always

at the mercy of those who would oppress others.