Neu! Boots Are Made For Walking DAY ONE – Meena Kandasamy

We Are Not The Citizens

naamaarkum kudiyallom, namanai anjom
naragathil idar padom, nadalai illom

We are not the subjects of anyone
We do not fear the god of death
We shall not suffer, were we to end in hell
We’ve no deception, we’ve no illusions.

naamarakum kudiyallom, namanai anjom
naragathil idar padom, nadalai illom

Nobody’s citizens and nobody’s slaves
Fearless of bombings and beheadings
Unscathed by the torrent of hell-fires
We do not tremble at certain death

naamaarkum kudiyallom, namanai anjom
naragathil idar padom, nadalai illom

As people, we refuse to be ruled
As people, we refuse to die
As people, we refuse to suffer
As people, we refuse to be deceived.

naamaarkum kudiyallom, namanai anjom
naragathil idar padom, nadalai illom


The lines “naamaarkum kudiyallom, namanai anjom/naragathil idar padom, nadalai illom”, adapted variously in this poem, are from the Thevaram, the classic Tamil poetry of the Bhakti poet Appar, who was persecuted by Mahendravarman, the emperor, for his faith. 

Meena Kandasamy is a poet, writer, activist and translator. Her work maintains a focus on caste annihilation, linguistic identity and feminism. She has published two collections of poetry, Touch (2006) and Ms Militancy (2010). Her first novel, The Gypsy Goddess was published by Atlantic Books (UK) and HarperCollins India in 2014.
 

 

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