1 November 2014


J's Buddha

Dressed in a shirt crisp and yellow
Looking calm and mellow
A man, lets call him J
Walks in as people make way

He is the much feared don, 
The all-in all without the brawn
An artist, a historian and an avid reader
A rumoured murderer, yet a beloved leader

Ambedkar lover
Mayawati follower
A buddhist politician
And a real estate broker with ambition

So nothing is black or white
An ethnographer's plight
But is J a good man or a bad man
To find out is my plan

He speaks at length
Of the Dalit strength
About Manusmriti
And the powers that be

The importance of education
Petty crime due to frustration
Amma unavagam, no thanks!
People can not be well fed vote banks

An hour into the conversation
I am nowhere close to a conclusion
J removes his glasses with a sigh
To reveal a swollen eye

 Go to the hospital J
The group of boys gathered around say
He reassures them - nothing to worry
There is no hurry

A minor injury sustained at a ritual
At the annual temple festival
And so he continues to explain
How hindu power took reign

He speaks of  money
Brahmin hegemony
The take over of Buddhist temples
The power of religious symbols

He drew buddha's face , with a naamam
And covered the hair with a kreedam
 What did it do to Dalit morale?
When buddha was made perumal

It was 2 pm and I was out of questions
J's mobile rings, business beckons
Please meet me this weekend to talk more I urge
He replies Saturday is OK, Sunday I will be in church

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