My fundamental rights
(Dedicated to Sanjeeb Drong, a rights activist)
A poem by Matendra Mankhin
(Translation from Bengali by Mahmudul Sumon)
These days, there are too many write-ups on the adivasis.
Perhaps that’s the reason anthropologists look at me very minutely.
As if I am his darling Banalata Sen or some secretive love girl.
My distinct physic, my hands and body, my blood clearly reveals that
I am a flower of the jungle, I am an adivasi.
Yet, the experts don’t stop, they keep on surveying
They keep doing the hard work for a rigorous analysis.
As if they are engaged in deep thought; they keep researching on my originality
My ancestor’s identity, our early inhabitances
Language and culture.
But in the end, my originality, my real identity,
My recognition in the constitution
Is kept hidden under the false cover of majoritarian
I can sense that after enough thought
They come up with well planned names
Call us in ill motivated colorful languages
At times they simply deny and say
‘There are no adivasi people in this country’.
No matter how you appraise, you expert and knowledgeable
This utterly sufferings and bad luck is what is bestowed upon the adivasis
The adivasi certificate declared by the UN
Turns into a dusty manuscript, remains unattended.
In such unlucky times
Our dreams and fundamental rights are stolen by the groups of red ants.
[Matendra Mankhin: date of birth: January 3, 1953; school St Teresa Primary School and Biroi Dakuni High School. Passed SSC in 1972. Wrote poetry from school days. The poem is taken from his book titled Patharchpata ful (2008) Shatantra Prakashak, Mymensing. Mahmudul Sumon: teaches anthropology in JU. Currently a regular blogger at Thotkata.net
Photo credit@Thotkata Archive]