Bhagiratha’s Bounty and Other poems-20

English Translation: T.S. Chandra Mouli

Telugu Original : Kandukuri Sreeramulu 


Three fourths water
one part land
world map hangs on wall
between many countries
separating several continents
water occupies as oceans and sea
water problem became global issue.


It is not about one part land
about three fourths water,all the tussle—
surging water
receding land
erosion of land due to water.
One looks in curiosity
when water swamps earth.

It is a dilemma
whether earth emerged from water
or water sprang from soil—
if water sprouted from land
how come water occupies three fourth space?

Water is life for a tree
water is breath for man
into the layers of earth
and in man’s life
isn’t the flowing life line water!
Just as ploughing arid land is futile
waterless life is dry piece of wood.
Today’s life style marked by buying
food needs to be bought
life has to be purchased
land needs to be acquired
water has to be paid for,
who is trading in water on land?

I talk about water
I demand water
I question psyche of those
who changed feature and nature of water.

Tell me for water
what is slope,
what is gradient?
I speak about problems and fissures
of water in slope
water in gradient.

Lakes turning lifeless, trees withering
is unfair, I declare.
I question why a thirsty man
gets not water even in cupped palms.

Forbidding forest growth
disallowing life for animals
upsetting human life
concealing water in one’s own project,
as flood water flows freely into sea
holding own banners as desired
with a torch in hand
watching everything as street play—
is it ignorance of value of water?

Sun, moon, stars
function as always.
I feel sorry
why candy floss like clouds
have become niggardly
without draining their treasure of water—

Sky is an amazing
arena of drama
as soon as curtain of air is raised
postures of clouds like
dancing, choral groups
fascinate, mesmerise
take one for a ride
without dispensing nectar of rains.

Dark clouds invisible
hiding somewhere.
I disrespect pitiless damsel of cloud
for not shedding tears
for the misery caused on this elevated plane—
I scream in anguish asking
who is accountable for
pots that are in a row before bore wells
like empty wagons of a goods train
without being filled with water—

I warn those
who abuse nature and
curse numerous times,
lord over environment,
arrogantly dismiss thirsty folk,
that they will be interred
on this plateau itself—-

Who is preventing
paddy fields and grass lands
from sporting new shoots,
springs from sputtering,
streams from overflowing?
I ask repeatedly
about water that never sprouts—

Eliminate inhumanity of
aborting embryos in womb,
exterminate betrayal of
draining milk from udders.


Till the other day
we sustained ourselves near water,
having taken birth and raised near river—
know civilisation beside river Nile,
those that dictate terms
driving us away from water
and nearer to cemetery,
I curse now!


My plateau
is not Himalaya mountain
nor Tirumala hill.
If sky blesses
Himalaya mountain,
plenitude showers on
Tirumala hill.
How can an elevated plane
become a slope?

Domination on land
authority on water
who has conferred?
No need for permits on land
nor bunds across flowing water,
five elements are owned by all!


Whether by gravity
or super natural power
with some support
we demand water.
Other than food, shelter, clothing
first we want water
for the plentiful land
where brooks and hill streams flow
water needed in cupped palms!

Cloud seeding
as mixture of water and cow dung
sprinkled in front yard
fields are not getting wet
nor does plough move
water to wipe tears not needed
we demand cascading water!

Low pressure in air system alone
fetches rain drops
monsoon winds lose track senselessly
like milk added to water rain arrives on earth.

Water dripping from deep pot is less than
our streaks of tear
not in digits we need rain
heavy rains to fill plentiful lakes required!


When earth occupies one part
and three fourths is water
why should there be scarcity of water
for mankind, I want you to know—
why the globe deprived of water
acquired shape, I demand—
totally involved in thirsty
political duplicity, I question—


Don’t know whether you churn
oceans to flood around
or you retract
all rivers joining sea,
whether you vow like Bhishma
or endeavour like Bhagiratha,
what for your powers or positions
that fail  to fill our mouths
with a drop of water, I ask resolutely! 

On one side sky
earth on the other side
spout their sterile grief,
those that live on earth need water
mouthful of water!

Water is required… demand for water…
I speak about water explicitly—
I fight for water
that shapes human civilisation—
Water is my script!
Water is my fate!
Water is my poem!!
Water is my song!!!


(To be continued-)

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