by Kamlesh Gaekwad


 બુહું પૅલિકનાં તે ઓવારાવર ગોળા હુયી જાનુકા 

કુટબેના ફોટા

જીસાં લા? વેટ વાવર આહા

તળાવીહુન ત ડોંગરહુદીનાં

ઝાડ ત યુધ્ધના દેશ આહા.

ઉજે઼ડ ઝી સંઘર્ષનાં ગુલાબી ગળાં

પરંપરાગત હોડી બનવી હન્ યીં તળાવ ધાંપી દેંવ,

પરંપરાગત માચી બનવી હન્ યીં ભૂંય ધાંપી દેંવ.

આમાલા યે પાની પાસીં કાંહી જુય .

ગૂંળી ચાંખુલા આહા, નીં ચાંખુલા


પૅલિકનાં સોડીહન્ જાવલા મંડનાંત,

આપલે શબ્દને જીસાં, સીદાઈમાં જીસાં

જીભી કરતાં વહી ગેં, સરકુલા,

પોંહવુલા, વાહદુલા, ઊડુલા, ઊડી જાવલા.

કાંહીં તરી હુયી ગેં અ.


kamleshKamlesh Gayakwad (b.1984) is an Adivasi writer from Ghodmal in Vansda taluka of Navsari district in Gujarat. He writes in Kunkana and Gujarati. He holds a Ph.D. Degree in Gujarati. He is presently working as Assistant Professor in Gujarat in Government Arts and Zcommerce College, Ahwa-Dang in South Gujarat. Besides teaching, he is presently engaged in research and documentation of the oral tradition in Kunkana and Varli languages of Adivasis of the region. He has seven published books to his credit.  His publications include compilations of the tale of Varli Narandev, Kunkana folk songs, Kunkana Devkaren and Varli folk songs. Among his forthcoming publications are Kunkana Adivasi-culture and literature, Bolva ni Katha (the tale of Bolva, 2017), and Kunkana Kathao (Kunkana Oral Tales, 2017). His articles have appeared in journals like Shabdasar, Vividhasanchar, Adilok and Riti. He has also delivered radio talks on All India Radio, Ahmedabad and Baroda. He has won two Gujarati Sahitya Parishad (Ahmedabad) awards in 2012 for his Varli Narandev ni Katha.


This poem was previously published in Cordite’s special issue, Dalit/tribal/Indigenous poetry in translation, which is the happy outcome of a 3-year long project undertaken by Dr Mridula Nath Chakraborty titled Literary Commons: Writing Australia-India in the Asian century with Dalit, Indigenous and multilingual tongues. Co-edited by Kent MacCarter and Mridula Nath Chakraborty, this special issue, which was 14 months in making, includes 25 Indigenous Australian writers, 25 Dalit and tribal Indian writers,1 Nepali indigenous writer. There are 51 translations by 40 translators. There are 24 languages.

The publication was made possible not only through generous funding by the Australia Council for the Arts, but also an immense array of volunteer resource people and translators based in India, who gave their time, energy and passion to this project. The translator, Kamlesh Gayakwad, lives in the remote Dangs, the dense bamboo forests of Gujarat, where internet connectivity is almost nil. He was contacted via phone by our resource person, Rupalee Burke, and expressed great delight at the prospect of re-publication. From micro-level engagements involving multiple partners and logistics, to being featured in the UNECSO Creative Cities Network, the project Literary Commons! has demonstrated how translation can bridge enormous gaps in distance – cultural, geographical, linguistic and national – and make our world a small one indeed.


Translated into Kunkana by Kamlesh Gaekwad on the basis of Rupalee Burke’s Gujarati translation of the original English poem by Ellen van Neerven ‘Flight Feathers’.