*A poem in Tamil by Theepachelvan captioned KOUBRU MALAIYIN MAGAL
(Daughter of Koubru Mountain)
rendered in English by Latha Ramakrishnan
You, the darling daughter of Koubru Mount
with deer aplenty, frightened and apprehensive
wandering hither and thither _
and the red jasmine flowers blooming all over
call off your decades-long fasting and have something to eat.
In this soil that is for the sale of guns
don’t you remain hungry any further.
The pricking sense of guilt that those people
who stood by the side of your emaciated body
experienced at every lunch time -
whenever they hold their cups and bowls _
Oh, let it subside at least from henceforth.
Let the punishment of forceful feeding inflicted upon you
and the imprisonment of food tubes inserted into your nostrils
and please have your food
the memory of which has left you long since.
You, the Iron Woman who,
bearing the hunger of Manipurians
who faced Assam Rifles’ ruthless assault
with their sacred nakedness,
has filled your empty stomach with dreams;
your heart is as soft and tender
as that of an innocent child.
Your body that bore the brunt of huger
drying up with desert-like heat
proving a veritable playground for Death
is indeed a powerful weapon!
Your voice that never ceased to rage and boil
never allowing death to come anywhere closer
and leaving it to taste defeat,
is but wild fire!
My friend, in bomb-cultivating soil
please don’t fight anymore with your tender heart.
The power to stretch their rifles
for inserting many a penis of the army
into hapless vaginas,
the power to arrest anybody
with no rhyme or reason _
thus many turned missing
children with their future dead and gone
eyes that search in all directions
for the Sun, in vain ....
In all these our lands prove
Oh, the darling daughter of Koubru Mount!
so endearing to my heart –
Our land which has borne Thileepan as its son
knows for sure
that the food you had after years too many
would not have appeased your all-consuming hunger.
For, your heart forever languishes,
starving for Freedom.
For Irom Chanu Sharmila
Thanks to Kumudam