You soak when it rains
You dry when it is sunny
You shiver when it is cold
You eat when you receive
You fast when you don’t
You leave others alone
But great powers meddle with you
While some might help you
Others are out to harm you
You thought the forest was yours
But that was your innocence
Those great powers informed you it wasn’t
You only eat what you receive from the forest
They eat the forest.
They stole your food
Kicked your gut
Took your home
You thought you could survive with the little you grow with podu[i]
They snatched it away and outlawed podu
The land, where you have lived for generations
Is being forced away from you
They loot the wealth of your nature
With your help, but without your knowledge
If we do not resist now,
Adivasis will cease to survive
Go save your language, your culture, your life.
[i] Podu translates to slash and burn or shifting cultivation.
The poem has been translated from Telugu to English by Joshi Babu Palli, PhD research scholar at University of Hyderabad.
Photo: Madakam Lakshman Koya
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