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“Dear Shaalu…Only yours, Jambavant.”
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shaalu

 

Sanket Garud

Director Nagraj Manjule’s Fandry is undoubtedly one of the most brilliant and unusual piece of Art in Marathi cinema, and in international cinema at large. Fandry, is no ordinary film, but an expression so strong that it’s shaken the Indian caste stereotypes and has stoned the wall of illusion which falsely projects India to be casteless and egalitarian.

shaalu

Drawing by Sanket Garud

Here’s a rough translation of the undelivered love letter that the protagonist, Jambavant, a teenage ‘lower-caste’ boy, who falls in love with Shaalu, an upper-Caste girl, writes expressing his unconditional love for her, but being surrounded by a ruthless caste ridden society, never delivers.

“Dear Shaalu,

The extent to which I’m in love with you, I cannot put it down in words. I’m aware that I’m poor and I do not come from the same caste as yours, either. But I can assure you with my life that no one in this world can love you more than I do, not even your Aai (mother). For the sake of your love, I can do anything. Believe me when I say it, even if you ask me for my life, I’ll give it to you, without a second thought. I have no one in this world, except for you. All the day and even the nights, I can’t help but think of only you. Trust me and my love for you only for once. Shaalu. If you don’t like me, tear this letter down and throw it in the bin, I’ll understand it. But please don’t tell of it to your family. Please don’t show it to anyone and mock me. But, if you love me back, please do reply to this letter, or…or, when you come to school tomorrow, wear two plaits, and I’ll understand that you love me back. Waiting, eagerly, for your reply, Shaalu.

Only yours, Jambavant.”

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Sanket Garud is a Class 12 Arts student who is interested in subjects like Sociology, Political Science, Economics and History. He admires Dr. Ambedkar and is inspired by his life and work. He aspires to battle against caste and wishes to be a social scientist and reformer.

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