Yogesh Maitreya & Daisy Katta
“Delete Kelel Saarr Aakash” (Entire deleted sky) – the Facebook page of this Marathi poetry book has been constantly providing news about its launch. Those who regularly followed Vaibhav Chhaya and his poetry for long on Facebook have been eagerly waiting for to see his poetry on paper. Finally, on 28th of July 2014, Vaibhav launched his first poetry book.
Although much of his poetry has already been published as Facebook posts on his wall, the appreciative response from audience in the hall was spectacular. Much of his poetry which was included in his book has already been read by readers on Facebook, creating history in the field of publishing: that the work has been shared before publication.
The book launch was held at the Dadar Matunga Cultural Centre, Dadar, Mumbai, amidst the presence of Sambhaji Bhagat, a lyricist and well renowned playwright, Eknath Aawad, who is a former Dalit Panther and founder of the Campaign for Human Rights in Marathwada region of Maharashtra, and Yuvraj Mohite from Kalamnaama magazine, other attendees as well as his Facebook followers.
The event was symbolic in the way Dr. Ambedkar’s picture on the stage seemed a reference point of the cultural event. The event also marked the vibrant presence of Dalit movement (though Vaibhav prefers to call it Ambedkarite movement) with its literary expression.
Vaibhav, who has kept his mother’s name (Chhaya) alongside his, is now known as Vaibhav Chhaya. It is his dedication to his mother’s tireless efforts to raise him and make him what he is now.
While speaking to the audience, Vaibhav sees his poetry as a political act. The book contains fifty-six poems; all are in Marathi, with various themes and engage readers with his range of experiences, views as well as the way he delivers a new spirit to the larger movement of annihilation of caste through his poetic style.
The book is an invitation to come and peep into his traumatic yet spirited and inspiring world. His world of experiences and interpretation is equally easy and difficult to understand. In one of his poems named ‘Identity Crisis’ he says (roughly translated):
My identity is really
A perplexed thing,
Or it might be a mask
That someone has put over me
As if wound drenched in blood
Or artificial tree of plastic……….
Pictures Courtesy: Daisy Katta