It boils my blood when you sneer
Make faces and whisper ‘reservation’.
What exactly is your frustration,
your critique, what is the devastation
That it brings in your life that you hate it so?
Or is it the idea of me sitting next to you
That makes you say no?
What is it that your frail ego crashes
And bruises and pains
But only selectively for the sake
Of your privileges and gains
Did you ever believe we are the same?
Did you ever let go of a chance to know my surname?
Did you ever feel empathy in your mind?
Did you ever try to read and understand?
Why does it not occur to you,
That if there is caste in my name,
Then there is caste in your name.
If there is caste in my reservation,
Then there is caste in your inherited gains.
If there is caste in my occupation,
Then there is caste in your hijacking the range
From the priestly to the secular, from left to right,
Anywhere we go, we find you in sight.
No, your questions are not critiques of a policy,
It’s a cry of agony over the changing reality.
No, your questions are not for justice,
It’s a rant, an insult, a challenge to this
Assertion by our people for dignity,
For liberty, equality and fraternity.
So never again will I bother to explain,
Waste my time repeating the same thing,
When I realise that you were never there to get along,
It was your frustration speaking all along.
It’s not my duty to help you understand
That basic claims of equality are justified,
If that’s so difficult to get in your mind,
Then you are hypnotised by the social design.
A design that believes that not every person is born the same,
That upper caste will rule, the rest will be slaves,
That men will reign the world, women will be chained,
That inequality is the norm and it shouldn’t be changed.
So don’t come to me to fight about reservation,
Introspect your stakes in this system.
So don’t debate me without intellectual honesty,
Don’t expect me to educate you, not my responsibility.
So learn and grow on your own, and then if you wish,
Be my ally and fight to annihilate caste,
Change your people, challenge the traditions you believed,
Until then, I know you aren’t with me but with caste.
Vivek Singh is currently pursuing a PdD at Jawaharlal Nehru University. He is interested in various dimensions of anti-caste movement, intersectionality and student politics and also writes poetry. His email id is- firstname.lastname@example.org