Imprisoned Mothers of Koodankulam: A Poem by V. T. Jayadevan

Xavieramma, a leading women protester in Koodankulam, was arrested by the police on 10th September. her whereabouts are still unknown.

Release the Imprisoned Mothers !

Sundari, Xavieramma
And Selvi are in jail
In Trichy.
They aren’t criminals,
Haven’t killed anyone
Haven’t stolen anything
Haven’t usurped anything
from anyone, haven’t insulted anyone,
nor have they ever behaved badly to anyone.
No! Xavieramma, Sundari and Selvi
aren’t criminals!
Is it a crime
to say that they have the right
to live without the fear of death;
that they have the duty
to take care of their Mother Sea
who has fed and cared for their tribe
for eons?
Is it a crime to protect the Sea
and the sandy shore
from being burned to ashes?
Is it a crime
to show reverence
which an urban can never have
to a handful of soil
for generations to root themselves
and one pot of water
to quench the thirst of all beings?

Sundari, Xavieramma and Selvi
are still in jail.
Motherbirds whose hearts
forever throbbed
for their children,
for their husbands,
for their dear families;
Women who have
more sense of justice
than any Judiciary;
Women who are
greater than
all great men and women;
Women who have more
historical perspective
than any Epoch-Maker;
Women who have
more wisdom in them
than any ancient wisdom;
Women who have
more honesty in them
than any Truth in the world.Sundari, Xavieramma and Selvi
are still in jail.
The brutal State
has charged them
with false cases
and imprisoned them.

You have to tell us,
the name of the Book of Justice
based on which
you have accused them
of crimes they didn’t commit!
You have to explain to us
the logic of this accusation.
If you and I are citizens of this country,
We are also responsible for this
unlawful crime.
The unjust State
has made all the people
of this country criminals.

Hereafter you shall not
talk big about motherhood,
or the responsibility of mothers,
or the greatness of our ancient culture
or the salt of hard labour
coded in text books.

While these women
who are deeply aware
of the essence of life,
of eternal justice,
of the ultimate responsibility
of every living being on Earth,
who have lived a life
in tune with these values
are still in jail,

While these women
languish in the jail,
while they weep
like motherbirds
caught in the nest of a hunter,
thinking about their burning forests,
their life-giving sea,
and crying for their children,
do we have the right
to be indifferent and
to be sleeping
in our comfort zones
like this?
(Translated from Malayalam – S.Santhi)




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