Mixing the smell of life
With the smell of sweat
Bartering life’s vicissitudes
With timmur2 seeds
Breaking head inside the quarries
For roofing other’s houses
Swallowing salt-mixed porridge barely for the self
While cooking potatoes for the world:
The story of Gamalis
Used to sound strange; it used to sound time-worn.
Haven’t these faces came from some forest?
Aren’t these famine-ravaged ugly faces?
Aren’t these outlines pressed hard by landslides?
It seemed they were, they did really seem exotic
Seem as though the pressure of work caused the loss of their identity
Seem as though they’re searching Gaam after the loss of identity
Seem as though they’ve turned refugees after their Gaam’s been looted
Seem ever helpless; seem ever estranged
Seem energy-less; seem as though they’ve lost their moon
The narrative of Gamaalis
Looked like a kitchen with uncooked porridge.
It was not written on any limestone:
Their names and the name of the village they came from
It was not discovered in any voter list:
Their name and name of the village they came from
Seemed as though their country’s been looted; their form’s been looted
Shedding blood ever inside the timmur2 bush
Shedding tears ever on bamboo shoots
Cow-dung all in fingernails
Now preparing food by boiling the top of Sisnu3 in water
Now preparing food by boiling the tip of tongue for taste
Is it tasty or tasteless; is it hot or bitter?
Seemed as though they’ve lost the taste; seemed ever hot
The narrative of Gamaalis
Used to seem very old: used to seem unknown
Seemed like the potato-skin leftovers of porcupine
Like heat-withered potato-plants
Ever like tear-drop fallen on account of weight of potato-sack
Seemed as though potato’s what defined their life
It seemed strange:
The story of Gamaalis.
The uneducated Gamaalis, who knew not the first letter of alphabet
Can know if now even in a poem
While searching image and reflection
They seem to be making pens of a bamboo
Those who ever searched their identity on potato-leaves
Are writing these days slogans of movement on those leaves
It seems totally new:
The narrative of gamaalis these days.
Gamaalis do not come down to pyuthan4 carrying timmur these days
Are rather busy making new chemical out of the same timmur
Gamaalis do not even grow potatoes these days
They grow martyrs
Gamaalis do not break their head in quarries
They carve martyr’s statue on those stones:
Wonderful Gamaalis! Real, wonderful Gamallis!!
(Kalam, Complete Issue-19)
(From an anthology: Poems of the People’s War, published by Ichchhuk Cultural Academy)
… … … … … … … … … … … … … … … …
1. Gaam is the name of the village development committee in Rolpa, where the class struggle had got intensified. The inhabitants of Gamm are called Gamalis. Gamaliharu (plural of Gamali).
2. Timur is a particular kind of tree which produces small fruits that is used to make spice.
3. Sisnu is a particular kind of plant, the nettle, which the poor people in the villages of Nepal eat as a substitute of food.
4. A place in Western Nepal, known as a place of the People’s War.