We don’t want anything for form’s sake:
Like muscles pulled in the back of our arms,
Or lashes prominently visible
On the back of the oxen,
Or our future sacred and shrunk
In the affidavits of loans;
We want everything actual
Of life, equality and what not.

As the sun, the wind and the cloud
Remain close to us in houses and fields;
Likewise we want to have
Of polity, belief and joy,
A feel close to our lives,
Mighty ones, we want everything actual.

We don’t want anything hoax-like
As a tout’s evidence falsely concocted
In a case of illicit distillation;
Fairness that a patwari may profess,
Or the oath the middleman may take –
A fact on the palm of our hand we want
Like saltish tinge in sugar-cane’s jaggery
Or nicotine in the burning hookah;
Something like skein on the beloved’s lips
The lover feels on kissing, we want.

We don’t want books to read
Tucked on the lathis of the police;
We don’t want to hear
Songs to the tune of military boots declaimed,
With yearning fingertips we want to feel
Songs resonating on the tops of trees.
To taste something bitter in tear-gas,
Or one’s own blood on the tongue to taste,
Is recreation for none;
But we don’t want anything for form’s sake
We want everything actual
Life, socialism or what not...

Translated by Tejwant Singh Gill