Harold Jaffe’s Dispatches from India – December 13, 2015


I am a female Untouchable.
You prefer Dalit to Untouchable.
You do not like the name Untouchable for public relations.
Even as you kill us and flog us without touching us
The munitions strapped across my body touch me.
West of Manikarnika, the burning ghat, is the Golden Temple
devoted to Lord Shiva.
Barefoot, I will enter the Golden Temple devoted to Lord Shiva.
Because I am a female Untouchable I am forbidden from worship to
Lord Shiva in the Golden Temple.
Upper caste Hindus will flog me if I enter the Golden Temple to
worship Lord Shiva.
I will enter the Golden Temple with munitions strapped across my
You cannot hold me back.
You cannot fill my blackened head with pieties.
You cannot distract me with devotion.
With hatred for Muslims.
Like Lord Shiva, I will destroy to create.
Call me freedom fighter.
I will create the order that Mahatma Gandhi imagined when he
named the Untouchable Harijan, Child of God.
When Mahatma Gandhi scrubbed and cleaned the privvies of the
Whoever is worshpping in the Golden Temple will be destroyed and
recreated as all-loving, loving the Dalit, loving the cow that Hindus
have pledged to love, loving the dogs and donkeys and goats.
Loving the cunning monkey.
Loving the Untouchable female.
It is not just poor Muslims who are freedom fighters.
Who sacrifice themselves when there is nothing left.
Why should I despise the poor Muslim when I am despised by
Hindus, my own people.
I will sacrifice myself and sacrifice the higher castes in the Golden
Temple so they can be recreated in the heart of Lord Shiva.
I am thin, black, female, weakened from not eating, from scrubbing
your toilets, from false devotion, from being born Dalit.
Upper caste Hindu wives threw themselves on their husband’s
burning bier in sacfrifice and were celebrated.
Mine is the greater sacrifice.
Hear me.
I am blackened and burning with sacrfiice.
I am penetrated with Shiva.
You cannot hold me back.