The Republic of Memory Lost A Poem by Adivasi Rights activist Abhay Xaxa

26, Jan 2019 | Abhay Xaxa

Dear Republic,

When your best citizens are killed on the streets,

and piled in the jails.

While the traitors adorn your high offices.

Something is terribly wrong with you!

When the apologists of empire become nationalists,

And defense of constitution

becomes act of rebellion,

You suffer from acute loss of memory!

Before people reach out to asylums,

mutinies and refugee boats,

Get well soon, Republic.

Dear Republic,

Go back to where you came from,

To your roots of freedom and liberty,

remember your Adivasi ancestors,

Whom you have forgotten

Remember Veer Budhu Bhagat and Tilkha Majhi

Bishnu and Maiju Manki,

Sidhu, Kanhu, Chand, Bhairav, Jhanu, Phulo,

Tatya Bhil, Khwaja Naik and Rani Durgawati,

Kuwarsingh Vasava, Raghoji and Ranapunja Bhil,

Haldibai, Rani Chennama and Bhima Naik

Bhukhan Munda, Gundadhur and Bhagirath Majhi.

Rani Gaidinliu, Tirot Singh, Telenga Kharia, Bhilu Rana

Dharti Abba Birsa Munda

And other uncountable Adivasi martyrs

Who buried themselves like seeds,

So that we could have future of freedom,

dignity and sovereignty.

No one of them, represent this republic which they built!

No where in your trozen-horsed statues, or artificial memoirs

Not even in the décor of sanitized parliament

or your decorated awards!

Lest not forget 1855 or 1832, 1819, 1800, or even 1795, 1772

What happened then, when you tell stories of 1857!

The fraud sold in history books and propagandist media!

Thousands of Adivasi movement and the massacres which followed it.

Dear Republic,

Go back to where you came from, to your roots and seeds!

Because there lies the spirit of freedom, justice and equality.

And get well soon, Republic!


*Abhay Xaxa is an Adivasi Rights Activist and Sociologist by training. He has worked with grassroots organisations, campaigns, NGOs, media, research institutions in different capacities on the issue of Adivasi land rights in central India.

**Feature Image Illustration By Amili Setalvad

***Images of Adivasi Freedom Fighters courtsey Adivasi Digdarshika 2019 (Publishers: Jelsingh Pawra and Jagdish Pawar)


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