My woke friend wears a black lives matter shirt to classThe weight of which doesn’t weigh down on his back like it shouldI’ve never known a black person too wellYet to take their weight on my shouldersSeems impressiveAnd yet offensiveKendrick lamar tops playlistsThe man is greatBut I don’t relateBoys reiterateThe need to say the word related to slavesThe word black people died, inscribed on their gravesYou’re saying the wrong N wordScrolling in on your in shortsNarrowed discussion in your savarna cohortsSay NaxalsSay NaxalbariSay North East unrestSay NarivaadO well go back to Kendrick LamarDon Cheadle with the real questions, a sucker for a diplomatTwo first names, yo what’s up with thatA feeble attempt at denouncing casteHow you gonna outrun the pyramids of your pastYvette Smith, Michael Brown, Damien RiceYour facebook posts, a social justice sympathy heistAnd your angst won’t sufficeYour ignorance comes at a priceRohith Vemula’s deathNah it won’t make it to this repriseI’m spittin verses out here, if I could only spit namesThe media tellin me whose head’s worth a headlineAnd the men originating from feetTheir blood’s not written about with inkNow i’m here about no black struggleNo american problem, read a book about it-struggleI’m here for a made in india struggleA centuries old shackled struggleI’m here for a brown struggleI’m here to tell you this colourThere no one kinda brownSome of you aint even brownYou got this kinder joy shit going down, brotherYour fair and lovely shit for them brown girls you sayNot all brown girls brown, and your white girls ain’t fairI got aryan propaganda so far up my assWhen you cry reservation, I’ll sympathise with your crassLight up a cigarette in your goddamn sorrowGod induced systems of privilegeOppressed and risen in IndigoYour tobacco smoke blinds you to the menDown in the drainSmoking of their ownSmoking methaneBoy your tumblr reddit shit don’t mean shit to meYour faeces and shit politically repleteOn my college entrance exam they asked me what I wanna beWrote princess is my scribbly unclass writingMamma told me princesses were a part of a backward system of monarchyBitch I’m obcI’m deemed backward alreadyI’m a brown bitch princess and I’m too brownGot no glass, but live in CAST(L)E somehowOnly glass ceilings in here buddyYou out here talking caste like it’s only a rural studyBut why do you even careUnless it’s on a tshirtOr you got a rapper withNo hoes, money, caron this slur reclamation stagesaying Chamar without the ‘r’
This was written and drawn after discussion with other friends and educators from marginalised communities. I’ve taken care to never let my work be a product of appropriation. This piece is particularly important to me because I come from the ‘Backward’ Thiyya-Ezhava community from Kerala which has been oppressed for centuries. For reference, centuries ago women from my community were forced to be topless as covering their tops was a privilege reserved only to Savarna upper caste women. In protest, Nangeli cut off her breasts to oppose the breast tax. My tryst with caste has been weird. My grandma would regale me with stories of my great great grandfather, C Mithavadi Krishnan, who she’d say was a Freedom Fighter (google him). He was so much more than that. I later learnt that he stormed into temples that didn’t allow in lower castes, he argued and fell off with Gandhi because he believed in the eradication of caste before the attaining of freedom from the British, introduced Buddhism to Kerala and established the first Buddhist monastery in Kerala. He was a freedom fighter from the more obvious oppressors. My grandma also tells me that the Thiyya caste was better than the Nairs. As a kid, I didn’t know what that meant, I didn’t know how it mattered. In recent years, when she reiterated this statement of ‘betterness’, I asked her “aren’t we OBC?”. She sort of hung her head in shame like she had tried hard to hide and rub away the oppression but had failed. I didn’t get why, but then again I did. At the end of the day caste is a hierarchy based on oppression and the attachment of shame has always existed. So this piece is for my surname which is my middl ename and not my surname because I don’t have one, this is for my ammamma and her shame and this is for me and me reclaiming the ‘discourse’ around caste from Savarna individuals.