Could you ever have been
a human being
in this country,
just a boy
with his share of
And could your mother
have been a mother after all,
your brother, a brother?
Could you ever have been
As we come from the land of the cleanest, highest, lowest, deepest, firstest, buromest, we need to confess to our very own claim to fame – RAIOT is the first online gutterzine of Bishop Cotton Road, Shillong. If the conversations in the Burom class sitting room are anything to go by, this gutter RAIOT view of the world is finally finding its calvinistic place in the far reaches of Meghalaya. So enjoy this curated award-winning best selection of 2016 writings (in North Europe) on Shillong.
On RAIOT, poetry leads the pack in rejection rate. Our mailbox is full of poetic submissions, reminders about submissions, peeved queries about our silence – poets are a touchy lot. But still we masochistically persist in our obsession with poetry.
Raioteers, once a week we deserve to unwind after the crappy craziness of Indian politics and the gradual obliteration of our senses and so we thought we would introduce a Raiot Jukebox to nudge out the noise with soothing (and sometimes not so soothing) music. If you have a jukebox to share do send us your playlist.
It is laconic, not quite cynical, resigned yet nevertheless still searching sensibility that Nongkynrih fully realizes in Time’s Barter. Given his ability to convey multiple competing impressions within a few lines, Nongkynrih’s turn to Haiku and Senryu in the collection makes sense.
Yesterday was the birth anniversary and the beginning of the centenary year of Gajanan Madhav Muktibodh (1917-1964), beloved Hindi poet, fiction writer and critic, who should count among the greatest of thinkers and culture personalities of modern India. His impact on Hindi literature was as transformational as that of Ghalib in Urdu or Pushkin in Russian literature. One can only remember him with great sadness and wonder what he would have thought of the situation we are in today.
Nabina Das reviews the loves and desires of Hoshang Merchant’s latest collection
It’s interesting to see so many people care about Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize for Literature, people who otherwise never seem to have engaged with his work or have had scant respect for him; it’s as if this suddenly validates him as an artist in their eyes. And of course, there are people who are trashing this choice and wondering if this opens the door for lyricists to win the most prestigious literary prize in the world (“What, even Anand Bakshi is eligible now?” being the most memorable query on that front).
Another young man comes home from work on his scooter
He is an atm teller and Supports his large family
His brothers wedding is next week
He is found with 300 pellets in his body, every organ is ruptured
they had carried him to the side of the road, to pass it off as an accident
But blood leaves its trail
India, this is your democracy.
I don’t know how to write ‘universal’ poetry
That would please the editors of journals that are the pride of
Hoary academia – I know no Greek myths,
like Dom Moraes and Keki Daruwala.
(Anapaest is a pest as far as I am concerned and
Dactyl sounds like the name of a detergent.)
AFSPA, why don’t you go fuck yourself?
Don’t you have brothers?
Don’t you have commanders?
Don’t you have captain?
Why don’t you go fuck them all?
Why don’t you go Kill them all?
“Write simplistically about “North Eastern” stuff like villages, mountains, sacred groves, tribal customs, you know pristine crap like that ” and nine other tips
In the second part of the ongoing series of interviews with Varavara Rao, founder member of Virasam, by playwright Ramu Ramanathan, the Maoist ideologue and Telegu poet narrates his revolutionary journey, about people’s movements in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, about writing and publishing revolutionary literature and how the movement has produced some great writers
In the first of the two part interview with Varavara Rao, founder member of Virasam (Revolutionary Writers’ Association), by playwright Ramu Ramanathan, the Maoist ideologue and Telegu poet reaffirms the role of an intellectual and reflects on the history of repression of the Indian states, and on the issues surrounding the statehood of Telangana
People have to be happy during festivals.
Even cold intellectuals have something to fatten their talks with
No one threatened Pijush Dhar to leave Shillong in 2009, but he realized that he perhaps overstayed his welcome in the hills, the hills which unbeknownst to him, have become the raison d’etre of his poetry
Long before the grubby fingers of the mainstream grabbed hold of the Shillong scene, there was something called Shillong Poetry Circle.
Ballad of a Hangman is a poem about a hangman who arrives in a town and executes the citizens one by one. As each citizen is executed, the others are afraid to object out of fear that they will be next. Finally there is nobody remaining in the town except the hangman and the narrator of the poem. The narrator is then executed by the hangman, as by then there is no one left who will defend him.
It seems like a lot of the people disappear into thin air everyday,
and the newspapers don’t seem to notice there is anything missing.
“With which gun will you shoot me then? Made in India, or made in another
Let your nation sing the Anthem
Not me, not this chinky guy
I hate it
I hate things being imposed on me