হোলির রং ইন্দ্রধনু/ সাগর রাজা সেন
আয়না বলে পুরুষ আমি মন যে বলে নারী পুরুষ অঙ্গে নারীর হৃদয় – সমাজ করে আড়ি। পিতা মাতার-ও একি কথা: এমন কেন হলি? মনের ভিতর সেই প্রশ্নে অনেক জ্বালায় জ্বলি। খেলবো হোলি ইচ্ছে নিয়ে আমিও যেতাম ছুঁটে হাফ্-লেডিস্ ডেকে তাড়িয়ে দেয়া – এ রঙ-ই আমার জোটে। সমাজ কবে মানবে আমায় সব মানুষের ভীড়ে? মন কে নিয়ে বাঁচবো আমি নিজের মতন করে। বসন্ত আসুক এবার ইন্দ্রধনুর বৃষ্টি নিয়ে। শরীর মন ভিজে উঠুক সমকামিতা নিয়ে॥
A Holi of Rainbows/ Sagar Raja Sen
(translated by Enakshi Nandi)
Translator’s Note: Holi, the festival of colours that heralds the season of spring, has long been a site of and excuse for the exclusion and harassment of many social minorities. Stories abound – about young men assumed to be gay were mocked and chased away from joining in the revelry, to trans bodies violated with impunity under the veil of colours. The disparate colours of the rainbow were used to exclude the very people who claim their right to life, love, and happiness in its name. This poem is an attempt to reclaim those colours, to humanise the marginalised and the abused, and to re-signify Holi as a festival of inclusion, acceptance, and love – a festival drenched in the colours of the rainbow.
The mirror calls me a man The heart says I’m a woman A woman’s soul in a man’s body – Shunned by society. My parents echo the same cry: Why are you like this? The sting of that question Sears and burns through my heart Excited to play Holi with everyone I’d rush to join the fete But the jeers of “half-ladies” were The only colours in my fate. When will society accept me As one of the crowd, faceless? Where I can live in my way My heart led by my choices. Let this spring arrive In a shower of rainbows Let the body and soul get drenched In the magic of gay love.
Sagar Raja Sen is a professional make-up artist, model, dancer, and actor. His life revolves around his family, his lover, his friends – both queer and mainstream – and his love for music, writing poetry. Sen is involved with the queer-trans-kothi-hijra community in Nadia district in West Bengal, India and is passionate about doing everything in his power to make life a little bit easier, happier, and more enriched for his friends in the community.
Enakshi Nandi is a research scholar with the Centre for Linguistics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India. Her specialization is in Queer Linguistics in the Indian subcontinent, with a special focus on the question of gender and how languages are negotiated by its speakers to create a self-affirming identity out of another language that is mired in the politics of erasure, derision, and silences.