Aranya Krishna has been writing poetry in Telugu since 1988. He drew inspiration from the people’s movements against the social inequalities, gender violence and state violence. His first anthology of poetry “Nethuroduthunna Padachitram” (Bleeding Images: 1994,2016,2019) and again after a gap of 22 years he published his second anthology of poetry “Kavithvamlo unnanthasepoo….” ( As Long As I Stay With My Poetic Muse) in the year 2016. In the year 2021, he compiled an anthology of women centric poems written by him for the last 33 years with title “Maniddaram” (We Both). He is a traveller too and wrote travelogues on his national and international travel experiences. He is the Editor of a book on the renowned poet, Late Savitri, who is one of the pioneers of feminism in Telugu. The title of the book was “Ame Asthaminchaledani….” (She Has Not died yet, It is Said) in the year 1992. In 2022, he also published “Konchem Nippu Konchem Neeru ( Some Fire And Some Water), a critical commentary on current socio, cultural and political senario He is also known for his sharp film criticism.
When leaving home,
Carrying all these
You go out into the world
To encounter challenges, many.
One Alsatian with flamboyant hair
Barks abuses at you
Another cunning fox
Whistles a double meaning song
One old owl
Pierces your body’s muscles
And one alligator blackmails,
Covers himself with a shroud
If you do not show mercy!
In the bus one centipede
Breathes down mud on your neck
Feels your body
With caterpillar fingers!
In the office one Karataka, a demon
And Damanaka another one demon cut jokes
On stay-free, spreading poisonous gas.
For them her visits to the washroom
Also turn out to be strange things.
She carries back home the crosses of stares
Words like boulders, and
When in the night,
The eyes faint in nightmares
The blood oozing out of her wounds creates
Ponds of blood
Her heart appears like an iceberg, melting.
(Every word represents only one hundredth part of the agony
of the experiences of a friend.)
You don’t have to wait till you start breathing
You don’t have to cry out loudly,
As your mirthless life began
You were never too small for
The gender discrimination
A girl need not ever commit the crime of
Growing into womanhood
The heads would not hang in shame
At the vulgar pictures and writings spit on the
Walls of the toilets and public roads.
In the homes, in schools, on the streets,
And in buses, a waste it is to look for them.
You need not sell your heart
To find a buyer for your body
It will not ever be necessary to
Risk committing suicides in kitchens
In ways more creative.
Don’t let your existence grow till they
Reach edges of summits unstable till they shake
Everything is convenient and ready now
Syringes, scissors and stethoscopes are
The weapons that destroy a mother’s womb
This civilisation can
Get foetuses killed for five hundred rupees
To economise on a dowry of fifty-thousand grand
These institutions can tactfully turn
Science into a superstition
This culture can set on fire
The breast that feeds.
– March 1989
(Before the sex determination tests were banned in India they used to be conducted through the amniotic fluid in mother’s womb. ‘Pay five hundred and save fifty thousand’ used to be the advertisements those days by Mumbai hospitals. When there were protests in Parliament the then union minister Vasant Sathe defended this and hence this poem was dedicated to him in contempt.)