India has never been in such a situation before. Majoritarian brute force and mob violence are used to overthrow all legalities and provisions, enshrined in our Constitution, against not only the minorities but also against all marginalized peoples and States, including the Dalits and Tribals. The attacks against women and the queer people are on the increase. The country is on Clearance Sale to the big Corporates. Old slogans like “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan” have been discarded by promptly dropping the Kisans (whose deaths go unsung) and unilaterally projecting the Jawans in the name of patriotism. The poems in this collection are born from this political slush growing messy and stinking with the passage of time. Make no mistake; they are political to the core even when they talk about love.
His views are not just overtly political, but show a lot of concern for the humanity. There is hope in his views, an optimistic approach to the future and concern towards the state of humanity in his nation that is unfolding in front of his eyes. Thus there are issues related to Kashmir and other places mixing to reveal a universal view of the sufferings in these poems. There is nothing to filter in these poems to make it ours as they will catch us off guard. Either we can own them or ignore them in their original form. Navalokam
Unlike Ra Sh’s previous collection of poems, Bullet Train is directly political and addresses issues that have been bothering not just the poet’s conscience but the collective conscience of many in India. In trying to create poetry out of violence, Ra Sh tries to break free from the stereotypical assumptions about the poet and his/her Muse. The Muse here is far from the Greek imaginary. The Muse is Asifa, a young girl repeatedly raped inside a temple and later killed as an act of vengeance on her community. The Muse is also Rohith Vemula, a young PhD scholar who, after systematic bullying by his university for being a Dalit, succumbs to suicide (see Meena Alexander’s “Death of a Young Dalit,” WLT, Nov. 2016). As historical testimonies vehemently resisting amnesia, the poems hurl a challenge to the status quo: “You can teach me / How to burn alive a peacock . . . / But, never never never never teach me / How to love . . . / You don’t know / What I know.” World Literature Today
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