Kavi - Varavara Rao
It is a tragic moment when a nation conspires to kill its artists. The fact that the state, with its administrative artillery and politcal heft trembles before the words of a poet, is testament to the power of belief, and lifelong commitment to the cause of the freedom of the powerless. I am left today, fumbling for words. So today’s missive is a series of 3 extracts, ending with a poem by Varavar Rao himself, that speak to the present moment, as the ruling fascist government unjustly incarcerates an 80 year old man whose health is rapidly deteriorating. An excerpt from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, where the mob lynches Cinna whose only fault is that he shares a name with “Cinna the Poet”. This extract has been shared earlier on poetly, when the draconian CAA was passed in parliament: Cinna the Poet: I dreamt tonight that I did feast with Caesar And things unlucky charge my fantasy: I have no will to wander forth of doors, Yet something leads me forth
First Citizen: What is your name? Second Citizen: Whither are you going? Third Citizen: Where do you dwell? Fourth Citizen: Are you a married man or a bachelor? Second Citizen: Answer every man directly. First Citizen: Ay, and briefly. Fourth Citizen: Ay, and wisely. Third Citizen: Ay, and truly, you were best. Cinna the Poet: What is my name? Whither am I going? Where do I dwell? Am I a married man or a bachelor? Then, to answer every man directly and briefly, wisely and truly: wisely I say, I am a bachelor. Second Citizen: That's as much as to say, they are fools that marry: you'll bear me a bang for that, I fear. Proceed; directly. Cinna the Poet: Directly, I am going to Caesar's funeral. First Citizen: As a friend or an enemy? Cinna the Poet: As a friend. Second Citizen: That matter is answered directly. Fourth Citizen: For your dwelling,—briefly. Cinna the Poet: Briefly, I dwell by the Capitol. Third Citizen: Your name, sir, truly. Cinna the Poet: Truly, my name is Cinna. First Citizen: Tear him to pieces; he's a conspirator. Cinna the Poet: I am Cinna the poet, I am Cinna the poet. Fourth Citizen: Tear him for his bad verses, tear him for his bad verses. Cinna the Poet: I am not Cinna the conspirator. Fourth Citizen: It is no matter, his name's Cinna; pluck but his name out of his heart, and turn him going. Third Citizen: Tear him, tear him! Come, brands ho! fire-brands: to Brutus', to Cassius'; burn all: some to Decius' house, and some to Casca's; some to Ligarius': away, go!"