Ian Woolford, a UK-born American citizen who lives in Australia, and is a professor of Hindi at La Trobe University in Melbourne, recently went for a show of the Indian satire collective Aisi Taisi Democracy. The trio, comprising lyricist and writer Varun Grover, singer Rahul Ram, and stand-up artist Sanjay Rajoura, is currently on a tour of Australia with their Aazadi tour.
In a video posted on Twitter, Woolford said that the show reminded him of a couplet of the great Hindi poet Sudama Pandey “Dhoomil”. Dhoomil was well-known for the revolutionary streak in his works, and was often called the “angry young man” of Hindi poetry.
Inspired by the poet, Woolford recited couplets from two of his poems – “Bees Saal Baad” (Twenty Years Later) and “Roti Aur Sansad” (Bread and Parliament).
Here is the translation of one of Dhoomil’s poems that Woolford recited:
Is freedom only the name of three worn-out colours
Dragged by a wheel
Or does it mean more?
I move ahead, without any answer