The Killing of Shambukas*

Chandramohan Sathyanathan, from Kerala (India), is a Dalit poet. His first poetry collection ('Warscape Verses') was published in 2014. This poem draws its inspiration from the poem Strange Fruit (1937) by a Jewish communist Abel Meeropol and is based on suicides of Dalit-bahujan students in institutions of higher education in India. Vemula Rohith is the most recent victim.

Jim Crow segregated hostel rooms.

Ceiling fans bear a strange fruit,

Blood on the books and blood on the papers,

Black body swinging in mute silence,
Strange fruit hanging from tridents.


Chandramohan Sathyanathan


* According to Valmiki Ramayana, Shambuka - a shudra ascetic - was beheaded by Rama for attempting to perform penance in violation of dharma.


Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

  • JDS is the Sri Lankan partner organization of international media rights group, Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The launching of this website was made possible by the EU’s European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), of which Reporters Without Borders is a beneficiary.