Gaze, gaze into my eyes, he said
I gazed.
Take a deep breath, a deep breath, he said
I did.

Now what you see
Is only me
What you hear
is only me
See, it is dark everywhere
You see nothing

You see no one
not even me
Now you go to sleep
deep, deep sleep
you cannot open your eyes now
you try, but your eyelids are heavy
heavy with sleep.

Try, if you can, he said
I could not.
Lie down, he said
I just collapsed.

What is your country? he asked
Bharat, I said
Very good, he said

Look around, now
It is green everywhere
everywhere is plenty
and you have no hunger, he said.
My belly puffed like a ballon.
You have no cold, he said.
I was hot as if I had pissed all over myself.
Why do you bother to think, he said.
Leave that to me
You have no need to talk,
You have my talk.
Take the load of your brains off your head
You cannot think now.
Try, if you like:
I tried—
but it was a hallow boom in an empty shell.
Try, if you can talk, he said
I did,
but my balls were bashed
and my penis dangled like a pendulum.
Ah, you are my dog now,
wig-wag your tail, he said.
I looked for my tail.
Where is it? I couldn’t find it.
Die now, he said
I woke up, as from a whiplash

Translated from Kannada by Polanki Ramamurthy

This poem was written during the Emergency in India (195-1977), a 21-month state of emergency unilaterally declared Prime Minister Indira Gandhi from 1975 to 1977.

Officially issued by President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed under Article 352(1) of the Constitution for “internal disturbance”, the Emergency was in effect from 25 June 1975 until its withdrawal on 21 March 1977.