When the State Fears a Poet: Varsha speaks up for her uncle
Boston Review / by Varsha Gandikota-Nellutla
On Saturday, I checked my phone and saw that we’d heard from my uncle, currently a political prisoner in India. “I’m alright,” he said. But he wasn’t alright. His voice was weak and feeble, and his words, disjointed, slipped into Hindi instead of his beloved Telugu. For over six decades, Varavara Rao, the revolutionary poet, captivated generations with his critical poetry and prose. That he was anything less than articulate, let alone incoherent, was a gut punch. The goal of Narendra Modi’s administration has been to silence those like my uncle. Had they succeeded?