Monday, March 30, 2015

Maruti Swift

It takes a 1248cc diesel engine,
4 cylinders,
16 valves,
a max. torque of 190 newton meters 
@ 2000 revolutions every fuckin' minute,

it takes rack & pinion steering
& drum brakes & disc brakes
& steel tyres,

it takes one thousand five hundred kilos of metal
moving, always moving 
in 48 second loops on the assembly-line,

painted & cut & bolted & fed
by workers.


on 9 hour shifts,
one 30min lunch break,
and two 7 minute tea-cum-toilet breaks
(those two-seconds-late-&-pay-cut-breaks)

it takes "if my leg itched, I do not even
have time to scratch it,"

it takes waiting
for one's own fingers
it takes white-hot "discipline" cut by teeth,
welded by metal to townships
with smoke-grey evenings

it takes 13 days of occupation,
months of sit-ins, lock-outs, it takes 147 workers
arrested on manufactured evidence,

to make one of these.

(thanks to Anumeha Yadav, Satish Dalal and Imaan Khan)


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Yuvraj Bajaj said...

I am quite never able to post comments, or say things. Thought which prevents me to comment is: Oh, Akhil knows me, right? If I comment, even on this (assumption being, I comment on your facebook posts 10,000 times a day), he will think I am being such a something/pest to his life.

But tonight, I am so tired, that i can not care for this thought. So here it is.

I loved this poem. I heard it on May Day. I was sitting there, and with each line - I was being swayed by what was happening.

Months later, going with my dad - who works in an 2wheeler parts manfacturing company dealing with Maruti; asked him sort of: is there some tension between maruti and it's employees. He told me, maruti gives their workers children admission in an international school; the pay which they get is 1.5times more than what employees (at same level) in other companies get, there are other benefits. Yet they do like this. Almost saying: bloody ungrateful.
There, I told him - I had heard a poem quite saying the opposite.

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