Bishnu Mohapatra is Programme officer, Local Global Governance at the New Delhi office of the Ford Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation, he taught at the Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. His teaching and research interests cover a wide variety of themes such as modern political philosophy, democracy and pluralism in South Asia, methodologies in social sciences and social and cultural history of colonial India. He has also one collection in English translation.



What remains tomorrow
When I am no more?

Buds, fish, grasshoppers, cricket, and fruits
Trousers, slippers, bicycles and empty cigarette packets
Dried ink in a pen on the shelf
A gecko in love with the electric bulb
Pages of a torn book fluttered by a fan overhead
An old chair, a witness to
Many moments of helplessness
And defeat in time’s game of dice.

What remains tomorrow
When I am no more?

A dense forest of amri bushes
That scares me
A sweet, faint song
From a nearly toothless mouth
An eternally restless swan in the river
Swayed neither by death nor by the state.

What remains tomorrow
When I am no more?

– Translated from Oriya by Professor Jatindra K. Nayak


Mornings are all different.
Autumnal, tranquil, clever, cloudy,
Tigerish, brave.
No two mornings are the same.
Some grow to become adults,
some perish midway
like ill-fated children.
Another morning:
the school bus falls into the Yamuna