An untouchable in fourteenth century western India, Chokhamela was cast out of temples because of his status. But his poetry captures this waiting, on the threshold of Hindu temple, without anger, without self-pity. Chokhamela belonged to the varkari tradition of Maharashtra, a sect that worshipped the god Vitthal but questioned the medieval orthodox Hinduism. The varkari tradition emphasizing simplicity is still alive in India today. Chokhamela’s verses are remembered not only because he was one of the very first writers in India of the untouchable class. His questionning of his marginality along with his realization of the god’s need and love for him, are themes that continue to resonate today.
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