Shame


10 Years have passed with no justice in sight, but the fight goes on. A poem by the famous Poet Satchidanandan on Gujarat Riots.

SHAME
K. Satchidanandan (translated from Malayalam by the poet himself)

( Written after a visit to the refugee camps in Gujarat after the post-Godhra genocide of Muslims in 2002.)

Returning from the refugee camps
I stand before the mirror
to examine myself: are there still
marks left to declare I am a Hindu?

Forehead, eyes, ears, nose, lips,
Chest, abdomen, limbs.

Yes, my body screams, yes:
your name, your speech,
the gods that crowd your memory,
the myths and legends you learnt by rote,
some beliefs passed on to you,
some laws you abide by, some rituals,
some symbols in your poetry.

It was you who did it, every cell
on my body points its fingers at me.

Say in shame, I am a Hindu, (1)
I am the murderer, the arsonist,
the rapist, the vandal and the cannibal.

Pardon, Najma, Laila,
Safia, Subaida, pardon.

I disclaim the vedas
that cannot stop the fire
that turns the living men to ash

I disclaim the Gita that
makes a duty of murder
I don’t want the wheel(2)
that maims infants
Nor the club that
batters the disarmed.
I don’t want the lotus
That signifies death.

Today I know: the colour of death
is not black, but saffron.
Don’t boast to me about
Valmiki, Kabir and Gandhi: (3)
they are perspiring in rags,
refugees amidst these refugees,
their memory choked with
the stench of burning bodies.
Don’t rave about Meera or Lalla,(4)
They sit there, sobbing, bleeding,
naked, heads bent , under
the harsh Gujarat sky.

River Sabarmati has dried up;
Narasi was never born here-(5)
Let’s just go back to the woods.

2002

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Shame

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s