One Morning

And one morning the fires
leapt out of the earth
devouring human beings –
and from then on I only knew Fire.
I saw many learn the language and speak its tongue. I saw it spread across the land and engulf every hill and valley. 

From that day, the thugs roamed the land, demanding an identity from all they met.
One day they came up to me and asked where I got my nose from, then noted my address.

From that day, the children were led away and the parks closed down
and the blood of men ran through the streets
without fuss, like children’s blood, then hardened into memories, glistening black.

Many pick them up on their way to work.

From that day, I heard only speeches and no songs, and each night was pitch black and the playgrounds were filled with embers and broken bottles. I knew that Joy was gone. And in its place, the gangrene bloomed.

Germ

One day a bludgeoned man will become a martyr –
A martyr for his people, and his people will swarm around his corpse, feeding on his blood;
His blood will fill their bellies and drive their thirst;
They will descend on other people and infect them with this germ:
This germ is called Hate

And the murdered Khasi will murder Bengalis,
The murdered Bengalis will murder Assamese,
The murdered Assamese will murder Muslims,
The murdered Muslims will murder Hindus,
The murdered Hindus will murder Pakistanis:
This germ is called Hate

And Fear will raise its head,
And touch every single ear and heart
And those hearts will pound violently –
Their beat, the beat of an unholy legion,
Hidden behind Righteousness;
And Fear will strangle Love;
Love will collapse under the weight
And be laid down alongside
Truth and Decency:
This germ is called Hate

And Hate never baulks, it never blinks:
It is like a fire that burns everyone in its path,
It is like a whisper that contorts itself from ear to ear
Shaping Men’s resolve and weapons;
And Men will hold their arms out, waiting for its brand:
For only Men can hate, not the animals that kill innocently nor the insects nor the snakes;
It moves only within our blood:
This germ called Hate

The Murder of Bisheshwar Das

(In light of the fact that people with Right Wing sensibility are sharing my work, I want to make it known that I am against the Saffron/BJP or Jihadist or Republican Weltanschauung )

I had eaten a few times in your little shop, while waiting for a friend. It smelt, like all “chai dukans”, of sickly grease and day-old “ras”. Bits from customers’ tables littered the floor and any health inspector would say it was a breeding ground for vermin. Like all “chai dukans” it was at its best in the morning, especially winters. Everything fresh, relatively cleaner and the morning cold matched the warmth of the tea. It was a feeling one looked forward to and I am sure the “kids” at Sankardev would say the same. I wonder what will happen to it now that you are no longer around.
_____________________________________

I will not apologize for my community because these people do not represent my community. My community, as it is today, does not represent “my” community.

A community that is blind to the pain of others, that keeps its ears sealed and mouths shut, and worse, brains blunt.

A community of “Christians” that worship at the temple of Corporate Excess.

A community without a spirit or past, a community of Sunday suits and alcoholic deaths.

A community of equals, except when a woman speaks up and then she must “shutthefuckup”.

A community that does business with Fascists over the coal-mines and cement plants of Jaintia Hills.

A community where class and caste does not exist, except if you’re poor or if you suddenly take off the shades.

My community is not this mess. It is not what Khasis or Dkhars say it is in interviews, articles, blogs, books, poems. It is a community open to change and dynamic but self steering, solid in traditions but not immutable.

Bah Das, whose samosas filled stomachs, and whose very existence provoked thought. On communalism, poverty, multi-culturalism, immigration- you know, the current stuff. In your own way, you brought richness – infusing “foreign” thoughts and words into our own – as it’s always been. What will happen now that you are no longer around?