- Global Voices - https://globalvoices.org -

India: Poets on Mumbai Terror

Categories: South Asia, India, Pakistan, Arts & Culture, Disaster, Governance, Humanitarian Response, Language, Literature, Religion, War & Conflict

This post is part of the Global Voices special coverage [1] on the terror attacks in Mumbai, India on November 26, 2008.

Nothing articulates your heart like a poem. Sometimes the complex composition of a poem simplifies complex issues of life, sometimes it helps you come in terms with your surroundings. Poets from India are saddened by the recent terror attacks in Mumbai. You will find them asking questions in their poetry and sometime they are even answering them for us. Here are a few snippets of their expressions.

glory [2]
Glory: Image by Flickr user 50mm [3], used under a Creative Commons License [4]

A 12-year-old girl from Bangalore sets her thoughts on fire. Soon after the tragic news of the hostages at Nariman House being killed was aired, Lavanya shut herself in her room for about 15 minutes and later handed her dad Anand Krishna with a poem titled ‘The city that never slept, slept’ [5].

[…]More lives are lost,
More battles fought.
The war was raging on,
The guns just fire everywhere,
Victory goes to no one.

The terrorists may be killed,
But the void of the lost loved one is never filled.
The roads are empty, there is no sound.
Mumbai, the city that never slept,
Slept long, deep and sound.[.]

Vivek Sharma at Desicritics used metaphors from epic Indian Tales to describe the Mumbai terror in his poem, “Mumbai burns [6]”:

[.]Did you see the sobbing reporter describe how the Taj of Mumbai burns?
How many will Asuras (devils) cause to die before O Vishnu as avataar returns?

The fanatic bullet hunts gazelles everywhere that nostalgia mourns.
Where is the machine crafted that chokes our unfinished yearns? […]

Teal titles her poem ‘Battle without a cause [7]’ at ~ Spero ergo sum ~. She ultimately longs for peace. But her never ending questions are opaque:

[…]Has the power at center gone completely callous

focused on nothing, but creating chaos, raucous?

How many more to die, how many more to lose

Until they get the backbone to act, and set loose

The act of retribution, against these evil minions

Who, despite education and well bringing, act heinous

How dare you take away something that god has given?

How can you walk on, like nothing ever happened?[…]

Sandhya Ramachandran cannot smile in peace anymore. She finds no place to go and hide from terror in her poem, “Why can’t I smile in peace? [8]

[…]I seem to have no streets
to run and play and fall!
There is no place to cycle
no place to hide and crawl

I am a little kid of seven
with her book and toys and doll
Why can't I smile in peace
It is my world too, after all![.]

Ashq, a 28 year old engineer from Rajasthan wants to know when all this will end.  He titles his Hindi poem, “Aakhir kab tak? [9]” (Untill when?).

-ये सपने नहीं जानते ,
किसी हिन्दू को न मुस्लमान को ,
न ये जानतें है हिंदुस्तान को , न पाकिस्तान को ,
फिर क्यों उन्हें ही चुकाना पड़ता है हर बार इस क़र्ज़ को ,
क्यों भूल जाते है वो ‘कायर’ मानवता के अपने फ़र्ज़ को ,
क्यों आतंक को हमेशा जेहाद कहा जाता है ,
क्यों धरम को इस तरह नंगा नचाया जाता है I

They don’t care about dreams
If you are Hindu or Muslim
Nor do they care
If India or Pakistan
Why then do they always pay the debt?
Why do those cowards (terrorists) forget their duty towards humanity?
And name terror as jihad
(Where) Karma is made to dance naked

Shreya Tiwari from Mumbai is calling every Indian to come together and join hands against terror in his Untitled Hindi poem. [10]

- आगे आओ मिलकर हाथ मिलायेंगे ,
भारत को फिर से आजाद कराएँगे ।
समझो बस इस धरती को अपनी माता ,
समझो सबको अपना ही भाई – भ्राता ।
नही ज़रूरत मुझको तख्तो ताजों की ,
नही ज़रूरत स्वागत की और बाजों की ।
मुझे ज़रूरत सबकी देश सुरक्षा में ,
मै मांगू बलिदान देश की रक्षा में ।
बोलो क्या मै ऐसे ही चिल्लाऊंगा ,
दो ज़बाब क्या ऐसे ही मै गाऊंगा ।
इंतज़ार है मुझको देश के पुत्तर का ,
इंतज़ार है मुझको सबके उत्तर का ।

Come ahead and we’ll join our hands.
Try to free our country from terror
This land is our mother
And every Indian is our brother
I don’t need any crowns neither do I want to rule
I don’t need you to welcome me
We need to unite to protect this country
I need your blood for this nation
Tell me would I remain screaming?
Tell me would I remain sing like this?
I am waiting for this country’s child
And I am waiting for your replies.

If you would like to share a poem, please add it in the comment section.