Contemporary Literary Review India | Print ISSN 2250-3366 | Online ISSN 2394-6075 | Impact Factor 8.1458 | Vol. 8, No. 1: CLRI February 2021

Christine Wishnoff

Idea of India

Who may walk the halls of Hindustan?

Who may nurture the Idea of India?

Is it a place solely reserved for Hindus,

Or does it continue to welcome

The huddled masses of the sub-continent?

Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Parsi, Muslim alike,

Brothers in blood, cousins in culture.

Will it welcome me as a curious Westerner,

Looking up her mother’s skirt?

At one point, we all fell from her lap

In death, migration, diaspora and partitioning.

Previous lifetimes of soul experience

Bubbling up to swell the blessed Ganga.

India, my bride, my forever lover:

May I set our muhurta?

May I meet you under the mandap?

May I kindle the ceremonial fire and circle you?

May I festoon you in flower garland?

May I join our garments in knots?

May I apply a bright sindoor?

May I be allowed to honor you in

The ethos of an integrated state, or

Will we burn in the eternal flames

Of our primal divisions?

Can we finally join in cord, spirit and country?

With our worldwide brethren and bandhu,

Seeking completion in the bride of Bharat.

Devoted to light as against darkness,

Happily, ever after in the valley Indus.


Christine Wishnoff wears many hats of accolades. She is a poet, scientist, astrologer, and cultural observer. She has featured in iō Literary Journal, MahMag, Dissident Voice, Train River Press and Don’t Die Press among others.

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