this nation that was born
into freedom and of it,
finds today that to be what it was
meant to be, indeed free,
has become a brutal weapon wielded
against its own body.
the rhetoric of hate is
the face of masochism,
freedom here held hostage
and the ransom demanded
a monolithic, cleansed identity
a whitewashing of our mixed history
a convenient and selective impunity.
but freedom is indeed
an unwieldy thing
for those who haven't been
shown the joys it can bring,
too busy obeying or subjugating,
to them everything appears
like a trade economy,
freedom a dangerous anarchy
they are the unfortunate inheritors
of authority, of disguised deprivation
and a vision binary.
not weaned off historical privilege
their blood-milk forever boiling,
they resent the levelling
of the parched ground
beneath their feet.
the nation is their mother, you see
to be treated as a nursing machine
‘freedom’ destroys the age-old
hierarchies their ancestors built
so they could oppress the pre-othered
and let the pre-chosen
oppress their creed.
so we mustn't be surprised
that they don't see the irony
in calling free speech,
the very tool and toil
of our collective struggle
to become a nation,
an act of anti-nationality.
nor wonder why
their blood boils over
love between strangers
irrespective of caste and creed
for love like that is autonomy
a lesson in the power
that elected freedom can bring.
so the oppressed aggressor,
who has only learnt to form ties
according to the will of caste and kin
and stalks, gropes or rapes in between,
hangs the beautiful lovers from trees.
as an example of punishing
the form of disobedience
that may have returned to us this country
an example taken from
the white-man’s repository
but who can explain irony
to the pre-nationalists
with their clubs and their spears
and their lynchings,
who will tell them, those who prefer
the knell of hate to the music of conversation,
if it weren't for freedom there would not
a nation be, the one they are supposedly
They are only doing their immoral duty
to a delusional vision
of religious domination, ‘nationalism’,
just a temporary short-hand
to defend twisted and bloody dreams
fuelled by those who fly in other lands
as awakened creatures of a new world
as they leave the henchmen to do
their dirty deed.
not me, I cannot speak
to those unable to listen.
I speak a language polyphonic
of multiplicity, a language of the people
and theirs is a monologue
of limited vocabulary
one that with its droning repetition
threatens to silence any complex speech
with three words cried out
in exhortatory, militant zeal
they speak of nation as though
it is a multiple choice type
examination and the papers,
have been cautiously leaked.
nationalism now needs passing, it seems,
as it itself passes as several things
while universities are forced
to become factories churning
skilled labour degrees for those
who can join the rows of oil pumping
completing the demand and supply chains
of the neo-nationalist game.
ultimately it is only rhetorical strategy
the neo-nationalists hope to ride
the patriotism bandwagon
till the time they can be free
from the truth of the constitution.
they know not though, what is in store
these freedom bashers of tomorrow and yore
for when ball and chain come backlashing
when lies are the only truth you are telling
it's tough to see that the tail that's whipping
the belly is connected by a single spine;
you may be next in the hate-line.
when the thought of freedom ties you up
in muscular knots so that you claw
at those who in its fertile fields grow
reaching heights much greater
than your sins had allowed
you attack urgently, not so much
to control the speed of thought
nor the possible spread of equality
but from this damned
freedom be freed.
and so, if afraid of this
beautiful, secular, democratic
free thing that is indeed nation,
as it was born and meant to be,
you burn down the constitution,
the people’s collective grit
upon which the nation is writ
riddle me this,
who indeed is the real
“if there are no spoons
use a knife” they said
she did as she was told.
even after all these years
she doesn’t know
that the thing that feeds the mouth
need not cut the tongue.
you and I
we need not converse
with our laden words
or lend verse
to unbearable thoughts
of love's frightening possibilities.
just send me the song
that last touched your soul
or the one that
always fills you up with hope
and I'll play the beat that sweeps
the ground from
underneath my feet–
let the songs meet.
we don't even
need to speak
the same language.
music with its
will set us on fire
without one word
to each other
having been breathed.
their melodies twining
around each other,
the song-words lean over
and sounds kiss
perched on a rhythm.
and then I will wait
for you to sing.