Friday, June 20, 2014

Yellow night

In the painting of darkness
I found the light
His moon painted yellow
In a yellow starry night
where sun can be imagined....

Imagine the yellow!
it’s a fool’s play
A colour in the frame, that reality betray
Imagine the real, imagine that’s right
The poet thus quietened, the painter crucified.

Monday, June 16, 2014


I can never write a poem
but I struggle with one
for the forbidden words 
silenced by shame and shyness
need a cover

I can never paint
but I hold a brush
to sketch the dreams i dare to live
the dreams that find no place
except for the white canvass

I can never sing
yet I cleave to the guitar
for the hope of music i long to hear
the unsung tunes that it will sing
where notes of love has gathered dust

I can never die
for I yearn to live
the million deaths that come to me
to see a bloom in the darkest grave
where we thought it can never be

The Trial

I won’t answer your questions My Lord
I am a criminal at your court
and that’s all it matters
so hang me

I do not justify my cause
as my whole being is unjustified
except for the filth I must carry
that validates my life

I could not claim life
but allow my claim for death
save the words that can bring me glory
spare me the trial

I’ve been tried every moment
at the altar, trembling
awaiting justice in the dusty piles
only to be hanged

I do not plea for justice further
but today I choose to demand
my freedom from your mercy and trials
I repeat thus My Lord
Hang Me.

(following the play- "court martial" and events)

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Preamble and Determinant of a Dialogue

The hall was full, the dialogue was to begin. The fiery take of Ambedkar  against the caste system was to be brought on stage through the pen of Arundhati Roy. The issue probably one of the most important that questions the endorsement of a democratic India. The thoughts inspiring, dialogue engaging. However among all these stood a discord in the sidelines, can Roy introduce the thoughts of Dr. Ambedkar! Roy, an image often perceived as split between dissent and elite discourse is up for the trial.

The question is not however limited to Roy. For a significant section of the citizen who is not born into a cause or apparently do not belong to the platform-may be caste, religion or some other socio-economic issue- the social context and pertinence of engagement remains a central concern. The engagement of citizenship is constantly fraught with the question of “can they”!

The question is not without merit. Often in the vogue of being part of a social cause, there is a penchant for such participation. Not to deny such trend is apparent, rather can be argued is in a rise with the proliferation of social media. The sentiment of the people against it, who are at the receiving end is also perfectly justified.  But as much as it is important to secure the seed of a dissent or resistance, it is problematic if the choice of constituents is determined through the understanding of symbols.

From khadi-wearing activists to black-tie policy makers, the preamble of symbols is entrenched in most public discourse today. Symbols are important as they manifest representation in a collective manner. The red headband does stoke the fire in the darkest dungeons. It is equally true that a climate controlled existence cannot survive the sweat of the naked sun. But it becomes problematic when the perception of symbols become greater than the cause; and as it does so we tend to live through impressions than means. In the process of eliminating perceived weeds, we fall into the same trap of losing out on the cause by the process of symbolic selections.  The possibility of diversity is reduced to singularity possibly feeding into the marginalization.

Dialogues are often uncomfortable as they entail plurality. But the success of a dialogue also lies in assimilation of the plurality. And without such assimilation, however uncomfortable the platform might be to begin with, the triumph will remain incomplete. Certainly we need to be cautious about a movement just being reduced to a drawing room conversation, but we also need to be cautious about restricting its territory. So I say, let Arundhati speak and let the annihilation knock at the door of the protected, even if late. Atleast there lies a possibility (however small) of opening some doors, otherwise there only rests the longstanding divide.

Monday, February 14, 2011

When Revolutions are Televised

It has been amazing over the past few days watching people celebrate the toppling of the “Mubarak Empire”, an empire whose existence became the most hot-seated issue overnight, but remained barely criticized by the general mass (outside Egypt) until the revolution was televised. As I continued to dissect the Egyptian political structure following the “intense” news updates every moment, few disconcerting thoughts kept passing my mind that will hang on for a much longer period after the revolution-tide subsides. Let me put it this way, do we really honor revolutions, or are they celebrated because they give a kick to our humdrum existence of conformity? Why do we need a “televised revolution” to evoke political thoughts, while our conscience remain complacent disregarding (or being ignorant about) hundreds and thousands of struggle that are not “blockbusters”!

My thought on the celebration of revolution is not mere suspicion. Though I certainly feel that heroic acts (by individuals or the people) needs to be celebrated, but if we reflect on ourselves, how many of us are ready to share a slice of “unconventionality” (set aside revolution) and walk the walk in our everyday lives, from choosing grocers to making decisions about livelihoods! The overthrowing of symbolic “dictators” are cheered, but the faceless forces that dictate our lives are “re-established” on their thrones after the most shameful abuse of power, with little scorn, and a lot of relief (reserving fringe incessant criticisms). Our emotions overflow with the “liberated” crowd in Egypt, but remain dry for the people of Dhinkia Village in Orissa, where thousands just lost their independence and livelihoods to POSCO!

Revolutions are mostly culminations of discontent, discontent towards the oppression by “power”. But following the pattern of recent upheavals around many parts of the globe, it seems that we have significantly narrowed our understanding of power. As our “free” society matures, we grow increasingly intolerant towards the dominance of individuals, while yielding to more complex and far more demanding power structures. That is why we probably choose to contend Mubarak and celebrate his demise, but not Wall Street.

P.S: Please do not confuse me with Mubarak sympathizer