• Achhe Din: Four Poems

    June 8, 2016

    Soibam Haripriya

    icf‘Typewriter Talks’, Shoili Kanungo, Image courtesy the artist

    Dystopia or Acche Din

    A meat for a meat
    That is the new law
    A meat for a meat
    A slaughter for a slaughter
    That is the new law
    Ram’s rajya is dystopia
    Sita’s blood is the colour of earth
    Ram’s rajya is dystopia
    Mohammad’s blood is the colour of meat
    Ram conjures up the menu
    Ravan weeps: all ten heads
    wishes he guarded Sita better
    Averted her ignominy
    Now, not even Gujarat’s vegetarian earth
    Swallows her whole
    Come to Lanka, Sita
    Ravan will ask the ocean
    Swallow you whole
    Have your death of the ocean
    It is your ancestral fault
    Your collective ancestral fault
    to have chosen such a king
    March towards the ocean
    Part the waters
    if you can
    or walk into it

    Ram’s rajya is dystopia
    What consummates his appetite?
    Meat cooked by torching of houses?
    Ravan, the ten headed demon king
    weeps with all ten heads
    Everything gets called a revolution
    But never it was before
    That a king’s deed
    was called a revolution

    In the absence of a corpse

    So, what should we do in the absence of a corpse?

    I heard he died in training
    In Bangladesh or Burma
    What day do we choose for the Shradh?
    Is this better than the stench ridden corpse?
    The son of the neighbour next door
    Reclaimed three days late
    Death degrading itself into stench

    The mother says “He isn’t dead
    I haven’t seen his ghost yet
    You see, there are no walls, to contain the dead
    They have to come back”

    In the absence of the corpse
    How do we convince her,
    she isn’t a half widow
    but a full widow
    And you thought half and full
    is only the proverbial water in the glass tumbler

    In the absence of the corpse
    Can’t we just get another?
    Give it her name and set it ablaze
    in her name

    Many do come back after the cremation
    Not as spectacular as second coming
    But no less a miracle

    They come back, sometimes to grief
    sometimes to happiness
    sometimes to indifference –which is worse than either

    You see, sometimes in the absence of a corpse
    We are given to too much hope


    Hear Hear
    Election is near
    Call to arms
    Armed one
    Armed all
    The enemy is here
    Quench your blood thirst

    Nothing is a mystery
    For those who see
    This is not a prophecy
    From the Indus on
    The enemy should recede

    It is easy you see
    Burn a train, plant a bomb
    Call it development
    And we will be blinded
    By dreams of blood drenched gold
    But it is only a dream, the gold
    But it is only an excuse, the blood
    Plant a rumour
    Let it sprout
    The enemy is beloved of your daughter
    Love jihad
    Jihad the jihadi then

    The republic drowns
    in riots
    Summer is freezing
    In silences of history
    In the sky
    One band of the rainbow is blood
    One is shards
    One is tears
    One is saffron
    The rest is silence

    Common Objects of Our Times

    You are common
    Your body is common
    You are as common as a corpse
    We will turn
    your body into a corpse
    Money is paper
    crisp but common
    One common object
    can be exchanged for another
    Your nakedness is common
    can be exchanged for another
    We will parade you
    one common naked body
    followed by another
    Naked bodies with orifices
    We will put common objects
    into common orifices
    A stone, A twig
    A stick, A baton
    A muzzle
    Common objects
    of our times

    Soibam Haripriya is Assistant Professor at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Guwahati. Her poems have appeared in an anthology Tattooed with Taboos (Partridge, 2014). Her works are also included in 40 under 40: An Anthology of Post-Globalisation Poetry (Paperwall, forthcoming).

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