• When Men Become Monsters

    The Citizen Bureau

    June 22, 2018

    A mob lynched 45-year-old Qasim to death and critically injured his friend Samaydin, 55, while they were shooing away a cow and its calf from their field. Rumours of bovine slaughter were spread through the area with the mob mercilessly beating the two men. This is one of the many incidents that have dotted the Hindi heart leans over the past few years. THE CITIZEN Reproduces a poem written in 2016 but that holds true today, two years later with the situation becoming worse not better.


    Image courtesy: Siasat


    Jhilmil Breckenridge Mar 2016

    Wake Up, My Country

    I wake to the news of another lynching
    As our boys scream Bleed Blue
    And over the border, the Green Girls rejoice
    And somewhere in Jharkhand
    Two families mourn the death of their men
    Cattle traders? Terrorists? Muslim?
    With cloth stuffed in their throats
    And arms tied behind
    Hatred showing in the mob mentality
    Another dark blot on our secular fabric

    And I watch a short film, India, India
    Of a young boy on Tuesday selling ganeshas at a temple
    Another image of the same boy on a Friday
    Selling taweez and chanting Ya Ali
    Outside Mumbai’s Haji Ali
    And on Sunday, the same boy singing the praises
    of the Lord outside a church, selling amulets
    And I smile
    This is the India I love, the different faiths
    The acceptance, the co-existence

    As the morning drones on, I watch and participate
    In the endless debates on Facebook and Twitter
    Of people posing, taking sides, sounding pedantic
    While they sit comfortably in their homes
    Sipping ginger tea made by an underage maid
    While their Labrador retriever is taken for a walk
    By their Nepali driver and the Muslim cook smokes a bidi
    In the garden with the Bihari maali where their son plays

    But what will happen to the sons of the lynched cattle traders?
    What will happen to the brothers of the women raped?
    What will happen to the mothers of the sons killed?
    What will happen to the fathers of the unborn children
    Killed for their mistake of being a girl child?
    Is this the India we want to grow up in?
    Is this the India we want to have children in?
    Is this the India we want to grow old in?

    Wake up, my country, it is still dawn
    The road is long and far and we have miles to walk
    Towards peace and freedom and love
    Towards acceptance and equality and oneness
    Get off that sofa and make a difference
    Participate, vote, empower, create, enable
    It’s up to you whether our country goes this way or that
    So, wake up, my country, it is still dawn
    Wake up, my country, it is still dawn



    First published in The Citizen.

    Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the writer's own, and do not necessarily represent the views of the Indian Writers' Forum.

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