Every day we see new evidence of authoritarianism in India. We are turning into a country in which citizens are murdered or attacked for being rational, for being critical, for raising voices of dissent, for just being themselves; for being Muslim or dalit or women. Intimidation, threats. Hatred. Lynching. Sickening violence. Students and teachers compelled to choose between being leashed in thought and word or being hounded as seditious. Institutions built over the years weakened. Economy and development turned into exercises that mock the needs and aspirations of most people in this country. Secularism, scientific temper and rights promised in our Constitution subverted every day. Our democracy, our India, frayed. They want to tell us all what to eat, wear, read, speak, pray, think. They want to tell us how to live.
In these trying times, the act of love is a rebellion.
With paintings by Rollie Mukherjee, this week for Bol, poet and writer Nabina Das, through her poem “They are Kissing” shows us a world where love prospers, where Asifa, Junaid, and the countless others who lost their lives to hatred are alive and in love.
They are kissing on this page, in between
these smudgy words and ink stains
because it is their only rebellion, only
region, only map, their only religion.