January 26, 2020

Soundscapes: India 2010 - 2020

Today, take a moment to reflect; even after seventy long years of India adopting the Constitution, how much of it are we adhering to? How much of a Republic have we truly become?

I listen intently, eyes shut tight

They say my country speaks at night 

Of riots, of fires, of whispers and wails

Of how criminals can walk free on bail

While the families they have ruined

Are terrified to step out of the house at all 

My country speaks of religion and caste

Of how long consequences of each can last

When what we eat and what we say 

Bend us, break us, make us prey

To lynching by mobs, man slaughter by goons

Backed by ‘babas’ who are certified loons 

Of Ayodhya and Babri, the settlement sore 

Of Ram-Rahim feeling they each deserved more 

Of fishing for votes by claiming Hanuman Dalit

And pampering the likes of Mehul, Mallya, and Lalit 

Who after feeding on public naiveté

Like hungry vultures 

Transform into sea gulls and circle foreign shores

My country talks of wedding extravagance and a royal guest list

And while the common man clenches his tired fist

Antilia grows another storey

While some other stories are silenced

On Twitter, at weddings, amidst crowded streets

And sometimes in the veranda of their own homes

‘It was a heart attack. He couldn’t make it to the hospital’

‘Go to Pakistan! Anti national!’

‘She deserved the bullet, she was too rational’

Intolerance, fabrication, pushing blame 

Appropriation of an innocent’s name 

My country talks of emotional hypocrisy 

It scoffs when I say it’s still a democracy

CAA, NRC it points out to me 

And asks if I still believe it is free

Free to call its children its own 

Free to embrace love and love alone

From afar, a blood curdling scream

Pierces the silence, and disrupts my dream

My eyes fly open, I see them fight

I know now why my country can’t sleep at night 

© Priyanka Naik

Writer's note: 

I am aware today is the 26th of January and our patriotism is at its zenith. I am also aware my poem 'Soundscapes' might seem like a gulp of bitter medicine to some, difficult to swallow. However, I have never been the one to sugar coat things. And so it stands...start, brutal reality. Right in front of you in print. Recap of the decade gone by in poetic verse. Who said poetry was for the faint hearted?

“This post is a part of ‘DECADE Blog Hop’ #DecadeHop organized by #RRxMM Rashi Roy and Manas Mukul. The Event is sponsored by Glo and co-sponsored by Beyond The Box, Wedding Clap, The Colaba Store and Sanity Daily in association with authors Piyusha Vir and Richa S Mukherjee”

It was this decade hop that made me delve on all that we experienced together as a nation in the past decade. Initially, I wanted to write about all that India had achieved in the past decade (of course there was the Commonwealth Games, launch of the MoM - Mangalyaan operation, Scrapping of article 377, eradication of polio etc), but as I continued to jot down all that had happened year after year in the decade, I realized there was, spontaneously and unintentionally, a much longer list forming. A list of atrocities India was subjected to. A list of calamities it had faced. A list of struggles it had endured, of discrimination it had suffered, A list that could only make my head hang in shame. 

Even right now, as you're reading this, the situation in our country is fraught with tension and strife. Dirty politics, blame games, smothering of the truth, media games.
As much as I tried to include the ‘good’ the decade had shown us, the terrible that we had to witness screamed out at me, as if it was India saying ‘Don’t you dare cushion the blow I had to suffer.’ 
And that is precisely how my poem 'Soundscapes' came to be written... 
as a response to the innumerable sleepless nights and anxious days we faced together.
as a voice to awaken those who are asleep, oblivious of the struggle the less privileged are facing.
as a reminder of all that we fought and survived (and sometimes succumbed to).

You, who snore tonight, India is awake, struggling, sobbing, crying, protesting...but nevertheless, hoping. Still hoping. Forever hoping...

For a new tomorrow...
where we will regain all that we have lost, that India will truly become a sovereign democratic republic, and secure to all its citizens Justice; social, economic, and political; Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith, and worship; Equality of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all Fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity of the nation.

On that note, I remain... 

Worried yet hopeful, 

An Indian