An Ode to Safoora Zargar’s Child

You talk of rebellion,
I breathe rebellion.
When I was but lifeless clay,
my heart merely
a lump of twisted sinews,
the first beat was
with the banging
of the revolution drums
on the streets of a
thriving nation.
I, with my soul,
my valorous mother,
with her body,
called upon the
treachery of the treacherous.
She plodded and
screamed and fought
till every last breath
of her fearlessness
took seed in me.
I know of you and you,
you who have been
brought up on honey milk
and rose water. Look,
then at me, with nothing
in my haunted bones,
more than the barley
they serve in grim prison cells.
The racket of Tihar
still unsettles my nerves.
And on that morrow,
that surely comes,
the wind will see my nation
as golden as a bird.
Oh valiant mother!
I can hardly be as brave.
But blessed am I to be born
Blessed, to be in that dawn,
for we seek not heaven,
we build one on our own.


Safoora Zargar is a Jamia Millia Islamia student who, along with many others, was part of the nation-moving resistance against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens. She was pregnant at the time but that did not deter her from being at the forefront of the protests. She suffered extreme mental and physical strain, even having to spend time in jail after being arrested in connection with the February 2020 Delhi riots. She is currently out on bail.

The poem narrates the tale of her child. It takes into account the second hand experiences he has faced at the hands of an authoritarian government. From a critical point of view, the poem uses heavy allusions to make its a point. There are allusions from ‘The Tyger’ by William Blake, the Women’s March in Versailles, ‘An Ode to the West Wind’ by Percy Bysshe Shelly and ‘The French Revolution as It Appeared to Enthusiasts at Its Commencement’ by William Wordsworth.

The poet has been an acquaintance of Safoora, having been a part of the protests. He has closely observed the effort put in by her and other student protestors. The poem is not an expression of hyperbole, rather of harsh reality.

Hanzala Mojibi is a literature student at Jamia Millia Islamia, having been at the forefront of all the protests against CAA-NRC. Political and social issues charge his writings as he wishes to make a mark in people’s mind on contemporary issues. On a lighter note, an aspiring modern polymath, he loves writing, photography, painting, football, film making and getting to know random bits of knowledge that will never come to use in his life. You can find him on Instagram @hanzala_mojibi

Featured image credit: Pariplab Chakraborty