In dreams, I still hear, “Where the mind is without fear”
From the mornings of the fifteenth, the dances in school.
I live in the land of Tagore, I breathe with my head held high.
I dare to speak when a woman must not,
I hope for the safe comfort of walking alone on a silent street.
We have the time to fight, to make things right,
One day, one day we will not be begging for the cotton which soaks our blood.
today, the papers said Tagore will be an idol immersed in nine short years.
And Durga will not come back again.
This land is becoming hysterical, choking
On the putrid yellow muck and fume.
They say she is overreacting, an emotional fool,
This crazy, crazy woman you call mother,
It is as if no one can see,
The pipe down her throat comes out of their backyards.
Is the little girl allowed to question the wisdom that age brings?
She is scared, rightfully terrified,
For the children do understand,
Young kids will burn to their bones
And turn into charred stumps of wood.
They will die warm in their woolly coats.
So they sit, dilly dally,
Build talks and summits and whatnots
Where these little kids come and cry
Scream and plead.
They applaud, they smile,
“You have spoken well,” they chime.
Fool, I must be a fool, to wish for justice,
She can never be found,
The blindfold just hides her lifeless eyes.
When they passed the final verdict,
They decided to hang her with our mother.
Our roots are weak, weak for there is no panic, no tears.
So they sit on the highlands, talking and waiting for days,
Waiting for Tagore’s bridge to be buried under his beloved bay.
Aritraa Das is an undergraduate student of English literature in Kolkata and a published writer.
Featured image credit: Flickr/PublicResource