The spreading saffron
first it rolls into sticks and stones,
beating and piercing saffron into those whose blood
stays rebelliously red.
Then it crawls into our minds
through the noise of hatred that
stretches out of speakers,
and into every human ear.
Then it moulds itself into letters,
forming words in history textbooks
that are to be swallowed by impressionable infants.
Then it wraps itself as a long, saffron sari
around Mother India,
while that same sari is forcefully snatched
from women who carry the weight of society
on their shoulders.
I can see the saffron entering guns,
and proudly taking lives.
Saffron is growing taller,
spreading its hands,
concretising itself within brick walls and electric fences —
daring you to cross it —
saving me from them, and
shielding us from the similarities of the other.
Saffron is spreading
because nothing spreads faster
than the stench of fear.
when did a colour become
the most powerful weapon of hatred?
Saffron is spreading,
tainting the one pure thought
I had reserved every day for myself.
Saffron no longer echoes honesty,
but leaves a treacherous trail of lies
after the words of the constitution,
dropping grenades of hypocrisy on law and order,
destroying the colourful diversity of humankind as we know it
until all that is left
is the horrifying trauma
of a single colour.
Not in my name.
Not as long as I,
as long as we,
the deformed, the sinful thinking, the bent out of shape,
melt all the hatred they shoot at us in bullets,
fill it into the ink of our pens,
and write songs of love.
Songs of sedition.
Songs that break open the saffron cage,
freeing all the other colours,
allowing them to spill outward.
So that our thoughts
become ours again
becomes ours again.
Saranya Subramanian is a 22-year-old literature aficionado based in Bombay. She spends her time singing to herself and watching Madhubala videos (sigh). And she writes because, well, it’s all that she can really do.
Featured image credit: Reuters