I feel burdened by this identity that society has consigned,
the constant stereotypes, ravaging questions, opportunities denied.
No, I don’t always wear a skull cup nor do I wear clothes white
I enjoy playing Holi, lighting diyas, dancing the Garba on a festive night.
I love this nation as much as thyself, I may complain but I don’t hate anyone,
I long to be seen as equal, as similar, as one; I too wish to be prosperous in times to come.
I work hard, help around, do my duties and pay my fair share,
Then why do I have to dwell in a ghetto in the middle of nowhere?
Why am I judged for eating meat? I too strive to fill the bellies of my family,
Why do I have to explain myself every Eid?
Where is Najeeb? I keep asking despite the silent stare.
Why did you kill Akhlaq? Do you have a reason to share?
The roads are still wet with the blood of Pehlu, Junaid’s screams echo,
Yet I see you do nothing, merely changing names of places here and there.
All I ask is to be seen as human, with feelings, aspirations and problems like all;
For it is 70 years of Independence and I continue to be confined to the social wall.
Asadullah Khan is a student at Ahmedabad University and is passionate about writing.
Featured image credit: Pariplab Chakraborty