A Very Happy Republic!

Our king has lots to say –
His mann aches
so we have
Mann ki baat!
But the poor must die in silence.
We have too much noise
yet too less voice.

GDP is rising on paper
We are rich with empty plates.
In the mother republic,
we can’t raise questions
hush hush hush
shh shh shh
shut down BBC
Truth mustn’t be watched!

Students must be pelted*
The king must
put them behind bars.
Shh shh shh
don’t say a word
how a flawless Republic works!

Hold your hands above your head
and do the asana for healthy hearts.
You must practice silence
to know how the chariot of democracy
bulldoze through the smooth roads
of your fellow citizens’ house.

Two minutes of silence for the
mother republic.
Listen your king is announcing –
Happy Republic Day!

*Stones were allegedly pelted on the students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University as they arranged a screening of the BBC documentary on the 2002 Godhra pogrom.

Moumita Alam is a poet from West Bengal. Her poetry collection, The Musings of the Dark was published in 2020. The book has about a hundred poems written in protest against the humanitarian crisis from the abrogation of Article 370, the Delhi riots, and the Shaheen Bagh movement to the unbearable sufferings of the migrant labourers due to the unplanned COVID-19 induced lockdown.

Featured illustration: Pariplab Chakraborty