For Umar Khalid

On days when I am so furious
with the brutal barbarity of our fascist government
that I want to demolish every place
from where it continues to wage wars
against our own people.
I think of you
along with other comrades
unlawfully locked up in prison cells
and I remember your patience and perseverance
against the tyranny and cruelty
this world’s largest ‘democracy’ has showered on you.

Although I cannot imagine
your hot sunny days and cold starry nights
in the ghost town of Tihar
I know that your defiance and courage
is no less than that of Hercules
and you will defeat this monster that is UAPA
I can’t help but hope
you will be free soon
you will laugh and show solidarity with your friends
you will embrace your loved ones
you will continue to walk on the path of dissent.

During this Ramzan
when you look up at the sky to pray
I hope you see the moon and the stars
and remember the words of Iqbal and Faiz
and hold on to them
as we pray for the tarikh of your azadi
to come sooner.

I read that you recently said,
“I’m getting bored” in jail.
I hope you turn this boredom
into writing hours without deadlines
and continue to write more prison diaries
that will serve as footnotes to the new manifesto
of revolutions
of protest anthems and slogans
until you’re free to chant them with us
on the streets of Dilli once again.

– Yours, a fellow anti-national
(Chand roz aur, meri jaan, faqat chand hi roz)

Aaditya Pandey is a student of Journalism in Delhi. He reads a lot about art, culture, and politics, and thus, consequently, attempts to write sometimes.

Featured image: Umar Khalid. Photo: BASO