with another year of festivities
democracy is still in deep slumber
secularism has been buried deep
as deep as the hatred
embedded forcefully in the hearts of many
under the pretext of religion
tolerance has taken flight

boycott being the flavour of the season
boycott people
boycott communities
boycott advertisements
boycott anything and everything
that doesn’t fit their idea of nationalism
boycott everyone who doesn’t toe the line

bringing languages under a scanner
making it the dividing factor
nitpicking on the choice of colour
ploughing through prayer calls
portraying one religion as superior to another
we are spiralling downwards
into the leaping flames of intolerance

subduing voices that dare to speak
slapping judicial cases on raised voices
targeting minorities during festivities
being celebrated by the majority of citizens
passing off ethnic cleansing as essential
hate politics ruling the roost
giving it the name of nationalism

polarisation is gobbling us up
its deep dark mouth wide open
eating up the very fibre that
our society and country are woven with
now would be a good time to stand up
for our brethren whose motherland this is too≠
to resurrect democracy and secularism
whose breath is dwindling.

Ranjini Iyer is a poet by chance and a feminist by choice. You can find her on Instagram @worthy_wordsmith.

Featured image credit: Pariplab Chakraborty