The India I Live In

Is this the India I live in?
Where azaan and hijab
are now somehow equivalent to jihad and threats?
Where freedom of speech is misused
to incite rape and violence?

My faith is no longer peaceful, but communal and disparaging.
I wake up and ask myself, am I the victim or the perpetrator?
Does my silence cost more than my lack thereof?

As I look outside, I find staying inside safer.
But what about those who have no shelter to seek?

What do I tell my son
when he asks me why the shutters are closed
or why our neighbour no longer sends us seviyan?

What do I tell my brethren–
those seeing their lives burnt and demolished,
their mothers and daughters threatened with rape and violence
as others stand by and cheer on?

I no longer belong to an India whose pride possession is secularism
or where the right to live isn’t a privilege.
I live in the India where communal hatred is running amok like wildfire,
engulfing all those who fail to see the hands that started them
and the hands that are scarred by the same.

I live in an India where a section of society is being erased,
their culture erased from books,
their existence looked through a tinted lens
of suspicion and hatred.

Yes, this is the India I live in.

Molly Agarwal is poet who has finished her Bachelors in Business Administration from IIM Rohtak.