‘We Have Witnessed’: A Tribute to ‘Hum Dekhenge’

A community of students singing Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s famous Urdu poem ‘Hum dekhenge’ at an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protest, resulted in the premier institution of IIT Kanpur setting up a panel to determine whether the poem is “anti-Hindu” in spirit.

The following is a poet’s appropriation of the poem for the current times.

We have witnessed.
It is certain that we, too, have witnessed
the day when the dream ruptures,
promised in the preamble of the midnight born.
When the cotton freezes into mountains
of tyranny, with masked faces and rods in hand.

When under the feet of the oppressed men
the earth lies dead, pregnant with dust bowls
and on the head of the ministers in power
the sky showers soothing rain.

In the Zion of brotherhood
when gods of segregation rise,
dividing souls with perjury,
When the angels of truth are thrown
into prison to live in isolation,
When the crown buys the sky
to dictate lightning, and the sea to dictate tsunami.

When the regime plays with the rights
of those whose hearts are in the left.
When the police are lapdogs of the crown,
assassinating the flowers that differ.

The time when only the voiceless survive,
in solitude, repeating commands
without sculpting an opinion,
reflecting with precision all orders,
as a spectator and blasphemer
against the constitution.

We have witnessed.
We are, and shall witness the same
without accepting rainbow names.

Sutputra Radheye is a poet and commentator on themes affecting the socio-eco-political scenario. His works have been published on Frontier, Countercurrents, Janata Weekly, Culture Matters (UK) and other platforms.

Featured image credit: Pariplab Chakraborty