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Tag: #AmitShah

Still No Eternal Peace?

-after the speech, a drunk fascist speaks frankly

We taught them a lesson at Auschwitz,
we taught them a lesson in Gaza–
O, how we taught in Rwanda, 
Johannesburg and Durban.

In Chile and neighbouring lands,
we taught thousands to disappear–
we taught them a lesson at Wounded Knee,
in that church in Birmingham.

We taught them a lesson in Myanmar,
we taught several lessons in Delhi,
we taught such a lesson in Gujarat–
and still, they refuse to learn!
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We’re huddled at the junction 
     of five long, dusty paths:

 a swollen, hammering sun;
     withered wheat and grass.

As weary families near,
     a bald man points and screams:

Look at how they pray–
     it’s their fault, can’t you see?

Next morning, when I ask, 
     you say: It’s obvious– 

That was just Amit Shah
     trying to distract us.

That night, as our fan rattles
     we sweat into the sheets;

there’s thunder in the distance–
     we pray for rain and sleep.
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I Fall Asleep Reading Uday Prakash as Russia Invades Ukraine

I’m dressed in my best 
at the wedding hall
or is it a gym in Saket?

I’m not ready to marry
but don’t want to fight,
so I slip out for a smoke.

I meet a sweeper,
we chat for a moment,
he shows me a hollow wall–

there’s cash behind it,
he says, please take some–
it’s black, but free, for now.

Later, I’m sipping 
tea at a dhabba 
somewhere in Dhaula Kuan;

a plateless car 
pulls up and then
a tinted window rolls down:

Putin and Shah
laugh as they ask 
for samosas and directions;

Ayodhya’s their goal,
there’s not much time,
the fifth phase is nearly here.

   (Just before dawn, the northern sky 
   fills with neon lightning–

   thunder follows fast behind:
   the sound of young men dying.)
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Behind the Mask,

some things diminish:
the scent of morning dew
rising off sparse grass;
news of frying food
or what the cat 
killed three days back.
After sundown, in crowded 
market lanes we still hear 
the clamour of hawkers,
horns, engines, bells,
but we may miss the shift 
in the air as we move 
from smoldering coals 
towards crackling wood—
or the difference between 
distant rain and the leaking main 
under the road behind the park. 
Most nights, my dreams still smell 
like worried sweat and roses—

but last night I was locked 
in Amit Shah’s almari;
it smelled of moth balls mixed 
with anger, fear and whiskey. 

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Community Service

-One Future Friday in New Delhi

He was grumbling as he swept the floor 
of the Press Club of India’s bar. From where 
I sat, he looked vaguely and unpleasantly familiar, 
like a villain in an old TV serial, or a character 
from a childhood nightmare. I didn’t pay 
him much mind because the TV in the corner 
had started playing a story about next week’s 
big state visit. I was just a literary freelancer, 
but even I could tell this was important because 
all the political reporters had stopped drinking 
and were taking notes. Apparently, Greta 
Thunberg would be hosted by PM Zargar, 
along with Umar Khalid, Chandra Shekhar 
Azad and Devangana Kalita. They’d be taking 
the cycle path that ran along the newly cleaned 
Yamuna all the way to the Okhla Bird Sanctuary,
where the main ceremonies would happen. The 
political reporters started making calls right away—
most of them began with, ‘Hey, um, do you have 
a cycle I could borrow?’

I noticed the sweeper was now gently 
banging his head against a wall in the corner. 
I got a little worried, so I asked my friend
if we should do something about it.
‘Ah, you didn’t recognize him? That’s 
just Amit Shah—he’ll be fine. 
Of course he hates working here, 
but he knows better than most,
it sure beats Tihar Jail.’
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13 Ways of Looking at a Farmer

The dirt that clings 
to the potatoes you hold
came from a farmer’s field.

I dreamt a soft-spoken farmer 
taught me how to tell
when the corn is ripe.

It was still dark that morning 
we heard your uncle 
shuffle out to milk the cows;
eighty years old, 
and still a farmer.

On the coldest day of December,
a boy grafts a rose onto 
a branch of China Orange.
He wants to be a farmer.

Somewhere, the winter 
wheat is in the ground;
a farmer looks out 
at her field and smiles.

A farmer can tell you
how deep you must drill.

Listen to the creak and splash
of the farmer’s hand pump;
tonight there will be a wedding.

On Human Rights Day,
posters of political prisoners
spring up on Tikri border. 
Farmers are also humans.

It is cold on the Singhu border;
farmers light fires and plan.

Libraries sprout like tulips; 
farmers are readers,
spring has come early.

rupi kaur is writing about farmers—
she just called Modi a tyrant.

Are there three lakh or ten?
Perhaps it does not matter.
Amit Shah fears our farmers.

He worked with his hands in the city,
and stood up for justice each day;
as he passes, we sing for this farmer—
we grow from seeds he has planted.
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I Think of Umar Khalid

When I hear the gentle cooing 
of pigeons outside my window,
I think of Umar Khalid,

and when I see crows massing 
against an approaching bird of prey,
I think of Umar Khalid.

I think of Umar Khalid
when I see an autowala shaking 
his head as he reads the morning news

and when word comes that farmers 
and workers are marching again
after so many months of silence.

Just before dawn in Lutyens’ Delhi,
Amit Shah thinks of Umar Khalid;
he fears this time he’s gone too far.
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False Narratives

False Narrative (i)
-for Rahul Roy and Amit Shah

A book or film that relied on identically 
worded ‘witness statements’ 

in order to show that Kristallnacht, 
the Delhi riots, or any other pogrom

was caused by a conspiracy between
the victims of the violence and a shadowy 

group of doctors, feminists, student 
activists, and documentary film makers 

would be classified as, ‘fiction/fantasy’,
and hardly anyone would buy or watch it, 

because even by the standards of that genre,
it would be unbelievable.

False Narrative (ii)

You may spook the courts, 
    and even the press, 

but you won’t deceive 
    the rest of us:

fiction is fiction, 
    no matter who sells it;

a lie is a lie, 
    no matter who tells it.
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Popularity Contest

-after Rowdy Rathore 

I know social media shouldn’t be a popularity 
contest, but some days, I can’t help but think 
that if only I could trade in my simile generator
and the app I use to break and scan lines 
for an Instagram Meme Making Machine
(or at least a cracked copy of Photoshop),
then you would all like and clap and share 
my posts, even more than you already do!

I’d have to have a strong debut. Perhaps 
a long line of youngsters and parents,
all standing two metres apart, in masks,
waiting to get into Children’s Park.
At the entrance, they’d be greeted by 
our smiling chief minister, who would 
gesture to a newly painted sign board:
‘Please show proof of residence’.

But things move pretty quickly here,
and that meme would already be dated;
maybe it would be best to start at the top.
It would take some doing, but I could try 
a split screen effect on Press Enclave Marg;
on one side of the road, in Hauz Rani, 
we’d see ‘closed’ sign hanging on a police 
barricade near the corner of  Gandhi Park 
that once housed a lovely little protest library;
 on the other side, the PM would be greeting 
throngs of shoppers to the remodeled, rebranded, 
DLF Avenue mall. I’d have to script Modi ji’s speech
bubble; no doubt it would include something  
about the economy, ‘green shoots’ 
and the Mahabharata.
But in the end, friends, it would probably
be best to go with something timeless
and simple. How about Amit Shah, 
in front of the Delhi High Court?
He would be smiling a smile that could 
be read in more than one way as he 
leaned in to whisper in a judge’s ear:

Jo main nahi bolta,  
woh main definitely karta hoon!
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