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A Litmus Test of Indian Democracy, Poems from NaPoWriMo 2022 Day Thirteen

A house in Khargone being demolished / Courtesy :

A Qabr of Loktantra by Nameera Anjum Khan

Day 13, almost 10 PM

I have taken another breath. Alhamdulillah.

God wants me to live.

My purpose is a chameleon, like the one I saw in Terminator I,

Before Arnold Schwarzenegger draws into the picture. A villain this time.

A hero tomorrow.

It was all absolute fantasy to a wide-eyed 4-year-old,

She always wanted him to be the good guy;

But the plot had other plans / so did life.

The 7th Grade Science experiment still holds true,

When the Litmus Test gives an answer too cruel - the majority turns to turmeric. A feeble attempt to neutralize Democracy, to drown her in the yellows of Haldi; the newlywed bride. I can hear my Hindu friends laugh and dance around the Dholki, it'll be fine, just dance for now!

My ears translate: Just die for now. You will live soon!

A freshly dug grave.

Their tongues (The Politicians) are pink, Phenolphthalein if I'm not wrong?

That pink is the blood they drink. That blood is mine.

In the shadow of 'The Other' is my friend Dalit,

Suffering at the hands of an entire era, a sickness in propagation.

Even the help accorded to them was a form of 'Favour',

What is the point of reservation anyway?

The irony remains, that those who deserve the actual benefit, are still in the shadows of dawn.


Let us bury our 'untouchable' sins behind,

Let us drown our 'Islamophobia' in the waters of 'Uniformity', 'Secularity' and 'Legislation';

Let us rename this Democracy,

'A Qabr of Loktantra' - oh wait, that reminds me of Ganga-jamuna tehzeeb, my bad!

We don't believe in tehzeeb anymore. We believe in burning down shops, slaughtering a lover for loving beyond caste, demolishing a masjid thinking that the bhagwan in a Mandir is applauding such actions.

Much like the science-fiction, living in this reality leaves me wide-eyed;

Except that there is no AI holding me down by my throat. It is a human hand, much like my own.

Democracy speaks in 'third-person affirmation' by Mohua Chakraborty

you lay sleepless under

domestic garments of penance

dyed with saffron threads

on sacrificial thumbs,

democracy hunches around them

spinning emancipation tied to their feet;

a game of swiftness in

'slip of tongue'

on country streets,

sprinting in circles to devour

defining completeness,

veiling how moulds of fists

hang in an upright genesis,

draining shrieks to

bandage stomachs

that shelters hunger

till fortnight crawls up

to occupy spaces.

coward(ice) gets shunned in

bravery's nest and

you elaborate encounters

in piled-up charge sheets,

democracy snapshots

in blindfolded pixels holding

an (im)balance of voice boxes,

scribbling on the land of temples,

where urgency is a guide to

hiccup-prone clauses,

repercussions of which

stands out from the

deaf crowd muting blasts

mumbling at the rate

of 356 stitches per outbreak,

democracy speaks in

'third-person affirmation'

just before elections and

distributes miscarried promises

on the delivery day.

it fetches fire from voltage houses

to figure out candles

are made to drip into

nothingness yet brings out

reprimands in competitive marches,

high school mirages baptise

dismantled post boxes

lingering in a cabinet

full of frozen linguistics,

rising to step on output charts

ending up in penalty shots

embossed on victims,

trading blood for carbon scraps,

while realities are pirated on

the grave of inscrutable prescriptions.


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