Fighting Modi with a Poem

Some poems capture the tyranny of the time.  Sab Yaad Rakha Jaiga (All you do will be remembered), an Urdu/Hindi poem protesting the viciousness that the Modi Hindutva has unleashed in various parts of India is circulating in the social media. The author, Aamir Aziz, a young Muslim poet, lives in Delhi or Kashmir, or whereever Hindutva mobs have killed Muslims in screaming daylight. A few days ago, Roger Waters of the Pink Floyd rock band read parts of the poem in England to a gathering, sparking even more interest in the poem. The poem speaks to the hearts of persecuted communities in India, and everywhere in the world. Here I offer an interpretation of the poem, not a literal translation, as I believe this poem is inseparable from its language. The poem that Aziz wrote is much sharper than the interpretation I render in the following words. I have removed all punctuation in the poem to depict the ceaseless terror the persecuted communities bear.

Sab Yaad Rakha Jaiga

All you do will be remembered
Every bit of it will be remembered

all my friends you have slaughtered
with your batons and bullets
their memories will forever haunt our hearts
All you do will be remembered
Every bit of it will be remembered

we know you will write the lies
with the darkness of your pen
we would sure tell the truth with our blood
All you do will be remembered
Every bit of it will be remembered

in empty sunshine you have shut down
the internet the phones the cell phones
you have blindfolded the entire city
in melting nightfall you invade our homes
after breaking open the locks on our doors
you shatter to pieces our fragile lives
you slay our children at intersections
then you smile chanting soft mantras
All you do will be remembered
Every bit of it will be remembered

in the morning you say to the world in sweet accents
all is well o no there is no problem
as the night falls you hammer the shotguns
to attack us blaming us as the attackers
All you do will be remembered
Every bit of it will be remembered

it will be remembered how you conspired
to tear apart the people
it will be remembered how we craved
to bring us all together
All you do will be remembered
Every bit of it will be remembered

In the world histories of cowardice
your craven acts will be cited again and again
in the histories of lifegiving yearning
our names will be recited one by one
All you do will be remembered
Every bit of it will be remembered

your brutality wilted to break our resolve
your dishonesty flopped to muddle our conscience
we lived through a storm of seamless bigotry
we lived long after the news of our death
the heavens may forget to turn on the light
the earth may forget its practice to rotate
the flights of our broken wings
the voices of our wounded throats
will never be forgotten
All you do will be remembered
Every bit of it will be remembered

there is a difference between you and us
you write night we write moonlight
you write imprisonment we write freedom
you write criminal charges we write bring em on
We will never stop writing what you do
if you kill us we will write in the form of ghosts
we will write down the proof of every murder
you poke fun at us in the courts
we write justice on the city walls
we will shout so loud that the deaf can hear
we will write so clearly that the blind can read
you write black tulips we write red roses
you write tyranny on this earth
a revolution will be written in the skies
All you do will be remembered
Every bit of it will be remembered

so that your names are forever cursed
so that your statues are forever disgraced
your names and your statues will be preserved
All you do will be remembered
Every bit of it will be remembered

L. Ali Khan is the founder of Legal Scholar Academy and an Emeritus Professor of Law at the Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas. He welcomes comments at legal.scholar.academy@gmail.com.

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