Seemingly from Sinbad’s endless
Nights, and with Mesopotamian
blazing beauty, you ask,
What is Your India?
The four Vedas, ancient promises
of Sindhu valley, the epics, cultural
diversities, Buddhist philosophies,
The eternal love on the bank of Yamuna.
Forts, temples, army, science—
The vastness, the population, the democracy,
non-violence, Telungana, peasant struggles,
Naxalbari, Charu Majumdar. Literature, literacy,
the music, the art, the cinema,
And finally, the landscape.
Then I ask you, what have you
found in India?
The new Indian churidar
made you a goddess. You reply,
Very nice, beautiful.
But I see more:
The widows of Yamuna, the red streets
of Kamathipura, The naked priests, half-burned
bodies in Ganges The devotion of animals
and penies Sacrifice of animals in Kalighat
Brothels in Mumbai,Hindu lunatics of Pune
The caste wall of Uttapuram, The outcasted
in the streets of Delhi, The genocide in Gujarat,
the army rules in North-east. The massacre
of tribes in Chattisghar.
You then say, And your men
stare at me, stare at my breasts.
Suddenly I feel naked.
Looking through glassy wings
In the courtyard of my childhood,
I once caught a dragonfly.
There were many, of different colours,
On the bushes, on father’s old bicycle
and the wall of the old well.
I touched its many-faceted eye,
Looked through its glassy wings,
Placed it on a stone and
Forced it to pick it up.
I cut its tail with my nail and pushed
A blade of grass through the hole.
When it flew away in uncontrollable pain
I laughed and danced and clapped.
Now, after twenty five years,
My courtyard spreads its hands to the world.
It’s grown as wide as the world; and
There are others catching dragonflies.
They place a dragonfly on a stone
And pour fire on its tail.
All remains the same, except,
Now, I am that dragonfly.
Bijuraj is a journalist and translator, lives in Kochi, India.Translated many writings, including poems into his native language Malayalam from English. Published 13 books in Malayalam.