Hushed.

You mustn’t talk about it
because it’s highly personal
and you mustn’t share such intimate details
with everyone you encounter
by discussing it so openly,
so casually,
so candidly.

You must make sure
that the only time you engage the activities
is in the privacy of your own home
or any such establishment
where you can be assured
that you shall not have any witnesses
who may or may not be uncomfortable
by the sight of you.

You mustn’t flaunt your identity-
it is disrespectful,
make sure you keep it well concealed
until you are within the confines of your own home
and even then you must maintain caution,
do not do anything
that could possibly offend the majority
because you shall be brutally punished
and shamed should you do so.

You must treat your religion like we treat sex.
Private, sacred, silenced and offensive.

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Morcha.

Desh ke gaddaron ko jootey maaro.
Jootey maaro unko
jo humaari zubaan ko modh kar humaari awaaz chheenna chahte hain,
jo humaari soch ko todh kar humaari aazaadi chheenna chahte hain,
jo humaare sharir ko maar kar humaare junoon ko ghayal karna chahte hain.

Desh ke gaddaron ko jootey maaro.
Jootey maaro unko
jo deshbhakti ke naam mein insaaniyat bhool gaye hain,
jo sarkaar ke kaam mein vyaktitva bhool gaye hain,
jo dharm ko aam karne mein sahin karm bhool gaye hain.

Bharat maata ki jai.
Uss maata ki
jo apne bacchon ko gaurav se jeene deti hain,
jo apne phoolon ko bedhadak khilne deti hain,
jo apne se bandhe har ansh ka haath thaamti hain.

Bharat maata ki jai.
Uss maata ki
jo apne bacchon ke khilaaf hathiyaar nahin uthati,
jo apne phoolon ko per se masal nahin deti,
jo apne se bandhe ansh ko kabhi dhokha nahin deti.

Obscurantist.

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Please,
make sure that you sweep the severed limbs and bodies,
and pile them up in the corner,
amongst the rubble,
out of sight;
do not forget to mop the streams of blood
flowing through the crevices of the broken tiles;
cover the child’s head with a cloth,
his tattered clothes are all that ought to be seen,
there must not be too much blood around him,
wipe it clean.

Please,
do not allow me to view the grotesque images
of heads without bodies
and clothes dripping with stale blood;
I cannot see the agonised tears
streaming down deformed faces,
eaten away by explosive fires and bullets,
covered in cement-
white as ghosts,
pale with death;
Hide the broken beds and destroyed walls from my sight,
or the foundations of my comfort and safety will crumble
with shivers of helpless distress.

Please spare me,
I am not strong enough.

“The danger is that, for fear of causing upset, we end up sanitising war.” -John Sweeney.

Unrecognisable.

Mother, I do not recognise myself;
what has happened to me?

My eyes were brown, mother,
you always said they looked like melted chocolate in the sun.
The smoke has made them black, now,
and they have been clouded by a darkness
which can see nothing
but the destroyed remains of our home.
My eyes no longer shine
with a child-like innocence, mother,
they are glazed over
with the cold, hard stare of death
and I can no longer cry
for my tears have been long dried
and I have no water
to replenish the drought of humanity
that persists in my soul.

My fingers were long and sculpted,
I remember
how you laced them with yours when we walked,
I don’t recognise them anymore, mother,
they no longer hold my prints,
they have been stained with gunpowder-
the prints of a thirst for power-
and they no longer belong to me
for they have been transformed into weapon holders,
owned by those who make me bleed a black blood
of armour, guilt and anguish.
My hands no longer create, mother,
they only destroy,
and the only paint available to them in abundance
is a scarlet red blood.

Mother, I do not recognise myself;
what has happened to me?
Who did this to me?
What have they done to you?
Why won’t you answer me, mother,
why won’t you breathe?