national pride


i only see the saffron – slogans,
sticks, iron rods, crimson canvas –
sheathing the green and whites
with curdled screams and cow
motifs, hoisted in shameless ink –
ring-ring- stand up for the forced
bling of pride, pious and stuck
to a dominant lie, of a citizenry –

i only see the next bullet-ridden
gauri, or a broken-bodied pehlu,
amid the uproar of mob-guided
patriotic pleasantries – trishuls
overcoming law, smiles baked
in a clay cauldron of disorder –

i only see you and your voice-
less pathos, the spokes of dharma
tangling dashed freedoms, and
zealot jingoism – blood is the color
of my flag, bone is the color of
my future – another one is hanging
by the rope – green and white,
in an asphyxiating, state-sponsored,

moderately-stylized saffron tide —


Image source (Illustration: Cleon Dsouza)

For Poets United Mid-Week Motif. I took a more radical route, but that is intended in the world that we live in — nationalism or patriotism of any kind, be it associated with a particular ethnicity or religion, should never take precedence over the basic tenets of humanity.
The tricolor (Indian flag) denotes renunciation (saffron), the path of truth (white), relationship with the earth and nature (green) and the law of dharma (Ashok Chakra in the middle). In the contemporary context, the meanings have evolved or rather have emerged to build up an atmosphere of cultural and national jingoism, as can be seen in many nations around the world today. I talk about the saffron because that is also the color used by Hindutva outfits, thereby referring to the violence perpetrated in the name of religion in the last four years particularly. Certain links have been embedded wherever a few other references have been made.


Indian Harvest Haiku

the crops harvested

bhangra of celebration

 voice of beating drums


फसलों की कटाई

खुशियों का भंगड़ा

बजते ढोल-नगाड़े


* For Carpe Diem # 276. I have translated the haiku in Hindi as well.