Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Elections 2009 — I

Let's start with the ugly. That's easiest to spot. While in the NDA rally in Ludhiana on 10 May, Nitish Kumar clasping Narendra Modi's hands was a slimy sight, what was uglier than that was Badal Junior, Sukhbir, hugging the Gujarat chief minister. As a member of a minority community that suffered state-sponsored pogrom, one wonders how Sukhbir could embrace that shameless trader of death. What values, or lack thereof, does this espousal exhibit? That's for students of politics to decipher. I would go back to poetry. To a poem to be exact that my friend Laltu wrote after the Gujarat riots of 2002. The poem was in Hindi. Here is my English translation that I discovered recently on my hard drive.

It's too late

Little black drops can be seen from afar
Sitting in the bus we overlook them
Assured no matter how difficult the journey may be
In the end each one will get back home

The cold that freezes on the windowpanes
Pushes us close together
We don't know that what rains out there
Is clotted blood; even the blood of the real
That burns
And we still smell it in coals of memory
No longer startles us
Suddenly the bus turns on a bend
And with a start we wake up

The sound must be of the clouds
We think and our bus
Plunges in chemical smoke
It's too late
By the time we see
Gujarat
Written on each other's faces.

© Laltu

2 comments:

jesse said...

Yup, that's really really ugly. More ugly is the fact that rich businessmen adore Modi.

Charles said...

Hey Ashish, how about posting the original Hindi version of the poem. That would be of help as well.