Shantanu Bhowmik

(This song is for Agartala-based journalist Shantanu Bhowmik who fell last Wednesday to the marauding wrath of Hindutva-Fascist forces who are stirring race-violence based on historical indignations and inequities in Tripura today)

there’s no song for you tonight, Mr. Shantanu Bhowmik,
some people will rejoice, we know who they are,
and this is not about them.

as for us, we are too scared of being judged
after all, your ancestors were criminals, as were mine
as you know, buddy, crimes across history does lead to anger across history. some people rejoice in this anger, it makes them powerful, we know who they are,
and this is not about them

as for us, we are too weary too churn
how, thoughts, actions, words, pictures – bring some people closer, thwart some asunder
like all histories have ever been doing –
through all these wars and struggles big and small – across all these walls that we have built
in the name of all the shit that frightens us,
all that hollows us out,
that chokes our music
and snuffs our candles –
stern bricks like caste, race, creed, colour, religion, passport-stamps, public opinion, political mores of the enlightened et cetera et cetera.

personally, perhaps, a few of us will hum a timid tune or two for you, Mr. Shantanu Bhowmik, or sigh or weep for you – but all from deep inside these enlightened walls. like we sang and wept and sighed deep inside when that kid who got killed for wearing a shahid afridi tee-shirt had etched a small ripple across our respective information bubbles a few moons ago.

even then, some had rejoiced,
but it was never about them.

it has always been about us.
we are afraid
we are tired
ghosts haunt us every night

many moons down the line, these ripples will turn into smudges, and then, into indelible imprints,
and then, something incredible will happen
maybe, certain magic doors will open up
maybe, the ghosts will stop haunting us,
the bullies will stop bullying us
the killers will stop killing us bit by bit
we have the privilege to imagine
we have the privilege to dream,
to learn
to climb trees and mountains;
we are alive
we are afraid of political incorrectness
we are tired of all the killings
we are silent
we are screaming
we are criminals
we draw flowers
we draw pistols
ghosts haunt us every night
and the ghosts have taken all our songs for you tonight, Mr. Shantanu Bhowmik.

Atindriyo Chakraborty is a poet from Kolkota

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  1. K SHESHU BABU says:

    Even if they scream victory
    Of hindutva fascism
    And think that they have won their fight
    We will not relent
    This is our resolve
    And not about them

  2. Atindriyo says:

    yes! We must rise & fight.

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