Bystander

candle
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

I had heard of people in abusive relationships—
Of torture made to disappear,
Of tyrannies of the mind calculated to blind and
crippling dependence cultivated,
Of phantom foes and spectral fears
and hollow promises renewed,
Of shrunken lives under constant vigil
terrorised into compliance,
Of gaslit rebellion and curfewed movement,
isolated from the world’s concern;
I marvelled at how all this endured in the name of a love
possessive, protective, powerful
before the world’s indulgent sigh, and resolved—
never would I submit to this or ignore it happening to another.
And yet, and yet, I stand by and watch
as a nation plunges into darkness those it claims its own.

Rituparna Sengupta is a PhD scholar in Literature at IIT Delhi. Her reviews of books and films have appeared in various newspapers, journals, and websites, and are catalogued here.


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