For this country of our fathers and forefathers
who laid down their lives to unshackle it
and rebuilt it with their sweat and blood
India of their hopes and dreams
the land we kiss, whose dust adorns our foreheads

We fight for the Constitution
collective conscience of wise men and women
who wanted to ensure that each one of us
savour the fruits of hard won independence
give back dignity that religion robbed from us
A blueprint of utopia where all stand equal

We fight for the idea of New India
that inspired Bhagat Singh and Gandhi
Ambedkar, Kitchlew and Ajmal Khan
beside the thousands who languished in dungeons
and died nameless and faceless in Kalapani

We fight for the love
of our countrymen whose forefathers chose
to throw in their lot with ‘secular’ us and
made this country their home
our brethren who, today
fear for their life and liberty

We fight for the right of our sons and daughters
to live in a free and fair country
where mob lynchings never go unpunished
and life is not determined by clothes or foreskin
we fight for our very souls
and everything we hold sacred

Nalini Priyadarshni is a feminist poet, writer, translator, and educationist though not necessarily in that order who has authored Doppelganger in My House and co-authored Lines Across Oceans with late D. Russel Micnhimer. She is the poetry editor of the literary magazine, The Women Inc. Her poetry, prose and photographs have appeared in numerous literary journals, podcasts and international anthologies including The Lie of the Land published by Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi. A nominee for the Best of The Net 2017 she lives in Punjab, India and moonlights as a linguistic consultant.


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