Oh God! End this, the young man begged,

As he lay on earth covered in mud,

Streaks of hot blood pouring down his form

And limbs that lay battered and numb.

 

He knew he had done nothing wrong,

He hadn’t snubbed or brought disdain.

Yet they called him a “filthy sinner”

As they struck his head with intense wrath.

 

Don’t strike me so hard, I am just a kid,

My mom wouldn’t bear to see my pain,

If I did indeed do wrong,

Just let me go and I’d flee for good.

 

He looked around for a humane face

One that would save him from the ire,

But all the eyes around him screamed,

“We’ll never let you go alive.”

 

What have I done that angered you?

I’ll do everything to make amends!

As he tried to ask for forgiveness,

Another blow blinded his eyes.

 

Oh people, I’ve done nothing wrong

But I know not how to prove I’m clear.

All I ever dreamed in life,

Was just the freedom to be myself.

 

Bloody beef-eater, you’ve wronged our gods,

Said a red-eyed man in between blows.

If you want to eat as you please,

Get the hell out to Pakistan!

 

Oh no, my brother I’ve not done so,

Meat has long been out of our bowls

Since that fateful day my dad was killed,

For the chicken he bought to celebrate Eid.

 

When dad was lynched in broad daylight

By a saffron mob amid chants of Ram,

In us they sowed fear; not just of meat,

But also of neighbours, cows and Ram.

 

O! Mother, here I am, helpless and dying,

I know you’re home waiting for me.

The dreams we shared a day before,

Of Eid tomorrow and merry and fun.

 

No mother, don’t cry, this is not your fault,

These brutes knew well what my lunch-box had;

White rice with dal and a spoon of ghee,

Peppered lavishly with your love and sweat.

 

Your heart would break when you see my body,

My broken knuckles you would hold with warmth,

My shattered head you would lovingly stroke,

And the lips with which I would kiss goodnight.

 

Stay strong my mother, you’ve none left now

To lean on for comfort, to share your woes.

Forget me for your own safety,

Or you’d find yourself amidst more rage.

 

As I feel my soul rise up my throat

Raring to leave my shattered frame,

I know my mother will never smile,

Forever haunted by my bloodied face.

 

I hope justice is served one day,

In a world where judgments can’t be bought.

Where judges aren’t future politicians,

Who’ve sold their conscience for power and wealth.

Shaj Hameed is an Indian national presently working and residing in the UAE. Holder of post-graduate degree in Journalism & Mass Communication. Avid reader, aspiring writer. Have written and published various articles on current issues in India.


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