Trans: Ra Sh

Danish Siddiqui

He opted for humanity,

Got abandoned by humans.


With a third eye

that unbinds borders

he danced to the wingbeats

of a migratory bird

within  the range of a tele lens.


He sported a beard like

an anonymous guru.

He had no disciples.

He did not frame

butterflies or

rivers or


All of them were

inside him.


He did not weep.

All eyes that he saw

or were seen in him

were wells that

brimmed over with tears.


Hunger abandoned him.

He saw old people

and mothers and children

stretching their tongue out

to touch the grain

that stuck to the footsteps

of those who died hungry.


He released his shutters

again and again

and sent forth light

over the sorrows of the world

as pain and sorrow of those

who were rendered homeless

who were cast out.


He was caught on every  radar.

He did not have even a needle or

a piece of bread to hide behind.


He was the struggle of humanity

that led blind men to sight

for a resounding historic justice

with still life images.


He was  a flag

flying high with the tattered rags

of those who stretched their hands

towards a dream.


He had a country,

a motherland that questioned him

for his name.

His name was Danish Siddiqui.

A name that denoted

an honest person.

He made it so premonitory

by sacrificing his blood.


No guns of honour  were

fired in the air for him.

His battered face

and his heart

did not wait for it.

Anna Mary Haskal is a bright new face among the women poets of Kerala (India). Her poems reflect the new directions of Malayalam poetry penned by Kerala’s women poets.

Ravi Shanker (aka Ra Sh) is a poet and translator based in Palakkad, Kerala. He has published four collections of poetry, Architecture of Flesh (Poetrywala), Bullet Train and Other Loaded Poems (Hawakal), Kintsugi by Hadni (RLFPA) and In the Mirror, Our Graves, a chapbook with Ritamvara Bhattacharya.  Ravi Shanker is also a translator whose English translations include Mother Forest (Women Unlimited), Waking is Another Dream (Navayana), Don’t Want Caste (Navayana), Kochiites (Greenex), How to Translate an Earthworm (Dhauli Books) and The Ichi Tree Monkey and new and selected stories of Bama (Speaking Tiger).

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