For Teesta Setalvad


You are Teesta
What does it matter
You have been born in Sikkim
Or in Gujarat!

From the rush of your flow
hope takes birth
from your magnanimity
a thousand houses become bright

Taking a thousand storms in your bosom
thousand dams on your way
you change course sometimes
ripping out the rocks and sands

When Narmada was red in blood
the walls were smelling of burning flesh
Zakia was weeping alone
Bilkis was torn apart
You chose to rise for them
with hope and with strength.

You walked for them
you walked for us
You will walk many miles
Can even the dark chamber of jail
kill lights?

You will flow again
over the land and through the mountain
What does it matter
you are a river
or a name?

Zakia: Her husband Ehsan Jafri was killed in the Gulbarg society massacre during the Gujarat riots in 2002

Bilkis: Bilkis Bano was raped brutally and thirteen of her family members were killed.

About the poem: The poem is in solidarity with the activist and social worker Teesta Setalvad who was arrested in Mumbai.

Moumita Alam is a poet from West Bengal. Her poetry collection The Musings of the Dark is available on Amazon

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