The last month


ye daagh daagh ujaala
ye shab ghazeeda seher
wo intezaar tha jiska
ye wo seher to nahi


a light blotted by darkness
a dawn reminiscent of night
the dawn that was long awaited
that dawn this is not


In times of pain, remember Faiz. The last month has been a time of pain for me. I grew up in a largely apolitical atmosphere, but not without a social consciousness. As a child, I knew that I may be the only Muslim in my group of playmates, or in my class in school, and later in life, at work. But it did not matter. My parents, too, worked in such environments. My brother, too, was the only Muslim among his friends. His friends – who I called bhaiyya and didi – would treat me like their younger brother.

Things are the same now on the surface. But beneath it, they are different. I know that a party has come to power whose very foundational values are constituted of the claim that we all cannot live together in peace, except by force. In my late teens, the massacres in Gujarat brought home a searing truth. There are a group of people who do not like the reality I grew up with. The social consciousness I grew up with is repulsive to them. In them is a hatred for the community I was born to – for no choice of mine – and it is a hatred that will translate into action when the time is ripe, such as it was in 2002. Almost all of such people belong to a group called the Sangh Parivar, whose political wing is now in majority in the Indian parliament.

What is much more disturbing than the fact that such people exist is the fact that many more people are willing to ignore the sentiments the Sangh Parivar is founded on. They are willing to forget that a former member of the Sangh Parivar murdered Gandhi. They will forget the massacres of 2002 and 1992, and the venom that comes out from the mouths of such people even today. For what? For what they call ‘development’. Despite there being no substantial evidence that the new government is equipped to deliver us from our economic problems, my friends and acquaintances are happy to bring them to power, buying the dream of development. Perhaps it is another word for greed.

In such a moment of disappointment, Faiz’s classic poem ‘Subh-e-Azaadi’ plays in my mind almost everyday. Wo intezaar tha jiska, ye wo seher to nahi. The dawn that was long awaited, that dawn this is not. The India we believed in. The India we had faith in. That India, this is not.

But then, Faiz is not one to lose hope. The joy of the struggle is not in victory, but in the struggle itself. The path is the destination.

abhi garaani-e-shab mein kami nahi aayi
nijaat-e-deeda-o-dil ki ghadi nahi aayi
chale chalo, ke wo manzil abhi nahi aayi

night’s heaviness is yet to fade
the hour of liberation is yet to strike
walk on, my friend, our destiny is yet to arrive

If there is one movement in my heart that the events of the last month catalyse, it is the movement of passion – of being more aware of the chimeras being sold in the name of development, of the deep moral questions that lie at the heart of the idea of India, of being more aware of our history – inspiring and unfortunate at the same time, and yet, deeply our own.

~ by tdcatss on May 28, 2014.

3 Responses to “The last month”

  1. Thanks Kaif. You have echoed my thoughts. I can see so much venom being spewed around in the name of religion and the chants defy any logic. The elections have made the people blind to blatant polarisation. This is stifling. Everytime I read something or share something, the blind followers are ready with their attacks. All I pray for is the end to this traversity which has affected our minds and heart…..wo subah kabhi toh aayegi

  2. :)

    You rarely share anything. The attacks should only inspire you more.

  3. nice

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