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Mainstream, VOL LIX No 21, New Delhi, May 8, 2021

Delhi: 3rd May 2021

Saturday 8 May 2021, by Sagari Chhabra

Delhi; 3rd May 2021

Pyres are lit, so numerous
That the horizon is smudged grey
With the smoke of bodies
We did cremate;
Still they debate,
To give or not to give;
Who shall live?

The crematorium’s iron melts;
But not the heart of men in power
Who even in this hour
Play politics over governance
While the gasping, await deliverance.

They divided us in the name of religion,
They called us names,
And around these games
Only the people died,
Pleading for oxygen, hospital beds
And in the setting sun,
A last glimpse of a loved one.

They held a kumbh mela
In view of an auspicious confluence,
But in this melee
Each affected man, woman and child
Lies akela -
Waiting for this plague to lift;
Not just the virus
But the affliction of power;
O, it is indeed an unholy hour;
The language of our senses
Lacks the vocabulary of such pain,
We search our memory but in vain.

In 1857 Delhi was littered with bodies
Fighting for the first war of independence,
The British called it a ‘mutiny’
But is it our tryst with destiny,
In our seventy-fifth year
Our crematoriums are overflowing,
There is no knowing
What lies ahead,
For the living
Or near-dead?

People elect with a belief
That you will serve,
But when you betray us
You will get what you deserve;
We will rise,
We will remember,
We will not forget
Our will lies dormant;
But not dead.

Sagari Chhabra
New Delhi
3rd May 2021

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