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Home > 2021 > Danish Siddiqui Speaks (1983 – 2021) | Sagari Chhabra

Mainstream, VOL LIX No 32, New Delhi, July 24, 2021

Danish Siddiqui Speaks (1983 – 2021) | Sagari Chhabra

Friday 23 July 2021, by Sagari Chhabra

I am Danish Siddiqui
And I am dead;
I have been killed in Kandahar
By the Taliban;
They call it a casualty of war
But I ask you, what is casual
About losing my life,
Turning my young wife
Into a widow, leaving
My little children bereft;
What is left, are my photographs,
Of the Rohingyas fleeing Myanmar,
Desperately seeking refuge;
A woman gasping as she reaches
The shores of Bangladesh,
Respite for her sunburnt flesh,
And the amazing mesh
Humanity has got entangled in.
My photos of the migrant workers;
Trudging home with children
Aloft their shoulders,
Overcoming borders blocked with boulders;
Wrestling with might, iron gates,
Set up by a remorseless state.
And the mass cremations;
The fires that burned
Through the night,
And in our hearts,
O, what a fearful sight!
The man with a smoking gun
Shooting at the students of Jamia,
With a battalion of police watching on
With folded arms,
Saving no one from any harm.
A bullet shot through me, and I died;
But with my camera, I never lied;
I brought you the ugliness of war;
Showing you it is not heroism;
Only I am no longer there to tell;
Instead look at my pictures
As a witness to history, and yell:
Stop the war; it’s a living hell!
I am Danish Siddiqui,
A collector of memories;
Gaze at my pictures
And know what I am trying to say;
O lord, give us this day
Our daily bread;
And let all men live in peace.
Amen.

— Sagari Chhabra*

*(Sagari Chhabra is an award-winning author & film-maker. She is the director of the ‘Hamaara Itihaas’ archives)

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