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Home > Archives (2006 on) > 2008 > December 20, 2008 - Annual Number 2008 > Bhagat Singh ki Murat (Statue of Bhagat Singh)

Mainstream, Vol XLVII, No 1, December 20, 2008

Bhagat Singh ki Murat (Statue of Bhagat Singh)

Sunday 21 December 2008, by Fahmida Riyaz


There is news from Delhi
- alas! Alas!!
- What a mess they have made
- Of Bhagat Singh
- In the Parliament Complex!

For sixty years they petitioned
- The British rejected him
- But YOU! Our own government.
- Erect his statue
- in the Parliament Complex
- At last the government thumped its chest
- and said why not!
- and erected the statue in the Parliament Complex.
- But when the veil was lifted
- You discover it is not Bhagat Singh
- That 24 year old beautiful lad
- Nor his young limbs that they could not properly burn
- On the fateful night when they hanged him.

It is some 60 years old guy
- Flabby and tired looking
- With upturned mustaches
- Oh what the hell is this.
- This is not our Bhagat Singh
- In the Parliament Square
- Who the hell is he?

Ha ha ha! Dear friends
- Wipe your tears look closely
- At all the other statues in the Parliament
- Is it the same Jawaharlal as he was?
- Is it the same Gandhi?
- The same Abul Kalam Azad?

The in-coming and out-going respected parliamentarians
- Have made an omelet of their reality
- And gobbled them up long long ago.
- In this grand square
- Only cissored and edited versions
- Can find a lasting place.

Bhagat Singh was the child of his time
- And times have changed. He loved Urdu poetry and Ghalib
- And Glaib, getting rid of his robe
- Is Ghalib now, winking and singing some trashy “gazal”
- Aishwarya Rai is dancing on it
- So kind of her.

And in his city Lahore
- Bhagat Singh is a Sikh
- Who perhaps migrated to India in 1947
- Such names make people nervous
- Is the god-damn man coming back?
- to claim his property??
- We shall never let that happen
- After all we left fields and barns
- shops and houses in Ludhyana.

Bhagat Singh was a pure Indian
- His times are swept away with the wind
- He was a purely Indian earth-song
- Light in the water
- Rustling in the wind
- He was a purely Indian passion of his time
- And times have changed.

Let his statue remain where it has remained for 60 years
- Across both sides of the border
- In a heart or two.
- There every morning
- Longings as innocent and ignorant as little children
- Cover his young body with fresh garlands of marigold
- Bathe his limbs with tears of love and adoration
- He belongs there
- He is happy there.

[This is a rough translation by me of my Hindi Kavita.—F.R.]

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