Let our country sleep


Take this.
Wear it like a medal around your neck.

If need be,
take it off and use it to strangle those anti-nationals.
You can use it any other way you wish.

Roll it into a ball,
and gag anyone who sets loose his evil tongue
against your decrees, your beliefs, your definitions.

Or take all of your medals, melt them, and make batons.
Beat the rascals who question, who differ,
who look through the glass of reason.

Silence them before the epidemic spreads further.

Get rid of them.
Yes, all of them.
For all we want is one united voice.
Just one voice.
Your voice.
We’ll make it ours.
No differences, no deliberations.

Invite them to debates where they must only agree with you.
Tune out their harsh voices; we need more of a melody here.

Give them dictionaries that define
the only words they can say,
they must say.

Yes, do give them freedom too,
to paint themselves in any colour they like.
Let all of it be saffron.

In that land of plain homogeneity, our guardians, let our country sleep.


Us and Them

They see devils in our books and demons in our tunes.
They tell us to burn our blaspheming drums
and melt our pens, else face the wrath of God’s guns.

Their God’s guns.

They explain why our porcelain fingers should not sprout golden daffodils.

They clench their impotent fists around our paths.

They question
why we want to swim in the sand,
why we want to run under the bridge,
and why we want to fall into the sky.

They ask
why we don’t drink the warmth of the fireplace,
and why we don’t swallow their diktat.

They ask
why we ride bubbles,
why we stock our caskets with sunshine
why we fly off the edge of the mountains.

We do this because we can,
because our minds cannot be caged in cobwebs,
because our feet cannot be nailed to the floor,
because our hands cannot be tied to their clock.

We do this
because our hearts are wound around the sun,
because the wind is our bride.

Because our blood has not yet turned to stone.

They can keep their idols and their scrolls,
and stick to their texts and their scriptures,
they can choose to live in the middle of yesterday.

We want to stand on the threshold of tomorrow.


Pragaash, the only all-girl band from Kashmir, split up after a Muslim cleric called a fatwa against them. Disheartening to see talent suffer because of a few self-appointed culture policing bigots.