‘The Mystic’ and ‘We March Forward’

Written by  //  July 31, 2015  //  Uncategorized  //  Comments Off on ‘The Mystic’ and ‘We March Forward’

This is a guest post by Ankit Sharma (Faculty of Law, Delhi University). The author can be contacted at ankit.lhs@gmail.com

The two poems- ‘The mystic’ and ‘We march forward’- were both written during my internship with the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) in Rajasthan in the summer of ’14.

They both reflect two distinct moods that I was in during two different parts of the internship. ‘The mystic’ was written during the initial days and, at the time, I was still in awe of the stillness and quietude that was around the place where we were living. I was meeting new people everyday and writing down their names in this thick diary that I carried around with a strange hope. The particular night that this poem was written on had a half-moon. I remember being particularly interested in the cycle of the moon throughout my stay in Rajasthan. Mid-way through this poem, I realized how I was writing without having an end point in mind, and in that moment I realized how different I was from the moon which knew its path well in advance. However, admittedly, the mood of the poem is still jovial albeit contemplating.

The second piece ‘We march forward’ was written on the opposite side of my stay in Rajasthan, temporally speaking, and in mood too, is utterly different from ‘The mystic’. It was written while we were on a five-day long ‘padyatra’ through a block in Rajsamand district with the aim to spread awareness about the government’s observance of ‘panchayat-divas’ and document the grievances of the people we encountered in the villages that we visited. This poem was basically a veiled attack on what we were pretending to be then- self styled saviours of the universe. As the villagers poured in with their complaints and grievances, the line that separated us ‘activists’ from the government servants seemed to blur. In that moment, I was reminded of this wonderful couplet by Faiz.

“Banein hain ehl-e-hawas, mudda’ii bhi, musif bhi,                                                                                                           kisay wakeel karein, kis se munsafi chaahein”

(A loose translation of this would be: Lords of lust, both lawyers and judges have become.                                 Whom should be ask to defend us, and whom should we expect to dispense justice.)

The Mystic

A truckload of people, a truckload of memories,
The wind has a scent, the wind sings you a song,
The water’s a little salty, the water’s a little cold,
There’s a shop not too far, the sky is full of stars.
Too many sessions, and as many cigarettes too.
The memory threatens to betray you, as it has in the past.
You write a few words in your diary, thinking it will last.
There’s a camera too, for if you wish to capture the memory.
But can you really capture it, then recount the story?
Names flow like meaningless words, they had faces once.
Had voices too. It fades away slowly like layers eroding.
The moon is half tonight, we wait for the full moon.
The light will be followed by darkness, but it’ll be gradual.
My words lack finality, finality enjoyed by the moon.
Thoughts flow, words too. Hands comply, eyes too.
As of now, only death seems final. Or tiredness.
Until then, I shall flow and so should everything around me.         

We March forward

We are the light of the world.
We the educated, we the enlightened
Tell us your problems, hurry up.
We don’t have much time, be precise.
And yes, thank us once we’re done.
Never mind if your work is not.
We’ll tell you what’s right, don’t turn left.
Unless, of course, we ask you to.
In that case, always turn left, never right.
Oh and yes! Your rights! And the fight!
So, we’ll also tell you about your rights.
But you must fight for them. Don’t worry,
We’ll tell you how that’s done. But hurry!
We must march forward. And we will!
Don’t ask how. That’s not your job.
Leave that burden to us. Us who?
We the educated, we the enlightened.

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