(The Armed Forces (Special Powers Act) has been in operation in Assam since 1990 and in many other north-eastern States for even more longer a duration)
The sweat drips from his brow
and makes the earth greener.
His wife is nearby planting hopes.
And the valley admires in silence
But then a green monster comes
And sucks away all the air,
A terrified silence echoes.
From the womb of the monster
descend some uniformed aliens
who ask silent questions.
And take the man away shackled
as a prize for their
The wife mutters a thousand prayers
that act as music to deaf ears.
The Prayers, the wails
All get dissolved in the black trail the monster leaves.
Son killed in encounter
The old lady is waiting in the light of that
Old flickering kerosene lamp,
for her son to bring the day’s rations.
And she hears a knock
On her tattered door.
And finds a relative telling her,
between melodic intermittent wails;
That her son was killed in an encounter.
Her Son! Who left home that morning
with a smile on his lips
And an empty jute bag on his cycle
for the day’s job, was a terrorist!
And immediately the lady
feels winter descending in summer
a winter that will forever grasp her
Heart and her hearth
squeezing out the last rays of hope.
Monsters feed on her flesh
She works the whole day
In that tailoring shop.
Stitching old pockets and broken dreams.
On her way back in dusk;
some of the many defenders of the nation
Pass her lecherous stares
and unspeakable comments.
When she rebukes them for their criminal audacity
She is gagged and carried to a place
where the light of law is dim.
There, the monsters feed on her flesh
one by one, taking disciplined turns
When they are done devouring;
they kill her to save themselves
the trouble of an explanation
A voice is silenced in the woods
A body is barked.
Ants will become lions
When they are chasing a cricket ball
the kids are delirious
Their laughter doesn’t gel well with some
Some of those young, sporting souls are
Are taken away to play a sport
which has just one victor, always!
All that is left to know for their parents after that
Is that dreaded word: “Missing”
One day when the third eye
Of humanity twitches open
The defenders will know
That when the ants realise that-
They too possess the strengths of lions
The forest won’t remain the same anymore!
(The writer is a research scholar, JNU, Delhi. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)