I wrote the following poem in the wake of the communal riots that took place in Gujarat in 2002.
An Ode to You, My Hateful Friend
There were times we drank to each other’s health,
Had no love for hate, no lust for wealth,
And a friendship that was zooming uphill
Till the day you broke the glass of goodwill.
Bitter thoughts were all it took
For you, my friend, to take another look-
You chose religion at camaraderie’s cost,
And since then you forever lost
The path to the One you set out to find
But left this trail of blood behind.
A cut, a jab, a stab of your knife-
Waiting for death to gift me life,
I screamed a lowly silent scream,
Wishing it to be only a dream.
Down on my knees, for mercy I begged,
“Kill him now” the Hate Merchants egged,
“Spare my life,” I pleaded in vain,
But hatred brought bloodshed in her reign.
And amidst my turbulent despair,
Hoping for hope of some pity and care.
But hatred had made you so very blind,
You didn’t mind the blindness; you had lost your mind.
You slit my throat, you stopped my breath,
Smashed my skull, bludgeoned me to death.
Kill and destroy, break and burn,
Are there lessons we shall never learn?
But I promise, if I had any clue,
I’d rather not this fate befall you.
How much strife can you give and take,
Just a heartfelt lament I’d like to make,
With which I shall end my woeful verse-
Communalism is a bloodthirsty curse.
Kise kaafir kahega, kise kaayar kahega
Teri kab tak chalegi ho
Arre mandir ye chup hai, arre masjid hai gumsum
Ibaadat thak padegi ho
Samay ki laal aandhi, kabristan ke raste
Arre latpath chalegi ho
Arre neendein hain zakhmi, arre sapne hain bhookhe
Ki karvat phat padegi ho...
-from the song 'Bandeh' by Indian Ocean, OST 'Black Friday'