O Mother! O Vale!
Fasten all doors and windows of your home
Bring your children in
Cover your daughters, and
Hide your sons
Keep your knife ready
And ready yourself for the knife.
Fanah fillah’s distant chants have drowned
In the beating of the war chests, and the
Stomping of the marching brigades
He was chased and murdered for he too declared
“No authority can bind Us save the Lord”
Do not even trust Him in these times.
Cold rays of the falling sun have turned the sky red
Or is it another burning village?
This is not the Autumnal dust
It is the smoke of some fast burning village
Do you remember from the last arson
The scalded corpses of the mother and the child
Who wouldn’t detach?
Stay away from your infant child
When troopers spray gun-powder on your home.
I saw you O Mother!
Nudged and pushed around
By a nation hungry for your son’s blood
I saw when a nation seeking a gory satisfaction
Paraded you on the streets of Delhi
Abused you and called you
I can’t say how many more of your sons will have to die
To satisfy the darkness of your enemy’s conscience
Life will not pass in kangaroo courts
Only death will.
For Afzal’s old mother, whose hand I held today, and who faced hundreds of Indian media mobsters with solemn dignity outside Tihar.