Now Everything Is All Right

Whatever happened was all right
What you did was all right
Whatever you will do will be all right
Like the partition was all right
The greedy and the hedonist are also all right
The destruction of Babri Masjid was all right
What happened in Godhra was all right
Your hate is obviously all right
The choices you made are all right
Your language is all right
Your Hinduism is all right

You are such a sophisticated enemy
That everything now is all right

Your hate is all right because it comes without a mask
Today while shaking hands with a friend, the tip of a dagger hiding under his sleeve glinted
Even before he could be ashamed because of the memories of our times together,
I quickly expressed my own embarrassment and smiled

Now I can finally believe
That this day had to arrive
That there was never any brotherhood here
No common Hindu-Muslim culture
Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb
It was just some dust flying from the graves of the ancestors
That settled down
The scenes of your movies, plays and stories
Are witnesses to the fact that everything is all right in this country
And introductions are no longer necessary…

I am lucky that you have removed my illusions of seventy five years
So now everything is all right!
And so this summer afternoon I can confidently think that
After my lunch of roti and raw onion
I will be able to sleep.
I will finally fall asleep.

Preparing For Difficult Times

In difficult times, days and nights also become difficult
It seems that the day is laughing at our plight
And the night hiding its ugly faces scares the children and laughs loudly
Time stands at the door and defiantly keeps on knocking and we hide trembling
Sharp knives are hidden in his pockets
We run from our suffocating rooms to the courtyard
And the slaughterhouse turning pull us in
We laugh out loud on difficult days
Or cry loudly
Difference being that we are never a part of
These two
Veins crackle in a madness
And the blood freezes and stares through the eyes like stones
I am starting to prepare for the difficult times a little bit now
Like I am starting to save my tears
I am starting to memorise sweet lullabies for children
And I have started to check my eyes again and again to see if they can
Clearly see sharp teeth and nails
To prepare for the days when there will be no work left in this world except
Crying, hiding and fighting.

Judgement Day

Very old their sorrow
Older than the old sheets and the old blankets
Older than the old pots and pans and old Peepal trees
Older than dilapidated wells, dry ponds, barren pastures and houses in ruins
Older than desolate abandoned railway properties
Older than old wounds and old illegal colonies
Their sorrow is older than sand and snow
Older than earth and sea...
As old as salt
Is their sorrow
Or maybe older
Or as old as violence...
You must be thinking who are these people
Who rise like smoke and spread around
Fly like dust and settle down
Fall like ashes and vanish
You would like to know their names
The names of their ancestors
Their mother tongue and their faith!
Their names belong to different languages
And no matter what their religion is
Their fears are uniquely similar
They are the oldest residents in the world
And also the oldest refugees
Their faces are also quite similar to each other
They are the most persecuted people in the world
They are forced to live the lives of the displaced in their own localities and settlements.
Their homes are the first to be set on fire in the riots.
And are the first to be destroyed by government bulldozers
They are the hardest working people
The people we know as the weak
Will wake up one day
And rise
Against all tyrannies
And ask for the account of all their old sorrows
The judgement day will begin from here
The biggest seat of judgement will be established here
And there will be justice...
You rulers who destroy the settlement of the oppressed
Which god will you remember that day?

Translated from Hindi by Tarun Bhartiya.

Adnan Kafeel Darwesh was born in 1994 in Garwar village in Ballia district of Uttar Pradesh. He is a Computer Science graduate and has a Master’s degree in Hindi from Jamia Millia Islamia. His first collection of poems Thithurate Lamp Post (Lamp Posts Shivering with Cold) has been published recently. He has won many awards including the prestigious Bharatbhushan Agrawal Award in 2018.

Tarun Bhartiya is a documentarian, Hindi poet and a political activist based in Shillong.