Born into Hate
I hurried out of a client's car
like a recoiled spring, when he said,
“Yeh sale humare desh ke thali mein
khate hai aur isi mein ched karte hai.”
At least, It’s nice to know
plants and animals
are not born into a religions.
Or do they?
My roots are as pure as the moon,
the dark patch is Brahminism.
They reflect misguided light.
I never heard the Madhvas malign anyone.
Their question at any point of life has been
‘Hope you perform Sandhyavandanam,
or recite the Gayatri Mantra?'
When I was young as a free antenna
to absorb everything in the air,
I picked from the streets,
the way you pick up
the nuances of a languages,
or cuss words, or learn about
the sex organs of the opposite sex.
I learnt Hindu is good and Muslim bad,
vegetarian is good, eating meat is bad.
In school, I picked up fights with Kazi
because his name was Kazi.
I pelted stones at the Khan meat shop
near Konnagar Government Abasan
from behind a high wall
because he sold meat.
You choose what to love, or who to love
and how to love, and if you are good at
loving, or living, then you will have
not time to think of the others, to hate
I left behind the limping gods
on my journey across books, people,
ghats, beaches, forests, mountains,
minarets and places of worships,
which serve Eid ki sewaiya
as yum as semiya paysam.
Many suns set as I sit at the feet
of Hazrat Nizammudin Auliya.
Goosebumps and starlight run through me
when the qawwals sing,
Bekhud kiye dete hai, andaze hijabana
aa dil mein tujhe rakh lu, aye jalwaye janana.
I empty and scrub clean
of all they taught me
yet the blood scars confidently walk the ramp.
I am all religions that I freed myself from.
I am the oppressed.
I am the vulnerable.
I am an artist.
I am baul, fakir, sufi,
nirgunpurush, the truth,
carrying pain as flagrantly
as one carries a protest in head.
How many children are born everyday
with their umbilical cords buried in this hate?
Madhu is a poet, social activist, and art event curator. He works in public health and women empowerment. He is the founder of Poetry Couture, one of India's largest pro-bono poetry initiatives. He was a resident artist at Basar Confluence, Arunachal Pradesh’s first artist residency programme. His first book of poems, Make Me Some Love To Eat, appeared in 2016.