Thursday, 22 December 2016

गौ राशि की कन्या

हमारी लड़की गाय है
आप इसे जननी, भगिनी, भार्या . .  . 
किसी भी किरदार में डाल सकते हैं
बासी रोटी, घास-फूस, प्लास्टिक
कुछ भी खाकर एक कोने में पड़ी रहेगी.  

और खासकर उपयोगी सिद्ध होगी तब,
जब इसके नाम पर, इसके मान के लिए
आप अपने गौरव की लड़ाई लड़ेंगे.  

First published in Indian Cultural Forum, 9 Dec 2016.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

एक पत्रकार की मौत

एक पत्रकार की मौत 
तुम्हारे लिए ज़रूरी हो गई 
क्योंकि तुम्हारे हिसाब से 
वो अपने क़द से ऊपर उठने की कोशिश कर रहा था। 

पर अगर वो इतना ही गौण होता 
तो तुम्हें ना दिखता
ना तुम्हारी नज़र में चुभता

और अगर तुम इतने ही ऊँचे होते,
तो उसी की लाश पर अपने डगमगाते  क़दम रख 
तुम्हें उचक कर नज़र में आने की 
मशक़्क़त ना करनी पड़ती। 

First published in Indian Cultural Forum, 9 Dec 2016.

Incomprehension exercise

With Twitter and Facebook
And useless alleys and Jantar Mantar,
Which were benevolently left out of Section 144,
Allowing people the small mercies
Of boasting, roasting, masticating,
Everyone has developed the bad habit
Of having an opinion.

The evening smoke
Rising from the corn on the cob
Wraps your heads in a sensuous aura
And you think you are the bosses-
The bosses on everything
From malnutrition to the moon.

Well, I hate to be the one to break it to you
But you are not experts.

It takes a certain level of expertise
To understand why there is no alternative
Why people must be killed
Why children must be maimed
Why rapes must be committed
Why lawmakers must flout the law.

It takes hard work, blood and sweat,
Erasure of histories and creation of fresh ones under tight deadlines
To develop the nuanced understanding
That with great power comes great arbitrariness.

If those in positions of responsibility
Don't abort the questions brewing in others
They'd be reminded in a flash of their own,
And of memories of others in similar positions

Who tried to be careful custodians of power
And started wondering
Who they were
Responsible for
Accountable to
Whose purpose they were fulfilling
Whose they had pledged to.

They then faced
Sleepless nights, arrests, enquiries,
And the feel of a bullet injected inside their temple with their own hand.

A wise man learns from others' mistakes.
The wise men of today know
That to peer too deep into the sockets of the skull in your hand
Invites the risk of your skull soon being in another hand
They know the only way to keep their head is to bury it in the sand.
But you, all of you worthy of such men's contempt and disgust, you just don't understand.

First published in Indian Cultural Forum, 9 Dec 2016.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

पुराना मुर्गा, नया चोर

पास जब खिलौने नहीं थे,
हम चोर-सिपाही खेलते। 
झूठमूठ की बंदूक से 
कभी तुम मरते, कभी मैं। 

अब सचमुच के हैं तमंचे,
हम अब भी होते दो हिस्से। 
पकड़म-पकड़ाई का अब भी दौर,
बस खेल रहा कोई और। 

First published in Indian Cultural Forum, 9 Dec 2016.


Uniforms do not err;
To err is human.

Does superhuman at times include inhuman?

First published in Indian Cultural Forum, 9 Dec 2016.

Thursday, 15 December 2016


On the steps leading to the Betwa river
The boy was selling yesterday's flowers.

My friend had a question for him,
"What do you want to do when you grow up?"

"I'll join the army," was his response.
My friend smiled: "So you want to serve your country."

He continued to hold the water's gaze
At the point where the sun had plopped down and broken into splinters.

"They give you shoes. And clothes.
They take care of everything."

He was planning to live
Unaware that the arena tickets had already been sold.

First published in Indian Cultural Forum, 9 Dec 2016.

द्रोण-दृष्टिकोण दोष

एकलव्य ने चरणों में रखा अंगूठा काट,
तब पर भी नहीं हुई क्षुधा समाप्त।
सदियों तक निरंतर होते रहे आघात,
कभी अंगूठा रहित, कभी बनाया अंगूठा छाप। 
द्रोण, यूँ कब तक माँग-माँग कर छोटे होते रहोगे,
अबकी एकलव्य ने अंगूठा दिखा दिया, तो कहाँ मुँह छिपाते फिरोगे?
 First published in Indian Cultural Forum, 9 Dec 2016.

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