All Roads Lead to Ayodhya

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Come 22 January,
Come 12. 16 pm when
Abhijit Muhurat starts,
crores of eyes around the globe
are on screens
the fortunate are already
breathing Ayodhya’s  holy air
it’s a hectic, hysteric day
it’s a day of fanatic frenzy
it’s a day of fear and shame
to a few
It’s a day of light and win
for crores—
the world is waiting to witness
the sad demise of a “secular” country
 pran prathistha
Of Lord Ram in Ayodhya
Bhoomi Puja by PM Modi,
the messiah of millions,
the architect of the Hindu Rashtra
Ram halwa distribution
the Saryu River and its ghats
Glittering  in the light of laser shows
live telecast in Times Square
nationwide telecast at booth levels
and major cities and suburbs
Over 7000 guests from India and abroad
from top industrialists to spiritual gurus
from sportsmen to film celebrities
from leaders to yogis
will attend the historic day
Over 100000 devotees will witness
the biggest show on earth–
remember  6 December 1992
150000 assembled to demolish
the 400-year-old monument,
fasting, burning candles,
blowing conch shells, keeping
baby’s name in the name of Ram,
murderous slogans in the name of Ram,
making fellow Muslims
shiver to the spine in the name of Ram
making them invisible by
the exhibition of Hindutva rage
and power and domination

All roads lead to Ayodhya,
filled with light, joy and hysteria
India’s ancient glory reclaimed,
the myth has a mastery
over the learned and illiterate,
the rich and the poor,
the realities are before you
the hungry stomachs, the amputees,
the homeless, the sex workers,
the street hawkers,
the unemployed youths,
the fired saleswomen
the job aspirants,
the homely intellectuals
and the street activists
the seminarists, the webinarists,
the copiers, the writers,
the documentary-makers, the stage performers,
the worshippers of trees
the mosque-going men
or church-going men
the agnostics, the communists
the learned, the ignorants
the maids and madams
the forest dwellers, the babus of the blocks,
the astronomers and astrologists
the men in helm and the men in fringe

You need not to be a reader
to feel the fear of being Muslim
or Dalit or Adivasi  in Hindu India
Scroll social media,
and feel the rage of Modi’s Bharat
don’t dare to step out of four walls on 22 January
and you must, for emergencies,
don’t look at roadsides
don’t sip a cup of tea at your loved teashop
don’t speak to your neighbours
or even to your close friends
don’t read your esteemed newspaper
that must display a lowly man, a mass murderer,
as a god, as a messiah
and don’t send your children to school
take it as a holiday
for it is safe
if the government don’t declare it,

Alternatively, you may seek a shed in Rumi,
“I looked in temples, churches, and mosques./
 But I found the Divine within my heart.”
and in defeat, you may find your grace,
a burial shed, as all roads lead to the holy city,
in defeat and disgrace, you must be satisfied…
don’t whine or grudge or grumble
gulp the bitter juice down
it’s best for your failing health
live long in your dark alleys
that do not lead to the city of Lord Ram…
But dark alleys will be filled with light
and be ready to be lynched or burned alive
it’s happening now,
and will surely happen with the seal of a god
after 2024 victory…

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I write because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, said George Orwell. As a writer, I never kowtow to the whims and dictates of the sacred godmen or godwomen, the political bigots and hypocrites, dealers of laymen, the dishonest and self-serving intellectuals, traders of religions, the betrayers of ‘other’ Indians who eke out a living by their sweat, who are living in fear for being lynched for this and that.

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