Lynching in Indian Poetry

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“We are the mob and the mob is us.
Left-wing, right-wing or in the centre, what difference does it make?”

Apurba Asrani, “We are the mob and the mob is us”

When I searched on Google for some Indian poems which foreground lynching incidents, I first came across 31-year-old Naveen Chourey’s Hindi slam poem, “Vaastavik  Kanoon”, which went viral. Chourey, in this poignant slam, “describes the emotions of all those involved in a mob lynching – the victims and the assaulters, the witnesses and the cops. It details the hatred, apathy, and institutional failures that have allowed mob lynchings to become commonplace in India.”[i] The poem is cited below,

Vaastavik Kaanoon

Ik sadak pe khoon hai
Taareekh koi June hai
Ek ungli hai padee
Aur uspe jo naakhoon hai
Naakhoon pe hai ik nishaan
Ab kaun hoga hukmaraan
Naakhoon pe hai ik nishaan
ab chun rahi thi ungliyaan
Ye ungli bhi tab thi vahaan
Phir kyon padi hai khoon mein?
Jism iska hai kahaan?
Mar gaya ke tha hi an?
Kaun the voh log jinke haath mein thi laathiyaan?
Koi afsar tha police ka?
Nyaaya adheesh aaye the kya?
Kaun karta tha vaqaalat?
Faisala kisne diya?
Ya koi dharmatma that?
Dharm ke rakshak the kya?
Dharm ka updesh kya that ?
Kaun the vo devata ?
Na police na patrakar
Nagarik hoon zimmedaar
Seedhe-seedhe prashn hain
Seedha uttar do mujhe
Hai sadak khoon kyon?
Voh log aakhir kaun the?
Aadmi chhote hain saahib, hum ka padte beech mein
Hum bachaane bhi gaye the, teen pad gaye kheench ke
Motorcycle laaye the, rod pe kar di khadi
Aath-das launde-lapaade, laathiyaan ittee badi
Gaali de ke poochha, pet mein ghoonsa diya
Adhmara voh gir pada phir de danaadan laathiyaan
Paanv ki haddee mita di, maans ki lugadi bana di

Khoon toh itta baha ke humse na dekha gaya
Ek unmein hosh mein tha, jaane usako kya padi
Jeb se chaaku nikala, ungli uski kaat li
Aakhri tha vaar jiska, unka voh sardaar tha
Usne hi sabko bataya, jo mara gaddaar tha
“Haq nahin inko hamaare desh ke ik vote par
Deemakon ko na rakho gar jootiyon ki nonk par
Sar pe ye chadh jaayenge, ye kaee guna badh jaayenge
Hukmaraan hoga inhee ka, aag mootenge sabhi
Pair ke neeche kuchal do, jeet hogi dharm ki”
Hum to khud dar gaye the saahib, khauf unko tha nahi
Kis nasal ke log the voh kuchh samajh aaya nahin
Na koi insaan unmein, na koi tha aadmi
Saath mil ke sher ban gaye geedadon ki bheed thi
Nonch khaane ki talab thi, jaanvar taaseer thi
Haath mein thi laathiyaan to bhains bhi unki hi thi

Aur yeh koi jumla nahi hai, vaastavik kaanoon hai
Humse kahe poochhte ho, kyon sadak pe khoon hai?
Poochho is ungli se tum, kya yahan ghatna ghati?
Jurm isne kya kiya tha, jism se ye kyon kati?
Main to samjha mar chuki hai
Ungli mein par jaan thi
Syaahee us naakhoon pe, jo desh ka sammaan thi
Bole, ab kya chaahiye, vote tha de to diya
Jee rahe the qaid mein, maut de di, shukriya
Naakhoon pe jamhooriyat hai, jam gaya hai khoon bhi
Aap hi toh ho adalat, aap ho kaanoon bhi
Aap se kaisi shikaayat, aap to hain neend mein
Aap jaise sau khade the, jaahilon ki bheed mein
Sau mein se gar ek bhi de de gavaahi aapko
Main khushi se maan loonga bheed ke insaaf ko
Kijiye is par bahas ab panel-on mein baithkar
Kya hua Mohan ka vaada? Hain kahaan Ambedkar?
Sab barabar hain agar to bas mujhe hi kyon chuna?
Tum batao kaun dega ghar ko mere rotiyaan?

Asliyat se bekhabar ho, shaharee ho, Dilli se ho
Ik hidaayat de raha hoon, soch ke bola karo
Tum savaalon se bhare ho, kya tumhein maaloom hai?
Bheed se kuchh poochhna bhi jaanleva jurm hai
Tafteesh karane aaye ho, khul ke kar lo shauq se
Fark padta hi kahaan hai? Ek-do ki maut se
Chaar din charcha uthegi, “democracy laayenge”
Paanchven din bhool ke sab kaam pe lag jaayenge
Kaam se hee kaam rakhna
Haan, magar yeh yaad rakhana
Koi poochhe kaun the
Bas tumhein itna hai kahana
Bheed thi kuchh log the
Phir bhi gar koi zid pakad le
Kya hua kisne kiya?
Soch ke ungli uthaana
Kat rahi hain ungaliyaan
Baat ko kuch yoon ghumaana
Nafraton ka rog the
Dharm na koi zaat unki
Bheed thi kuch log the.

The poem takes social media by storm. His poem performance is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OH_MjB4lSKk has 6.1 lakh views with 2.2k comments as of 26 May 2023. It is difficult to go through all the comments. But almost all the newest comments are in praise of the poet. Comments like “best poem ever on Mob lynching”, “Democracy is surviving because of these talented and literate young generations who have the courage to question the govt”, and “it’s very difficult to resist my tears to come out while listening this”, “need 10 poets like you to enrich democracy!”, “very strong poetry, loved it brother….This is sadly true picture of our beloved country,” and many more accolades are being paid to Chourey.

Speaking to The Quint about his poem, Chourey says, “I want this poem to become irrelevant. We should be in a situation where people can say this is a thing of the past, but unfortunately, it is still a gruesome reality today. It pains me that my poem is still relevant.” Chourey says he began writing this in the second half of 2016 and performed it two years later. “I wrote this because I saw that society is going in the direction of mob terror. There is an atmosphere of fear, and in it, hatred is thriving.” He adds, “It is called ‘Vaastavik Kanoon’ (The Law in Reality) because neither the police nor the eyewitnesses to the lynchings are coming forward to uphold the law.” He stresses, “Everyone needs to come together to achieve the goal of countering this hatred. If there can be mob terror, then there can be ‘mob saviours’ as well, people who come together to fight a mob lynching, and prevent future ones from happening.” [ii]

 We live in a time, writes Palash Krishna Mehrotra, when we need “words more than ever, when words need to be louder than pictures, precisely because images have lost the power to shock. Chourey realises this need and gives it voice and wings in his poem “Vastavik Kanoon”, a Ginsbergian howl of anguish.”[iii]

The Wire presents the ‘Poems Written in Saffron Ink’ series that capture the present environment of divisive politics, with threats to freedom of expression, where minorities feel unsafe, and incidents of mob lynching have become common. The website in this series has presented Poorna Swami’s five poems. The first poem, “Here Is the News You Couldn’t Live to See, ” is dedicated to the journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh, who was shot dead at 55 in Bengaluru on September 5, 2017. Hindutva mobs killed her because she wrote fiercely against divisive right-wing politics and the Hindutva agenda.  The second poem is titled “Guilty Of Wearing White Caps For Prayer”. It is written after the lynching of 17-year-old Junaid Khan, who was stabbed on a train when returning home after Eid shopping in Delhi in 2017. He and his brothers were attacked for being Muslims and beef-eaters. Her third poem in the said series, “The World Is Against My Country”, was penned in the wake of the charge of sedition labelled against JNU Students Union President Kanhaiya Kumar in 2016. “Goon’s Grandchildren Now Cry in Slogans” is her fourth poem, penned in the wake of the BJP’s victory in the 2014 general election. And the fifth is “It Must Be God’s Will That You Have Died”, written in the wake of the lynching of 50-year-old Mohammad Akhlaq in 2015. [iv] Among these five poems, “Guilty Of Wearing White Caps For Prayer” and “It Must Be God’s Will That You Have Died” are directly linked with lynching. The poems are cited below.

Guilty Of Wearing White Caps For Prayer

They are dying as boys

are meant to die in the market,

on a train, at the threshold of a home

they could barely grow up in.

Boys, not men, mortal and guiltless

but guilty for wearing white caps for prayer,

three hairs on their chin, the few names

of god they learned by heart.

Al-Shahid        Al-Hayy      An-Noor

God witness    God living    God light

They are bleeding their boyish blood in these streets

that scream in the saffron din inside this smog

over a country, discoloured—God witness

God living    God light—it is hard to breathe

and keep breathing as youth asphyxiates

on sermons shouted from the pulpits of corrupted gods.

Cow Nation    Nation Mother    Mother Cow

God witness  God living  God light

Calves are fodder for packs of wolves

with machetes and prayerbooks, misquoted

to absolve the bodies of boys who didn’t want to die.

Savagery is our salvation

you say, silent, as the sinners walk the streets with candles,

drumming slogans of the old revolutions you erased.

These streets were never playgrounds for children.

They are battlefields.

And you are the victor who feasted too soon.

Marrow of boyhood is a rancorous prize.

God witness    God living    God light

Zainab cried her beloved’s name, she cried she had protected him.

He believed in another’s god—will his slaughter now protect him?

In how many epochs will you pretend the gods are with you?

The gods are falling from the sky.

Of course, their bodies will never be your regret—they will perish

in confetti of newsprint and maggots.

God witness    God living    God light

It Must Be God’s Will That You Have Died

it is always the same, a prayer

whispered so many times

it spins

into a holy rumour

beneath their naked

feet that trace auspicious

circles around a faceless idol—each step

is a blessing before they kill you

it was 1992 when they said

you prayed beneath archways that stood

upon ground blessed

by another god,

so they scaled those creepers, the petals

carved into the walls, and dangled

atop the mosque like a divine

announcement—a flag thrown

to the heavens, the sky corrugated

with strands of saffron—they called

it prayer, before they killed you

and they have killed you

again, now, their pious feet

stampede through your threshold—you have eaten

an animal, their animal, sucked

on the bones of their god, they say

you swallowed their sacred

in a ritual of your own—you killed

their god, so they killed you

the hymn of sword and gunfire

rings—their god is dead, and you are dead,

and you will both remain there, decaying

ike an ancient prayer, half-forgotten—

the police say that you are dead, but nothing

of the ghost-words they spoke

before they killed you—it must be

god’s will that you have died

in a disparate city the saffron man

sits silent, not in lament

or mourning; he is praying—he wrote

the prayer that killed you

and tomorrow he will write

your epilogue

a calf is born, adorned in marigolds

and copper bells and paraded

through each village square and each traffic light

in every city—they have offered me a gun

to kill your children, your cousins, anyone

who knelt before your god and ate

your feast, your sin, we can taste it—our tongues

roll with tinny consonants, stolen and distorted

from some scripture, we carry tambourines

and cymbals and drums—clang of sword, refrain

of gun—the calf leads us through the marketplace

and the shops lower their shutters as we pass

and we chant the asking price of your flesh

Indian Cultural Forum has showcased Hemang Ashwinkumar’s  “Lynching: A Poem”.[v] The poem is set below,

1

Bloody know this much,

if you’re serious about the business.

You don’t send look out circulars,

LOC for short, to readers,

pedagogues or publishers

nor do you stick ‘missing’ fliers

in newsprint, paywalls or periodicals

to track a poem that’s gone

out of hand, a bit too far,

beyond the oblong of

glossy white or matte beige

pinned under your iron fist.

Lie in an ambush instead, and wait

in backlanes, pavements, or a local train.

He’ll crawl out, the ratface,

from history’s hellhole,

on silent, sneaky backsteps

-that’s how his sort move, right to left-

Haiku frail, his form dark on average,

mien a crooked line, a sea snake,

and visage a lowly turn of phrase.

You can identify him simply by dress.

That scarecrow kurta, bare baggy pants,

ah! so cunningly tailor-made,

could carry contexts, wholly unintended,

and meanings that sully the sacred.

That wired skullcap, beware, is there

to receive foreign aid

of allusions, concepts

and suspended syntax.

2

So, don’t wait for a MO,

just go, go, go, crouch up close

and pounce with all the four,

grab him by neck

drag the reeking fag

to the kerbside or the closest pole.

First frisk, be vigilant, it’s not without risk.

Molly metaphors may tumble off his pockets,

mean puns could crawl off his sleeve folds.

And check that hem for priceless gems

sewn to last him a lifetime of torment.

You can grope his jags too in the bargain.

But never look him in eyes, the inky ripples

as images of milk, medicines and

living dreams are known to melt.

Pound pummel rant, make him chant

your pet refrain, the war cry, the victory song.

He’ll keep mum, the lowdown scum,

his silence is an omen of storm

or else will stammer to shed sparks

striking his dark words like flintstones.

The biggest taboo to observe, however,

is his heart beating secular rhythms,

and his soul, the mirror of civilization.

Instead, read the Morse code

in drops and dash of his blood

and use that knee, your life support,

to pin his neck against the floor.

I can’t breathe, he will beg.

He will chime it sixteen times,

the globe-trotting magic mantra.

Pay no heed. Just keep the count.

Dot on 9:29 it will end, the holy satra.

Shariqa Nida’s poem “Our Fallen Nation: A Take on Mob Lynching!” is “a wake up call for all the folks of our society to bring back the humanity that their souls have sold.”[vi]  The poem is given below.

Our Fallen Nation: A Take On Mob Lynching

We always talk about,

The India of our dreams.

Today, let’s talk about the same India,

And it’s scathing streets.

Where social animals define the law,

And ruminants control the society,

And innocents praying for peace and harmony,

Seek no way to satiety.

Where the innocuous are brutally killed,

Merely for supposed suspicion.

And behind these gibbets lie barbarous mobs,

Brainwashed by tainted corruption.

Where humans thought of lowest caste,

Are stripped and hit with rods.

And every domain’s  every street,

Witnesses such crooks with similar plots.

Where not even public places seem safe anymore,

And skull capped juveniles are dragged out of trains.

And then one of the teen bleeds t death,

But the folks around seem to have lost their brains.

Where the office bearers aren’t worried to find him,

The university scholar who’s  missing since a bout.

And while all these tragedies strike the nation,

We have people who ask, “What’s  the fuss about?”

So these are the people who gifted us,

With a silent union that beholds mob lynching.

Not a place in the nation is left,

Where you’d  find people cringing and flinching.

And the social media floods with videos,

Uploaded by the noxious culprits lacking coy,

That simply shows their guts to slay the law,

And the exemption they enjoy.

And now it seems that lynching speaks,

More than most speeches do,

About the country’s future and security,

And of people’s rights and privileges too.

And in the end, what the world beholds,

Is Indians  killing other Indians,

And the ones who suffer at the hands of evil,

At the end are again Indians.

The soil of this nation has witnessed,

The blood of every caste and religion.

And we, the mortal beings, aren’t here to fight,

For the ownership of this region.

This is no more the nation where people die.

Here, dreams and humanity are dead.

This is not our same vibrant India,

Here, democracy gave in its last breath.

We have sold our souls to heedlessness.

We have misplaced our empathy.

Lynchings no doubt are excruciating,

But more painful is our apathy.

Why does the nation not realize,

That we have not just lost people.

We have lost our humanity,

and have proved that our strength is feeble.

The consistency of such a crime,

Isn’t due to lawlessness.

The reason behind this is us:

The citizens and their listlessness.

The demolition of this diverse nation,

Seems to be painfully absolute,

If the attitudes of the educated,

And liberal folks remain obsolete.

It’s time we underestimate no more,

The power of stupid people in large groups,

Cruelty and inhumanity is what,

Clearly defines these barbaric troops.

It’s time we get off our comfort zones,

And speak up for the oppressed,

This isn’t anymore a disparaging  concern,

That needs to be quashed and compressed.

Let’s stand up and together raise our voice,

Against these heinous lynching acts.

And put an end to this cruelty,

With justice, fair play,  truth and facts.

If mob lynching doesn’t wake us up,

and shake our conscience in any way,

All that we’re up to is wait for a lynch mob,

To knock our doors and put us in dismay.

Let’s call out for a law against mob vigilantism,

That’d give us a breath of security,

And would help us fight off the other evils too,

To bring back to the nation serenity.

As India sees growing cases of mob lynching and hate crimes, Poojan Sahil and Nabiya Khan assert that people “need to remember Tabrez Ansari, Akhlaq, Pehlu Khan, Subodh Kumar and all those who have become a victim of this. This video is to remind all of us that we have reject politics of hate and move towards an India that lives in harmony.” The song is Ghazal by Habib Jalib, called “Dastoor”; the poem is written and performed by Nabiya Khan.[vii] These are the protest songs performed to raise voices against mob lynching in India.

               The term Lynchistan has, of late, become a household word following increasing incidences of violence led by gau rakshaks. On the one hand, phrases like ‘national, anti-national and sedition’ have dramatically dominated the public discourse. At the same time, hashtags like #CowTerrorists #NewIndia #Lynchistan #LynchRaj #Intolerance and #SaffronTerror have surfaced in cyberspace on the other.

               The growing incidence of mob lynchings of Dalits and Muslims has seen many agitated poets recourse to their pens to register their protests. Social media is replete with protest poems against the bloodlust of faceless mobs, the government’s cold indifference, and even tacit support for it. At a time when people are being dubbed ‘anti-national’ for criticising or even questioning the government’s policies and are being targeted with sedition charges at the drop of a hat, these poets have fearlessly been taking the glorious legacy of liberal political activism forward. Moreover, the poetry of dissent and resistance is handy for registering the protest. Whenever an incident of lynching is reported, conscientious social media users invariably post Urdu couplets to register their protest online. Among others, Faiz, Sahir and Jalib seem to be the most quoted poets.[viii]

               Bollywood editor and writer Apurva Asrani, best known for his films with Hansal Mehta (Aligarh, Shahid), has written a poem on the mob culture sweeping nationwide.  It has recently witnessed a host of public lynchings. In the strongly worded poem, Asrani points out the lack of rationale in our current scenario, with hashtags and click-baity headlines holding the sway.[ix]

 We are the mob and the mob is us

 We are the mob and the mob is us.

Left-wing, right-wing or in the centre, what difference does it make?

Aren’t we all just looking for a fight, since we’re always right & the other fake?

Not thoughts or feelings, but trending hashtags tell us where to draw daggers, and how deep.

And before we hit the jugular, we are wowed by another trend, another bend, and we unflinchingly leap.

Dog thrown from a roof, child fallen in a well,

Valentine villains volley, kittens rescued from hell.

Perverted politicians exposed, potholes all the way,

#SelfieWithMamma is trending; smile, its mothers day.

Then there’s #climatechange #harassment #feminism and #gayrights.

Like bloodhounds we wait on standby,

For an invisible god to ‘trend’ the next fight.

140 character zombies, will then rise on two sides.

Each will uphold an idea of ‘truth’ that’s either black or it is white.

Their truth is ‘the’ truth, They have no time for nuance.

Craven web-warriors will turn lynch mobs,

dancing in a deathly digital trance.

‘Slam’, ‘demolish’, ‘destroy’;

headlines appear to provoke outrage.

Hypnotised by clever click-bait,

we are programmed to spew hate.

Often, a stray opinion will wander,

into this curfew of manufactured truth,

seeking no alliance with black nor white,

and with original thought to boot.

But contradictions will be silenced,

and trolled with damning labels.

And if it endures, persists and kicks back,

Of a new hashtag it may be found able.

The stray thought will then be co-opted,

A following of its own it will make.

And when it starts to believe its own legend,

fast fingers will claw at its facade.

After all, we are the mob and the mob is us.

My poem “Lynching”, available at: https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/lynching-1/, is about the rising incidents of mob lynching. The poem has arrested the fearful conditions of Indian Muslims.

Lynching

Eid Mubarak, friends,
Say your Eid prayer at home,
We turn your prayer fields into cow sheds

And hear,
Don’t dare to wear a skull cap,
Our boys will smash your head to the ground


Don’t put on a lungi either,
Our good boys will deliver instant justice,
They will cut your genitals and throw them into the gutters

Ask your women and girls not to wear hijab,
Our boys will tear it apart and rape them before your eyes

Don’t deal in cattle,
Our boys will lynch you in daylight

I have written another poem on mob lynching, “Lynch the ways of the ‘others’”
It runs,

Madrasas are waiting for coming flames,
For they are terrorist hubs

Medical schools are not required,
For they presage our age-old ways of healing

Astrology courses are vital,
For they produce the best bhakts

Vidyamandir is crucial,
For they produce faithful nationalists
Who can instill fear into ‘others’
By crying ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, ‘Jai Shree Ram’

Quran is not key,
Leave it or go to Pakistan

Gita is imperative for school
For it makes kids sacred as Gangajal

Mike at Masjid is to be barred,
Beating drums at Mandir calms the evening air.

Pray at home on Eid
For we’ll turn prayer-field into a cowshed.

No burial ground?
Don’t worry,
We’ll kill and bury you into
City’s garbage-heaps

Cattle traders are visual pollutants,
Let’s lynch them and cleans our blood,  
Lungi-clad labourers bar our vision,
Let’s cut the genitals of the aliens.
Don’t wear a skull cap,
We’ll lynch you if you dare to wear it.

Anti-lynching poem by Gajanan Mishra, available at: https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/anti-lynching/, accessed 29 May 2023, has pointed out that no one is above the law. People cannot take the law into their hands.

Constitution is there,
Law is there,
Trial courts are there,
And no one can execute or
Punish anyone
Without lawful trial
Or by a self-constituted
Illegal court.
No one also allowed
To go to do on the road
What he like at any time.
No one also allowed to
gather people with falsehood
And disturb the peace.

Rm. Shanmugam Chettiar’s “Lynching is Murdering”, available at: https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/lynching-is-murdering/, accessed 30 May 2023, has asked, “Must mobocracy rule over democracy?”

Lynching one for his allegedly vile act
Is a murder, calling for punishment.
To settle a score or from the hatred
Deep rooted, lynching is resorted to.
Must mobocracy rule over democracy?
Lynching is worse than murder for the crime.

Many lynching poems are available at poemhunter.com. One may access them at the click of a mouse. For my purpose, I have selected only two Indian poems. I aim to demonstrate that lynching finds a prominent space among Indian poets. They are protesting against it in multiple poetic voices. Indian fiction lags behind Indian poetry in voicing lynching issues. Admittedly, to date, there exist only a few Indian novels and stories that have captured the lynching topic.

Many poets and many voices. Some are brilliant in exposing the crudity of the lynching horrors and the hollowness of the power. Some are sombre in words and appeal. Some depicted the lynching scene and demanded an answer from the authority. Some bypassed the obvious and took a resort to the power of imagery and the belief within. Some minds swirled with scatology. Multiple voices, multiple expressions. But they all are moved by the lynching crimes. They evocatively arrested the pain and anguish such crimes germinate among the people. Their words resisted the march of the mobs. They exposed the lies the power was ever ready to mask.  Kate North wrote, “Poetry is also used to explore the potential for change in the future, carrying with it the fears or hopes of the poet.” [x] True to her claim, poetry is a medium that records our pain, rage, anger, love, sorrow, and hope. And Indian poets are serving the nation by raising fears and hopes in a dark time.


[i] Bose, Meghnad. “This Powerful Poem Narrates the Anatomy of Mob Lynchings in India.” 12 Sept. 2019, available at: https://www.thequint.com/neon/this-powerful-poem-narrates-the-anatomy-of-mob-lynchings-in-india accessed 26 May 2023.

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Mehrotra, Palash Krishna. “No one is Spared.” Mumbai Mirror, 15 Sept. 2019, available at: https://mumbaimirror.indiatimes.com/others/leisure/no-one-is-spared/articleshow/71128419.cms accessed 29 May 2023.

[iv]  Swami, Poorna. “The Poems in Saffron Ink: It Must Be God’s Will That You Have Died.” The Wire, 13 Sept. 2017  Available at: https://thewire.in/communalism/poems-in-saffron-ink-dadri-lynching accessed 25 May 2023.

[v] Ashwinkumar, Hemang. “Lynching: A Poem”, Indian Cultural Forum, 21 May 2021, available at: https://indianculturalforum.in/2021/05/21/lynching-a-poem/ accessed 27 May 2023.

[vi] Nida, Shariqa. “POEM: Our Fallen Nation: A Take On Mob Lynching!”, Giotelengana, 29 June 2017, available at: https://giotelangana.wordpress.com/2017/06/29/poem-our-fallen-nation-a-take-on-mob-lynching/ accessed 26 May 2023.


[vii] “Voices Against Lynching.” YouTube, uploaded by Poojan Sahil, 19 July 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLpJJ1QwThI

[viii] Sharma, Ashutosh. “Poetry of Protest in the times of Lynch Raj.” National Herald,  8 August 2017, available at: https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/cafe/poetry-of-protest-in-the-times-of-lynch-raj accessed 28 May 2023.

[ix]  Hindustan Times. “We are the mob and the mob is us: Apurba Asrani’s poem is sharp and moving.” 28 July 2017, available at: https://www.hindustantimes.com/bollywood/we-are-the-mob-and-the-mob-is-us-apurva-asrani-s-poem-on-lynchings-is-sharp-and-moving/story-4iam8LRuMq4RgrjOlJzIbL.html accessed 29 May 2023.

[x] North, Kate. “Poetry has a power to inspire change like no other art form.” The Conversation. 2 Oct. 2018, available at: https://theconversation.com/poetry-has-a-power-to-inspire-change-like-no-other-art-form-99722

accessed 31 May 2023.

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Freevoice

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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