Predicting Tianenmen with Hindsight

इन दिनों बारह साल पहले पढी केकी दारूवाला की ये कविता बहुत याद आई. अंततः, 'चंद्रभागा' का वो अंक ढूंढकर कविता टाइप कर डाली. पढ़ें...

"Where you have city squares
and unhappy students
you will eventually have tanks."

Predicting Tianenmen with Hindsight
                                        - Keki N Daruwalla

Where there is spring
there will be flowers.
Where there are city squares
there will be students,
and speeches and slogans.
Dreams will hiss out of valves
like white steam.

The next day or the next week
or the week after that
come the armed police.
Where they go will be truncheons
and where there are truncheons
there are going to be sore backsides
and where there is tear gas
there'll be tears
(One needed no clairvoyance
for that one).

The troops will come in then,
recruits still in their teens,
proud of their uniforms.
They march so stiffly
they will be a tired lot
before they even reach the square.

They've been given pep talks,
even as they set out from the barracks.
"You'll get a few hoodlums there,
foreign agents mostly;
throw them out!"

But they get waylaid.
People start running alongside
these marching squares.
When people turn emotional
even cliches make sense.
"You are flesh of our flesh,
blood of our blood," they shout
"You can't fire at us!"

Loudspeakers start howling
like wolf-packs at each other.
The Party loudspeakers
give endless renditions of the martial law,
and read out tear jerking letters
from the mothers of the students
exhorting them to read
the key speeches of the Great Helmsman.

APCs now ring the town.
The reluctant troops from the city
have to be ringed
by less reluctant troops
from lesser cities,
and they in turn will be encircled
by troops from the very outposts,
from Tartary and Mongolia and the Gobi desert,
spiral around spiral,
an expanding universe of concentrics.

There will be vigils now and rumours:
such and such an army has left the barracks.
Helicopters have left a particular air base.
Cobbled on the pavements,
with the night as blanket,
the students go to sleep.

Next morning, if that's the word
for night cut up in half
by tracer bullets,
come the tanks.
Where you have city squares
and unhappy students
you will eventually have tanks.

1 comment:

Gurpreet said...

Good one!

- Gurpreet Singh