Poem for Najeeb

Nabanita Kanungo’s #poem about a #Muslim Student from #JNU who can’t be found

Where are you, Najeeb?
Come, see, we’ve
outdone ourselves
this time;
we’ve set dogs
after the stench
of our fears
that whisper
you may yet be alive.
We’re searching for you
after cleaning the bloody trail
of your tortured flight.
We’re civilised, fair,
a democracy,
Our bravado traps pigeons
to set them free
on independence day.
We’ve murdered truth
and deified it
so many times.
Come, see,
we’ve put pictures
in the papers
measuring our lies,
the lids of our septic
values are being lifted
to fish you out;
come, hear
the headlines scream:
We are trying,
to find your putrid
remains in some gutter
of our denial
that you were human;
or were you, Najeeb?
Could you ever have been
a human being
in this country,
just a boy
with his share of
And could your mother
have been a mother after all,
your brother, a brother?
Could you have felt pain,
hope, joy, like us?
Did you have the right
to live or die?
We’ve traced you already
from old hate-registers
of our eyes;
how far can you go?
We’ll hunt you down
from the breath
you’ve left behind;
we’re scanning
the streets of
your skull-cap
your history,
your silence;
we’ve decoded
your last cry
in the azaan,
your last word
in the namaaz;
we’ve painted black
the mirror of your faith
where we might have looked
and died of ourselves;
Come, Najeeb,
come, see our
just hands hold
your absence too
on trial.




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Nabanita Kanungo Written by:

Nabanita Kanungo hails from Shillong and presently teaches Geography in Assam University's Diphu Campus. Her poems have appeared in various anthologies and journals. A Map of Ruins, her first book of poems, was published by Sahitya Akademi in 2014

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