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The People at the Morcha

Having witnessed her father’s killing
in the riots of 1947
surjit kaur is looking for her
son-in-law in this morcha
he went missing during ‘1984’
delhi, to her, is a cold slaughterhouse

Jangveer cannot forget
the lifeless corpse of his friend
found in a cotton field
scared, for so long, to enter that field
he has arrived at this morcha
to cry out his final tears

mocking the national citizens’ register
these two girls, deprived of school
in class tenth, have arrived at this morcha
to protest the government’s
conspiracy to murder
their cancer-afflicted mother
rolling the rotis
surjan’s thoughts are still stuck
in that fateful night of 1986
now stifling himself with
the four corners of the quilt
he spends his days peering at
young boys raising slogans
looking for the face of his own son

having spent her entire life
cooking and cleaning for others
santo has arrived in this morcha
to give a beat to its rhythms
with her cracked heels and her cracked hands
her sweat runs blood red, here

the people at this morcha
swap with one another
their dreams and their memories
more than the ones they have lost
they are worried about those
they are yet to meet
they have memorized every single letter
of a history that is yet to be written

someone envisions baba nanak’s pair of scales
that bartered a whole granary for Him
someone’s memory brims with rage and sorrow
someone keeps looking for the ‘sarabaha’
they had encountered in a book in class five
while the separation from lahore’s central jail
will not let someone sleep

here, everyone looks for the loved ones
they have lost
here, protesting against their miseries
everyone sets their hearts on fire
this morcha has consumed all poisons
this time, in this court,
the people will have saved socrates


The author of this Poem is Kuldeep Kaur. This poem was pubished in the third edition of Trolley Times.

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