अनिल एकलव्य ⇔ Anil Eklavya

June 19, 2008

Two Hopeless Poems on Hope

[I had written these ‘poems’ some years ago. Even though they don’t quite represent my present mood, I have no intention of disowning them. Whatever be their literary evaluation. And whether they are considered literary or not.]

I Hope for Too Much

The world lives by hope
So they say
Where exactly is this hope?
Around me?
In the people around me?
The ones who laugh and are happy?
Those who are ‘United in Joy’?
I see them
But I see potential Nazis
Potential torturers
Potential tyrants
Potential murderers
Bribe givers and takers
Oppressors and exploiters
And not just potential ones

It’s done to them
And they do it to others
Persecuted become persecutors
When their chance comes
They don’t do it to those
Who can do it to them
They don’t do it to their partners
No, no, I’m wrong!
They may do it even to their partners
If they can get away with it

It’s not revenge
Because they mostly do it to those
Who didn’t do it to them
Like in Nazi Germany
Like in Israel’s Palestine
Like in the market near your home
Like on the road in front of your office
Like in the place where your child studies
In fact, the learning starts earlier

They laugh and talk stupid
They talk stupid and they laugh
They do it at breakfast
At lunch
At dinner
In their homes
On the streets
In the shops
In offices, trains, buses

Bad people talk stupid
Good people talk stupid
Stupid people talk stupid
Intelligent people talk stupid
Stupidity is intelligence
Self-deception is wisdom
Ignorance is knowledge
Because blinkers are jewels
They don’t want to know
But they want to pass judgments

They laugh a great deal
They kill and they laugh
They see killings and they laugh
They torture and they laugh
They see torture and they laugh
They make others’ lives hellish and they laugh
They see people living hellish lives
And they laugh
Rape, oppression, exploitation and laughter
Injustice and laughter
Insincerity and laughter
Indecency and laughter
Dishonesty and laughter
Their humour is not black
It’s happy, healthy, normal and contented
Or it pretends to be

They see poverty and they laugh
They see disease and they laugh
They see all this and they laugh
They also laugh at it
Not just in spite of it
Or they see it
And they don’t see it
Because seeing will interfere with their laughter
They don’t laugh when it’s done to them
But they go back to laughing when it’s not

If they are this way
They may be rewarded
If they are not
They will be punished
With punishments that are like cupboards
Full of rooms and rooms and rooms
You pass your life wandering through them

All this and more laughter
Laughter that is more cruel
Than physical torture
Laughter that is more vulgar
Than any vulgar words
Laughter that can make you want to kill
Laughter that is the music of the soul
(What kind of souls give out such music?)
Laughter that is the best medicine
Laughter that is God’s sunshine
This makes me laugh

Is laughter then hope?

I see them again
And I see a different potential
In a different world
Nazis become tolerant
Torturers become kind
Tyrants becomes democrats
Murderers live by non-violence
There is no need to give or take bribes
No need for oppression and exploitation
No opportunity for it either
People do to others
What they want done to them

There are some in this other world
Who remain what they were
Because they were born that way
They would still like to kill and laugh
They would see killings and laugh
But they don’t have the chance
And there are also those
Who didn’t kill and laugh
Who saw killings and couldn’t laugh
Because they too were born that way
But they are happy in this other world

There is laughter
Where it should be
Not where it shouldn’t
Is such laughter hope?
I hope it is
But I hope for too much

 

 

This Hope is Not for Me

I am a Jew in Nazi Germany
A Palestinian in Israel
A Dalit in an Indian village
A black in South Africa of apartheid
A communist in a market economy
A ‘reactionary’ in a communist state
A Muslim in post-Godhra Gujarat
A Hindu in newly created Pakistan
A leper in a respectable hospital

I am the ugly one among the beautiful
The weak one among the strong
The poor among the rich
The cursed one among the blessed
A Basque speaker among the Spanish
An outlier in statistics
A hopeless gone-case
Not to be worried about
The one whose existence
Spoils the show
Or adds
A pleasantly sadistic dimension to it

How much hope is there for me?
Perhaps there is a little
If I accept being a doormat
A sidekick, a joker, a flunky
Or a devotee
I have some other choices
As we live in a free world
I could loose my mind
I could go to the Himalayas
And live in a cave
(I might not reach there,
But that’s a different matter)
I could become a suicide bomber
But I don’t want to do that

I can at least get
The return ticket from life
Then Fevicol could make
A comic ad on the topic
“Man committing suicide”
How hilarious was the scene
When that “farmer died after consuming pesticide”
You could tell jokes
About that girl lying in a pool
Of her own blood
She had shot herself
The scene could be used
To make another ad
To sell something else
The economy will prosper
Happiness will increase

So there is hope
But it’s not for me

[Fevicol had actually brought out an ad a few years ago, which was published in ‘The Hindu’. It might have been published in other newspapers too. This ad carried an announcement of a competition with monitory prize in which the readers were asked to design a comic ad on the topic “Man committing suicide”.]

 

[2005]

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