Write me down, I'm an Indian

 

Ajmal Khan

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 (After Mahmood Darvish in Palestine, Aga Shahid Ali in Kashmir and the Mia poets in Assam)

Write me down
I am an Indian
Write it down
My name is Ajmal
I am a Muslim
and Indian citizen
We are seven at home
all are Indian by birth
Do you want documents?

Write me down
that I am an Indian
I am a Moplah
My ancestors were untouchables
Hindus in your language
Slapped on the face of Manu
they changed their names
when they were given dignity
centuries ago
before forefathers of your ideologues were born
Are you suspicious?

Write me down
I am an Indian
My ancestors tilled the soil here
They lived here
and died
Their roots are deeper than the roots of these Banyan and Coconut trees
Though they weren't landlords
but only peasants
this land is their root
The scent of their root is the scent of this land
The colour of their skin
is the colour of this land
Do you want documents?

Write me down
I am an Indian
Do you still need documents?
Then I will dig the graves in Malabar
and many others
I want to show you the boot and bullets on their chests
when they fell down with the British bullets
Do you still need documents?
I know
What documents you have
The copy of a confession at Cellular Jail
And
The blood stains of Gandhi on your hand
Do you want me to remind you more those ?
I say
Shut the fuck up
If you ask me for documents.

Write me down
I am an Indian
Remember
I have not forgotten
that you sent people to demolish Masjid
But now
you have demolished the constituion
the soul of this land
I am angry
How dare you?
How dare you?

Write me down
I am Indian
This is my land
If I have born here
I will die here
There for
Write it down
Clearly
In bold and capital letters
On the top of your NRC
that I am an Indian.

~~~

 

Ajmal Khan is a poet and teaches at Ambedkar University, New Delhi.