A03 Readings from the Fringes

M 1

Constitution, Democracy, Freedom

The Objectives Resolution - Jawaharlal Nehru

Translated by Siddharth Tanti

And how many more days this way, democracy?

Head down, on bended knees, with eyes closed

No end to your mutilation

No end to your humiliation

I hear your bedlam, democracy.

How I love you with my life

I see your lips sewed together

Your eyes covered with a blindfold.

I wish to speak out, yet I cannot

Perhaps harm befalls you

I desire to ask, yet I cannot

For fear it will offend.

Democracy, so much darkness inside your home

Yet outside I see a riot of light

Democracy, I wish you a long life

One day before you become barren

One day before you turn bloody

Let me speak out for you

Democracy, before you weep

May I erase myself from your heart.

Sameer Tanti was born in the Mikirchang Tea Estate, a division of Behora Tea Estate, in Assam. The Guwahati-based writer has published twelve collections of poetry, three collections of literary and critical essays and edited two collections of short stories on the partition of India and on fascism amongst many other projects. His work has been recognised by multiple prizes including the Chaganlal Jain Literary Award and the Assam Valley Literary Award. His poem was inspired by the expectations that remain unfulfilled decades after Independence and by the exclusion, apathy and suppression that prevent India from being truly free.

How many more days, Democracy? (YouTube)

Sameer Tanti

Narration leading to the incident (YouTube)