Children of Heaven & the Dispossessed

The Idea of Nation in Children ( In two parts)

Part 1

Ours is a nation of stories

Of all that is beautiful

Songs, tales from granny

where goodness prevails

like the fireflies

stepping out in the dark

and each of us has a guardian angel

to watch over us at Christmas

In such a nation,

we all speak the same language of love, mommy says.

But nation? ummm…

Paa says, we have a great nation

Great legacy of wars waged for freedom

So we could play, sit and dine like this.

We could draw, no papa?

We gotta grow bigger and look after this nation.

When I get bigger,

 I will speak on how we snatched our freedom

like heroes from the bad men.

Ours is a great nation, you know?

Part 2 

Whither do we belong, ma?

For the sun does not shine here

In our slums.

It’s too dark in the nights

And what is this nation you speak of?

Is it beautiful?

Does it give us food, water

and a place to sleep at nights

When the nightmare passes by our hut?

Is it our hut, ma?

And when hunger strikes me down

I know no nation, none.

In Kashmir, I stealthily carry bombs in my lap

Guns in my pockets for the Jihadis.

I know not if they ring true.

But are they nation?

In Mumbai, I work at the crackers factory

With one hand,

While the other one grows more of the memories

Of our loss.

at least the loss is ours, no ma?

I am the one with tattered clothes in a mad man’s fury

Who knows no nation.

The ‘Chhitmahal’ kids,

yes, I was there

born out of the bifurcation they made.

Ma, what is that we belong to?

Tell me?

What language do we have that we speak?

Our land is all stories in granny’s tale

When rohingyas too had a land

So beautiful with food and no hunger

Our land is lost in time.

And we are lost in search of our nation

as in granny’s tale…

Purnojit Haldar, who hails originally from Malda, West Bengal, is currently a student of Jadavpur University, Kolkata, pursuing his M.Phil. He is an avid reader of literature. He is just an ordinary person with some extraordinary dreams about the world around him. He loves wandering and writing pieces on people, nature, places and thoughts as a continuum of his memory. In the midst of disjunction, it is the symphony of existence that he seeks to discover.

 

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