The Idea of Nation in Children ( In two parts)
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?
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?
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.