Wednesday, June 28, 2006

More Discussion on my Poem “Communally Hated” on Caferati

My poem “Communally Hated” has received a very interesting mix of feedback from Caferati members. Here’s another rejoinder, a clarification, rather, from me.

First of all let me confess that the idea for this poem was in the back of my conscience for a long time, and it just came to me one day and I wrote it down. As such, this is a first draft and a work in progress.

Please bear in mind that this is the voice of a distraught son-of-the-soil lamenting the fact that foreign migrants have taken over his land, his job, and are threatening his very existence. This happens in places as diverse as Bombay and Timbuktu as migration of people — for better life, and more pay — is like liquid finding its own level in scientific-speak. In short, minus the jargon, it is a phenomenon the world has to deal with and live with.

Also, this is the most virulent of all hatreds. It is also the hatred the indigenous people have for the conquerors, the marauders, and the pillagers. It has happened in the past when India was repeatedly attacked and conquered by invaders from Central Asia, it is happening in Iraq, it happened in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and many, many years ago it happened in the USA, and Anglo-Saxon England.

Now, a knee-jerk reaction to this hatred is, violence towards the migrant. We see instances of this every day. Some time back migrants who came for interviews to Bombay were blocked at the railway station and asked to go back. This is a stray instance, but an instance nonetheless.

Migration is a phenomena faced everywhere around the world. An increasing number of people from villages are migrating to cities for jobs and this is a process that cannot be stemmed. Around a quarter of the world population live in cities and this figure is steadily creeping up, putting governance of cities under severe pressure.

My poem is a depiction of, what shall I say, the adrenaline-squirting rush of hatred that goes through the mind of an indigenous person when s/he sees her/his land being occupied by strangers.
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