Thine Kingdom Is Mine

by Ikhtisad for AlaloDulal.org
***
Nazrul died today, newspaper says,
Spelt his name wrong, common mistake:
Unimportant, not an op-ed or commentary,
What does it matter anyway?
Father is well and mother survives,
My abode keeps me warm –
Veritable ivory tower, for far away
It is from the damned land.

Boy of nine this time, breaking news,
Left on the street to rot, fitting;
You want his name? Perish
The thought, who knows such things?
Father is well and mother survives,
They have democracy for comfort,
And fire on the streets for warmth,
No comparison with my “Communist Manifesto”.

Beaten copy, I pat once again –
Feign horror, cry for salvation,
Crocodile tears learnt from the master:
Young leader in pin-striped suit,
Champagne and caviar at night,
Saves us with chest-thumping by day,
Pretence for golden ticket, another slight,
A minister he will be tomorrow, celebrate!

His raping and pillaging will have to wait –
Doctor tries to resuscitate a corpse,
One more, what is the difference?
The elders speak of democracy,
Their time is now, we are saved!
Father is well and mother survives,
Wheels turn, world goes round,
Today’s leaders do so much for us!

My gratitude almost given before
Sufiya’s burnt, beaten, blood-stained
Body into focus comes, in print and on screen –
One question: fat or pregnant?
Obesity averted or over-population tackled?
Victory for leaders either way;
Father is well and mother survives,
Join me here they will, together to thrive.

Green and red held above our heads,
Pictures I see of celebrations –
Leaders young and old have their say, I
Join my countrymen from distant land
In their pride on this meaningless sacred day;
Father is well, but mother is silent,
Think nothing of it, she has democracy
To pull her through for decades more.

Mother is dead I am told –
First flight to Bangladesh, empty
Going that way, foolish to pay full price;
Plane descends, but no water in the land
Of rivers I see, only hues of red
All over, ablaze and flowing,
Turning, twisting, repeating;
Why am I even here, I wonder?

Funeral day, no-one left to mourn,
Nazrul, Sufiya, the nine year-old –
All too selfish, not here beside me;
Second problem: no place to bury,
Left and right I search, we have democracy
This cannot possibly be!
The columns, the talk-shows, the biases:
They were convincing, they assured me!

Toss her in the fire, cremation,
Paid the big bucks for my innovation
I am, now back I go, no time to mourn.
Before boarding chartered plane,
With a camera in my face, I say a word,
Maybe even two, I cannot stop!
Limelight seized, father is well
And we have democracy I tell.

Too long I spend being self-important,
Something mispoken or a step taken wrong –
They come and take me away,
Today I will die, they say.
This is democracy, I understand,
If not them then the other side
Will kill me for sure, I know this fact;
“Oh mother, what have I done?” I never ask,
No tears forthcoming, why should they?
I feel nothing, those who do are long dead.

Ikhtisad is a writer and an erstwhile lawyer. Follow him on Twitter: @ikhtisad

Photo credit: Mohammad Asad for Demotix ( http://www.demotix.com/news/2092570/watermelon-summer-fruit-bangladesh#media-2092517 )

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