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Mainstream, Vol XLV, No 35

The Fire in Our Hearts

by Suhas Borker

Saturday 18 August 2007


Sixty Years of Azadi, Yes.
- But forget
- You made Salt at Dandi that shook the Empire
- We are Salt-sellers
- in the bottomless pits of power-brokering
- salivating for more and more and more.
- We stop at nothing
- the rock salt buries all.

But forget
- You said to wipe every tear from every eye
- We are not geared for that:
- heard about the India-Bharat divide?
- Artificial tears are packaged for India only;
- the real ones are in Bharat.
- We are also stockpiling our cellars
- of our world class city constructs
- with stacks of blinding teargas shells
- blended with special red chillies
- from Guntur for everyday use
- against the spoilers and troublemakers
- —the jholewallas agents provocateurs
- who question everything
- growth rate and development,
- dialectics and anti-intellectualism.

Anything ‘will do’ in India.
- But in the mindscape of Bharat
- you are blind and deaf
- for you cannot see the edifices burning
- and the pygmies who usurped them
- wallowing in the muck of scams
- scurrying for life like little rats and mice
- covered in black soot with their tails afire
- for you cannot hear the cries of
- the tortured and tormented
- while the smouldering scaffolds crumble.

Tell me: What potion will wake us up from our
- Before history repeats itself
- Like one day the Farmans from Lal Qila
- could not pass muster beyond Palam
- Do you want ‘What is to be done?’
- buried in the archival mounds of Raisina Hill?

Nandigram or Mudigonda-Khammam?
- Does it really matter?
- The brutes are everywhere.
- Bullet-ridden bodies speak only numbers
- till the voice of a vibrant and resilient activist
- like a Narmada, volatile and unbeatable,
- reverberates:
- Rape me as many times as you can
- I will not surrender
- I will not surrender.

The tears have dried the eyes
- to reveal gaping holes of fire within
- and the fury of the shrieks has
- plucked the ears in a deafening
- collapse of the charred pillars of
- lives lived in squalor and misery
- in fear and trepidation of losing
- their land, their hearth, their livelihood,
- —of losing all.

- How many more cries to be muffled?
- How many more voices to be silenced?
- How many more women to be raped by booted rogues?
- How many more farmers to commit suicide?
- How many more protesters to be killed?
- How many more bullets will it take for the raging fires to reach the Temple?

The fire is in our hearts; it won’t be long!
- The fire is in our hearts; it won’t be long!

August 7, 2007 Suhas Borker ....

(Suhas Borker is an independent documentary filmmaker and social activist based in New Delhi. He can be e-mailed at

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