Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Pilgrim Dreams

On this night, I’m with Commander Lachit Barphukan,
In Saraighat, next to the precipice where
There should stand the fort before the night is out.
He stands there, his eyes on the valley below, next
To the river, bathed in moonlight, the trees like pillars,
And the swaying grass beneath. This is his land. He heaves
A sigh. This is his land till the night is out. He clasps
The hengdang that rests next to his leg, still dripping blood.
He clasps the hengdang: This is his land, till he can wield
His weapon, and till his weapon is hungry for blood. He
Thinks of his momai; it wasn’t his fault. He spoke for everyone.
They are tired, and there’s battle to win tomorrow.
He knows, there’d be no war if the fort is not done. The
Bangals would take over. He can smell the enemy in the
Sweet breeze of the twilight, or is it the blood of his kin?
“My momai is not greater than my motherland,” he repeats, as if
To console himself. He had uttered the same words, tonight, before
Piercing the heart of his uncle, his assistant, counsellor, dear friend.
He wants to cry. No. Not yet. He’d cry when it’s all over, when
The Bangals arrive, and destroy them. And there’d be nothing to mourn.
His diseased body shivers in hope and apprehension. He’s dying too.
Soon. But not before he fights this war. The last battle of his life, and
Perhaps, the last battle of his free country. He doesn’t regret death.
But, he wants to die in the free country. His land.

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