Friday, September 30, 2016

In Dubardha village

in District Ballia, U.P.,
the family of Lance Naik Rajesh Kumar Yadav
had erected barricades on the road that
"lead to our house to ensure that
no media-person or any relative
could reach there and talk of
Rajesh's death to his
mother and wife."

In stopping the news,
did they hope the truth would turn,
or that Parvati, Rajesh's wife,
eight months pregnant, would grit,
in the meanwhile, her fingers on
the impossible arm of resolve.

"We stopped everyone from visiting
our house," he said, "but, somehow,
some journalists, they found a way from
the other side of the road, reached our home
late that afternoon, and told Parvati about the death,"
Vikesh, the Lance Naik's brother, said.
He farms a 3-bigah piece of land in the village.

Who owns the news
of the death of a soldier?
Who has the right to hold it in their hands
as it stuns courage into disbelief
at what its always asked to do? In Satara,
the father of a killed soldier, only twenty-seven,
is afraid of putting this land of the courageous in the docks,
he asks the journalist, "Am I wrong in saying
that I want my two other sons to be safe"?

Should the news of the soldier's passing
not stun our ears into the shape of disbelief,
not make us refuse the leaden article of
the country, not turn us into rain, or should it

run in tickers till blood runs dry?

Far away, seated outside her house,
in Gangasagar, 24 Paraganas in Bengal - "the road
to their house had no light" - the 20-year old Bulti Ghorai,
sister of late Sepoy Biswajit Ghorai, who now lives only in
the country of loss, tells the journalist, resolve now held so tight
in her fingers it cannot breathe, "I will never let any member
of my family join the Army again," and asks them to believe.

(thanks to Sweety Kumari and Manish Sahu)

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