India, as a country has forever taken pride in its democratic and secular outlook and hence inspired the world with its unity in diversity. However, there have been simmering tensions deep inside our nation which time and again raise their ugly heads and pose a question about our religious and communal tolerance.

Source: ny

As much as we’d like to believe that what happens in the family stays in the family, incidents like the recent Muzaffarnagar riots and Dadri lynching tamper our nation’s image at the global level. However, these communal demons are of our own making and were predicted by artists long ago.

Here’s a poem by a Pakistani poetess, Fahmida Riaz, who tried to warn India beforehand in her profound analysis of seething tensions in India, which are no different from Pakistan’s:

Here’s the text of the poem:

तुम बिल्कुल हम जैसे निकले

तुम बिल्कुल हम जैसे निकले

अब तक कहां छुपे थे भाई?

वह मूरखता, वह घामड़पन

जिसमें हमने सदी गंवाई

आखिर पहुंची द्वार तुम्हारे

अरे बधाई, बहुत बधाई

भूत धरम का नाच रहा है

कायम हिन्दू राज करोगे?

सारे उल्टे काज करोगे?

अपना चमन नाराज करोगे?

तुम भी बैठे करोगे सोचा,

पूरी है वैसी तैयारी,

कौन है हिन्दू कौन नहीं है

तुम भी करोगे फतवे जारी

वहां भी मुश्किल होगा जीना

दांतो आ जाएगा पसीना

जैसे-तैसे कटा करेगी

वहां भी सबकी सांस घुटेगी

माथे पर सिंदूर की रेखा

कुछ भी नहीं पड़ोस से सीखा!

क्या हमने दुर्दशा बनायी

कुछ भी तुमको नज़र न आयी?

भाड़ में जाये शिक्षा-विक्षा,

अब जाहिलपन के गुन गाना,

आगे गड्ढा है यह मत देखो

वापस लाओ गया जमाना

हम जिन पर रोया करते थे

तुम ने भी वह बात अब की है

बहुत मलाल है हमको, लेकिन

हा हा हा हा हो हो ही ही

कल दुख से सोचा करती थी

सोच के बहुत हँसी आज आयी

तुम बिल्कुल हम जैसे निकले

हम दो कौम नहीं थे भाई

मश्क करो तुम, आ जाएगा

उल्टे पांवों चलते जाना,

दूजा ध्यान न मन में आए

बस पीछे ही नज़र जमाना

एक जाप-सा करते जाओ,

बारम्बार यह ही दोहराओ

कितना वीर महान था भारत!

कैसा आलीशान था भारत!

फिर तुम लोग पहुंच जाओगे

बस परलोक पहुंच जाओगे!

हम तो हैं पहले से वहां पर,

तुम भी समय निकालते रहना,

अब जिस नरक में जाओ, वहां से

चिट्ठी-विट्ठी डालते रहना

Check out the video by Apne Aap Women Worldwide :

Here’s the English translation of the poem for ease of perusal:

Turned out you were just like us.

So it turned out you were just like us!

Where were you hiding all this time, buddy?

That stupidity, that ignorance

we wallowed in for a century –

look, it arrived at your shores too!

Many congratulations to you!

Raising the flag of religion,

I guess now you’ll be setting up Hindu Raj?

You too will commence to muddle everything up

You, too, will ravage your beautiful garden.

You, too, will sit and ponder –

I can tell preparations are afoot –

who is [truly] Hindu, who is not.

I guess you’ll be passing fatwas soon!

Here, too, it will become hard to survive.

Here, too, you will sweat and bleed.

You’ll barely make do joylessly.

You will gasp for air like us.

I used to wonder with such deep sorrow.

And now, I laugh at the idea:

it turned out you were just like us!

We weren’t two nations after all!

To hell with education and learning.

Let’s sing the praises of ignorance.

Don’t look at the potholes in your path:

bring back instead the times of yore!

Practice harder till you master

the skill of always walking backwards.

Let not a single thought of the present

break your focus upon the past!

Repeat the same thing over and over –

over and over, say only this:

How glorious was India in the past!

How sublime was India in days gone by!Then, dear friends, you will arrive

and get to heaven after all.

Yep. We’ve been there for a while now.

Once you are there,

once you’re in the same hell-hole,

keep in touch and tell us how it goes!

Are we really any different?