[Reader-list] In Trafalgar Square: The Other 1857: Short Performance by Inder Salim

Iram Ghufran iram at sarai.net
Sat Jun 14 22:47:02 IST 2008


A short performance by Inder Salim

Trafalgar Square


June 19th, 2008


One million died,
And I was born:
INDIA 1857

Blood all around, cries, cries of scattered limbs,
Raped women and beheaded children,
Men, either hanged or blown to pieces in front of cannons
or drowned alive,
That was my umbilical cord
Which I didn't saw, but my mother
Who is memory now…

My father and me grew up, hand in hand
Marching, left right, left right left,
Hey, you Indian Sepoy,
Keep your nails in check, else I chop off your fingers.
That was Him to him in between left right left.
Hey, you little boy, clean your hands before meals
Else I chop off your fingers, that was him to me.

 Blue and red uniform brought food to me
I remember, how I grew up with saxaphones, drums of Military Parade
And that simmering disquiet against that Sun-that-never-sets.
I remember, how violence met non-violence.

Two million died
And I was cut into two:

Celebrations, and unrest, hunger amidst few rich
Few rich who hired me to perform.
Perform and perform in those blues and reds
Performing those crammed notes, I died.

Nobody died,
But I was Dalit: a born non-existent:

A monsoon wedding, or a simple wedding
And they tell me to perform
In my predecessors blues and reds
Which brings food to me and my family.
And ah! I play Bollywood tunes.
Meri piyaari Bahaniyaa banighee dulhanihya
Ban kay aayiangey dulhey rajaa
Bhaiya rajaa bajayega bajaa
( my beautiful sister will become the bride, as he will come as a groom ,
this brother will perform)

Perform, I will, to resurrect, 'the other 1857',
I promised to my brothers and sisters back in India.
In Trafarlgar square, London
As I saw myself, living, inside the white concrete slab with 'text'
Under General Sir Henry Havelock of1857, who is
Silent, but standing confidently high in his robes,

So this other 1857, too
Silent, but standing confidently in his robes..

-- http://indersalim.livejournal.com

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