Culture & Society

Poems: 'Battle Of Identity' In Manipur And 'Many Avatars Of Ram'

Poet Bina Sarkar Ellias writes two poems for Outlook on the violence in Manipur and the Ram temple

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Women belonging to the 'Meira Paibis', a group of women representing Meitei society, hold torches during a demonstration demanding for the restoration of peace in Manipur | Photo: Getty Images
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Manipur Burning

for the battle of identity

for the hundreds dying

for the millions who do not care

burn, 

they said 

burn 

because 

you do not

matter.

let's turn 

your rice fields

into our 

battlefield

so we may 

keep you divided.

so we may

feed our fanatics

your fractured

souls~

so we may 

feed them

more power~

so we may

feed not the

poor and hungry

but the fat

and wealthy

with your wounds

and your blood.

burn,

they said~

because 

you do not 

matter

because 

your naked bodies

are for us

to stain 

with the lust

of male arrogance.

because

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you do not 

matter

because

you are mere

pawns 

in our game 

of chess.

Ram(bles)

Ram rose
with his bow
and arrow like
a warrior
out of a poet's
imagination~
out of Valmiki's
meandering
mind.
Valmiki of
many avatars.
sometimes
Ratnakar,
sometimes
Agni Sharma
the son, spouse,
thief, ascetic
and epic poet
who harvested
the narrative
of Ramayana from
the fertile fields
of his vivid
imagination
some five hundred
years before
Mother Mary
offered Jesus
to the world!
Valmiki created
Ram,
the mythic warrior~
and Ram
did not know
he would live
into eternity
in the temples
of myopia
in the divides
of dystopia
that unhinges
humanity.
Valmiki's Ram,
the mythic warrior
the icon for virtue
slaying Ravana
the vampire of villainy
who stole his Sita,
did not know
that one day~
one day
he'd be morphed
by Machiavellian
monsters
into the multi-headed
Ravana, each
head a hate-filled
fanatic unleashing
tyranny on the
"other".
just as Valmiki
did not know
his moral lore would
one day be
a tool for tormentors
a bible for barbarians.

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Bina Sarkar Ellias is a poet, editor, designer and publisher of International Gallerie

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