May 05, 2008

Poem dedicated to 1857 War of Independence

The Stream Crossing ("Pattan"-1858 )

Haggard , Beaten and Downcast .They walked along our bullock carts.
Without exchanging glances , without making enquiries .
Both sides knew each other.
We moved silently along the criss crossing streams and dry land in the river bed,
On stones and in mud, the wooden wheels groaned ,
They gave our carts the tug or the required jerk .
Whether to help us or to avoid a lash on the bullocks , we don't know .

Was it a dry river bed or an elaborate trap ?
Horsemen in full dress, Cheery and with vengenceful lust .
Went firing their rifles at their former Sepoys
With abandon joy they slashed their swords on already shot men.
Shouting "Pigs", "Dogs", And What not , We did not understand ( Thank God ).

When it all ended ,
the longer streams now carried smaller streams.
Of blood, flesh, and a whole nation's Morale .

After a stupefying stall , the caravan of bullock carts moved to the end of the river bed.
Climbing the steep bank , they found themselves in the weekly bazaar.
The bazaar stalls were untouched by the retreating marauders .
But the people were all downcast.

We stood their for what seemed eternity.
Not buying nor moving ahead.
Two playful children emerged ,With gay abandon they moved up and down the path.
One a Sikh and other with a chest of iron.
They seemed to be saying "Don't lose heart", "Don't lose hope".
Bhagat and Chandra Shekhar Would one day avenge the holocaust.
( Background of the poem is the defeat of the great warriors in 1858 and History's most vicious and inhuman revenge taken out by the victorious English forces . "Pattan " in Hindi means River crossing and well as defeat. "They" are defeated and unarmed sepoys are walking along " We" i.e. public caravan of oxen carts , at a dry river crossing, when they are ambushed and brutally butchered by the English .The victors were very successful in humiliating and scaring the Indians till great revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh and Chander Shekhar "Azad" and many others like them were able to restore the National pride .)
Poet-.Ashwani Kumar Aggarwal.

No comments: