Just like that?

Riyaz Ahmad Shah

By Santosh Bakaya

He was not   a stone-pelter

With his chubby cheeks and golden ringlets

Only a heart – melter!

Why was the five year old blinded

Just like that?

Against a wall in his house, stands his forlorn bat

His tiny dreams, and ambitions crushed

Just like that!

The house redolent with juvenile laughter

Has fallen silent

Just like that!

One more teenager has gone away, ah so far

Leaving behind a few books, and a broken guitar

Just like that!

The bright-eyed kids did not go gentle into the night

As the fire burning bright

In those limpid eyes

Was doused cruelly, ah so un-gently

Just like that!

‘And the blood of children ran through the streets

Without fuss, like children’s blood’

Just like that!

Who will wipe the mother’s tears?

And every parent’s apprehension fierce

That the light will not go out of their child’s eyes too

Colouring their world in a grey hue?

We were told, Milton lamented his imminent blindness

At age forty four.

Here, in this lost paradise

We have children of five and four

Being brutally blinded

Just like that!

The darkness is filled with silent screams

Following the crushing of juvenile dreams

A dubious peace is once again torn asunder

As yet another sight-less teen is buried six feet under!

Riyaz Ahmad Shah, slain
Riyaz Ahmad Shah was killed by pellets shot from point blank range.

Just like that!

Blessed are the sighted, for we have eyes

Yes, we can see, so why blindness feign?

Close our eyes to oppressed humanity’s pain?

With Pablo Neruda, let me exclaim,

‘Come, and see, the blood in the streets’.

Come, and see how a blind child’s mother’s heart beats.

Come and see her tears.

Come and see the lilacs sobbing

And the anemones crying

And the willows weeping.

Come and see the streets with bodies bullet –riddled

Nero fiddled then- he still fiddles!

Come, see how the sight-less hobble in the alleys of life

Groping their way, blindly through strife upon strife.

Come, let us rage on against the dying of this light.

The light that is meant to shine bright

From dreamy eyes

But is extinguished with impunity

With brazen brutality

Just like that!


Santosh Bakaya
Santosh Bakaya

Sanely insane, a pathological procrastinator, a die – hard believer in Martin Luther King’s dream and John Lennon’s Imagine, dreaming of a day when there is ‘nothing to kill or die for’, and ‘all the people sharing all the world’, Santosh Bakaya has been critically acclaimed for her poetic biography of Mahatma Gandhi – Ballad of Bapu – and has also won the Reuel International Award [2014] for her long poem, Oh Hark! ,

In May 2016, she was conferred with the Universal Inspirational Poet award by Pentasi B Friendship Poetry Group and Ghana government.

Many of her poems have made it to the highly commendable category of Destiny Poets, a UK based poetry website, besides having figured in many international anthologies.

Her latest book, Where are the lilacs, a collection of peace poems, is also winning international laurels.

She stays in Jaipur with her husband and university going daughter.

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