[Dedicated to Aamir Malik]
By Santosh Bakaya
“I will send you for Hajj”, just the other day he had said.
Now, the young, dreamy lad lay dead.
What was his crime?
That he protested against injustice?
Raised his voice for the voiceless
Relentlessly being dragged and stripped
While the world watched tight-lipped?
A bullet pierced his throat
On that dark day.
Which day was it, when he was, ah, so brutally hit?
Was it the 16 of August 2016, or the twenty third?
Should I ask the small bird
Quivering in the willow tree, who has witnessed
One gore-drenched day seamlessly merging into another
And yet another
A voice of protest fell silent
But, wasn’t his protest non-violent?
One more youth had fallen to the gun
Ah, he had just turned twenty one!
Tick tick, goes the clamour of time
In ruthless succession bleeding a bruised rhyme.
The mother’s tear-filled eyes seek succour in the flashing underside
Of leaves spun by wind.
She delves into her memories trying to remember when she had sinned.
And on father’s parched lips hovers a meaningless prayer, curfewed in.
Two shaking hands hug his other two sons
As the leaves quiver once again by the rattle of guns.
(Aamir Malik, a 21 year old post graduate management student of Larkipora, Dooru Islamabad, was shot dead by army men on August 16, 2016.)