Poem: On the Arrest of Delhi University Professor Hany Babu

prof
Photo: GoNews India

By Gabriel Rosenstock

What next?
Burn his books?
I have a fantastic idea:
Have Delhi University razed to the ground
Erect a temple there instead
The gods will be pleased

No! The gods will not be pleased
They do not wish us to wallow in ignorance
Be wise and compassionate, they say

(If they exist at all!)

Of course, you could release him
With strict instructions:
Professor! Teach Jane Austen only
We cannot get enough of the mannerisms
Of our erstwhile rulers

Behave yourself and you can teach
A little Christopher Smart too
(Lunatic! We’re not surprised he was locked up)

***

(Irish Version) 

Nuair a gabhadh an tOllamh Hany Babu, Ollscoil Dheilí 

Agus anois?
A chuid leabhar a dhó, ab ea?
Tá smaoineamh iontach agamsa:
Leagtar go talamh í Ollscoil Dheilí
Cuir teampall ina háit
Beidh na déithe thar a bheith sásta

Ní bheidh ambaiste, ná baol air
Ní mian leo sinn a bheith sáite go muineál san aineolas
Bígí gaoiseach truachroíoch, a deir siad 

(Más ann dóibh in aon chor!)

Ar ndóigh, d’fhéadfaí é a scaoileadh saor
Agus treoracha dochta a thabhairt dó:
A Ollaimh! Ná déan faic ach Jane Austen a theagasc
Ní féidir dóthain de nósúlacht bhreá
Ár n-iar-rialóirí a fháil

Iompair tú féin go maith agus ligfear duit
Beagán de Christopher Smart a theagasc
(Gealt! Ní hionadh linn gur cuireadh faoi ghlas é)

Bio:
Gabriel Rosenstock is a bilingual poet from Ireland. Recent works include Walk with Gandhi, illustrated by Masood Hussain (Gandhi 150 Ireland). Website: https://www.rosenstockandrosenstock.com/

***

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***

Read the latest issue of Cafe Dissensus Magazine, “Poetics and politics of the ‘everyday’: Engaging with India’s northeast”, edited by Bhumika R, IIT Jammu and Suranjana Choudhury, NEHU, India.

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