In Quest of Syncretism: Two Poems by Mitali Chakravarty

red fort India Digital Art Watercolor Painting Abstract by Photographer.
Photo: istock

By Mitali Chakravarty 

Red Fort Weeps

The sandstone dyed in blood
crumbled in the setting
sun. An injured red sky
stretched out a finger

to wipe tears shed by walls
that wept for young lives lost,
the loss of a syncretic lore,
the loss of an era, an ethos.

Emperors from graves wove
grief into their dirge for lives
without love, scalded by anger
and hate. Can walls of stone

turn faith? Remnants of Mosques,
Churches, Temples, Synagogues,
Monuments, Forts, Statues
rang out in protest.

Can wrecking, destroying
erase an ideal, revive the dead,
rewrite the past? Can defacing art
reinstate faith, beliefs, what you are?

A thing of beauty is a joy forever1

kitnaa hai badnasiib zafar dafan ke liye
do gaz zamiin bhii na milii kuu-e-yaar men2

1 Quoted from Keats’ “Endymion

2 Lines from Bahadur Shah’s ghazal while he was exiled to Burma: “How unfortunate is Zafar not to get two yards of land for burial in his own country.”


An Epic Revived?

Deepening schisms that
pierce through flesh and
blood; dividing, shatter
the solidarity of the skies.

Humans explode in mortal
bloody combat, succumbing
to angst, violence and hate.
Violated, marginalised,

where does mankind stand?
Castes, creeds, faiths – borders
that divide to reinforce the
Frankensteins rising out of

Pandora’s trunk. Or are
they illusions, figments
of imagined Maya?
The house of lac* burnt to

ashes the intoxicated innocents
of the Nishada clan, who in drunken
stupor lay, though bickering,
all the cousins still survived.

Modern day replays of an ancient epic.

*A reference to the House of Lac episode in Mahabharata. A sleeping Nishada family were sacrificed to create an illusion that the Pandavas had perished in the fire.

Mitali Chakravarty is writer and the editor of Borderless Journal. She has been published widely in journals and anthologies. She writes and translates for harmony, humanity and kindness and looks forward to a world beyond borders.


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