Inspired by the "Post Godra Cranage of Gujarat" (28thFab. -10 March 2002 & beyond...), The worst massacre of one community by the other in the history of religious riots in India since its independence in1947...

Is it a Nightmare; Or Is it True?

(Exactly 4 years ago, on the fateful day of 28th Fab.2002; A train, Sabarmati Express, passing through the town of Godra, carrying a group of religious extremist Karsevaks, returning from the disputed religious site in the town of Ayodhya, caught fire; The religious community immediately concluded that it was the work of the other religious community; What ensued was the worst carnage in the history of religious riots in the independent India**:)

Is it a Nightmare; Or Is it True?

Birds were chirruping at Dawn
When I woke up to their song
Demons of the nightmares, still
Hovered on my consciousness, like spirits:
Thousands of bloodthirsty men,
Swords & daggers, spears in hands,
Swarmed the streets in frenzied mob-
"Blood!" they cried, red demon-eyed,
Ferocious, beastly, animal like,
"Slash them open! Slice them up!"
"Annihilate! Exterminate!"
"Spare-not-one!" Oh, Vengeful hate!
"Our Brothers we will burn today!"
"Disrobe our Mothers-own in streets!"
" Rape our Sisters indiscreet!
"Burn them alive on funeral-pyre!"
"Set every house and hut on fire!"
"Bloody Holi*, we will play!"
"Dance the frenzied Tandov* today!"
Blood-curdling cries rose sky high!
Like hunted-animals ran,
I, and others of my clan
Helter-skelter, high and low...
Blood-splattered bodies, strewn on the street,
Some were dead, others struggling to breathe...
Terror-stricken, shrieking wild,
Stumbling, tumbling, I ran for life...
The 'Devils', hot in pursuit mine,
When suddenly, my foot was caught,
In something warm, wet and soft,
Unconscious I fell on the ground...
When, I came-to, it was dark,
Still, quiet, not a sound!
Silence of death reigned around...
Heart-in-mouth, with fear I lay!
Scarcely breathing, soiled and frayed...
Perched upon an old Banyan tree,
Vultures four, eyed me with glee,
Waiting for my soul to flee...
Their shrieks woke me up from dream:

Birds were singing the self-same song,
Which is the harbinger of Dawn!

Is it a nightmare?
Or is it true?
Why my soul is troubled so?
Tumult in my bosom brews.
"Almighty!" Cried my anguished heart:
"Will our troubles ever depart?
When will birds sing in a new Dawn?
When will peace & love prevail?
Our gardens would be Paradise!
Oh! When will man be that wise?"

Author: Zoya Zaidi
Aligarh (UP), India
Copyrightę: Zoya Zaidi

*Holi- festival of colours celebrated in India, marking the advent of summer and beginning of harvesting season.
*Tandov-Lord Shiva's, (God incarnate of Destruction and Creation in Vedic mythology), impassioned dance of destruction.

**Thousands of Hindus stormed the houses, shops and religious shrines of Muslims; Killing men, raping women, then burning them alive, looting houses and shops then setting them on fire by releasing liquefied cooking gas, LPG (Low Pressure Gas), from its cylinders they carried; The Masjids, religious shrines of Muslims, were scorched in no time. Ten thousand people were massacred in a matter of few days; 4-7 thousand had to flee, thousands of children became orphans in few hours...
The then extremist (read criminal) Government and police, it is said stood and watched over this worst ethnic cleansing in the history of riots in India after its independence since 1947, it was given the name of Gujarat program, triumphantly by the ruling government, meant to 'teach a lesson' to the, wiped out, minority community. The trauma is still very raw and green.
There was a curfew order clamped all over India to prevent further backlash of rioting in the rest of the country.
Caged within the confines of my flat, all I could do was to helplessly watch scenes of carnage, being flashed 24 hours on the TV screen. The images haunted me all night, visiting me in my dreams, turning them into nightmares of worst kind. This poem was written during that period.
As a result of Narindra Modi's (The then chief minister of Gujarat state) alleged role in abetting the riots, the US government recently revoked his visa (much to his consternation) under section 212(a)(2)(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act which makes any foreign government official, who was responsible or directly carried out, at any time, particularly severe violations of religious freedom, ineligible for visa. Their decision was based on the reports of National Human Rights Commission (NHCR) of India. But this minister was never convicted in his own country, despite countrywide protests; On the contrary, Indian Government even officially protested against the US decision to deny him Visa.

Poetry by Zoya Zaidi
Read 1427 times
Written on 2006-03-06 at 22:53

Tags Carnage 

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You take me from my protected life and put me there in the middle of the scenes you describe. That is writing of the greatest kind. Your emotion flows inside your words. Amazing talent.

No...this is pure power. Makes me wordless. Man is the worst beast to another man. Just wonder why..??? And in an mankind, many times this kind of nightmares have been true....sad but true.

Jon Hanover
One of the many reasons mankind goes to war...Religion, the other common one is real estate. Hard to believe that so many would resort to that sort of violence against the very same teachings that they defend. I am amazed by your strength in writing, and that you can live their despite all the violence.

What comes to mind is that phrase "We are human. We make mistakes."
As long as we keep accepting that as an answer, man will never be wise. They will be instinctive.
That phrase is not an answer. It is an excuse. An excuse to be an idiot. An excuse to never bring ourselves to a higher level...
Excellent work Zoya!

Black Knight
Unfortunately, I think that human never will be wise.
He had millenia to change. And what? Nothing...

"Oh! When will man be that wise?"
Soon, I hope, very soon. 'nSh'Allah.
Very moving write, Zoya.

What my eyes see my heart will feel, what terrible tragedy to be caught up in, such waste of life,there is no humanity in madness, for this event surely was an act of utter madness,words fail me and my heart is heavy with shame for what my fellow man is capable of inflicting on another in the name of religion,well done Zoya.

otteri selvakumar
My eye

Only read

My heart will bee... touch poem...!

UnforgivenAngel suprise me more and more with your poetry,this is such a tragic story,you tell it well.
love caz.

Fantastic !!!! =D

You really captured a feeling, that I feel many times, more recently... I can say I was more than a little touched when I read it...

""Dance the frenzied Tandov* today!"
Blood-curdling cries rose sky high!"

really liked this!! so different, but yet you my dear friend ^^

I truly enjoyed this piece =D

kip emotional a poem my dear Zoya, so intense in its every word, paints vividly the picture of death in ones mind, how cruel can man get, how so very cruel can he allow himself to be...

...since am in Africa, it brought back memories of th'94 Rwanda genocide...

thank you Zoya, you are the true definition of a dedicated poet...

Rune Ljungberg
A great contribution to the world of knowledge from a pen who was there.
Memory may fade but poetry lives forever to remind and haunt the high and mighty and it is the duty and sometimes the sorry plight of the poet to do so.

c g shankar
A poet tender and sensitive and true to thecore reacts about gujarat violence. Oh! you have the honour for being called a poet. your wish shall be fulfilled, I wish!
"When will birds sing in a new Dawn?
When will peace & love prevail?
Our gardens would be Paradise!
Oh! When will man be that wise?"" Your agony and concern expressed in words written shall not get erased ! The paradis on earth shall be there ! Thank you somuch my Zoya dear!You are really a 'star poet at the BAY"
with love, ceegee

lastromantichero The PoetBay support member heart!
hi there Zoya i well remember this incident and your skill has enabled you to depict the absolute madness of mankind to each other . a powerful expose Zoya and hugs rgds mike

liz munro The PoetBay support member heart!
The human race is stupid -
we never seem to learn
[until too late]
from mankind's mistakes.

Such a sadding poem.

I don't even know what to say. This poem made me sit back in the sofa and almost crumble. Amazing poem. Wow. Wow.


John Ashleigh
Such an emotional poem full with anger and peaceful beleifs. A well dedicated srcipt at that, and me being no good at religion learnt alot about you and India.

5! xxx

Humanity has still a long way to go, if we want to become humane

Yeah it was a horrible thing. Your poem was soooo good, it really showed your emotion, and almost brought me to tears.