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I Pray to You by Preeti Vangani

Artwork by Sonaksha Iyengar

For all of India’s students fighting CAA and NRC

you, student of resistance, unfurling a banner thrice your chest


you, forming a fence with the unwavering flag of your body


the blue in your long line of blood, lines of blood

streaking your skin penetrated by the state's bullet


the nerve in your eye holding back its water in the face of tear gas


and the whip from their stick, and the whip from their stick,

and the stick you duck, the one you couldn't, and the bruise

that will darken tomorrow


Tomorrow is another sponsored history textbook

that will white-out your name, this day, it's souls and slogans

sab taaj uchale jaenge

sab takht girae jaenge


My forehead kisses the floor of your courage

five times a day, and six and seven.


There is no internet shutdown, no cut off, no curfew

than can stop a prayer that begins and ends with no.


may the static of your bullhorn enlarge

your spirit-voices, deafen the ears

of those parliamentary beasts in murderous thrones


I imagine them muting you when you are on TV,

them licking their fingers at dinner

as they wipe clean our democracy morsel by morsel


there you are, and you, and you, challenging

our cold capital sky with portraits of Ambedkar and Gandhi

I worship you as I do

churchgoers who hold up their children to the blankness above us


tonight I wrap myself in your muslin message --

painted with inquilab in all our recognized and unrecognized tongues


weave a rosary with your trembling voice, your lost voice,

your repeating chorus

jo Hitler ki chaal chalega, woh Hitler ki maut marega


you, who have stirred again, the melancholy asleep in Faiz's Subh-e-Azadi


and you, dear Faiz, I beg you for a new war cry


you are all my gods. you are all citizens

in the cathedral of my faith-finding heart


each of you, a country

in my 37.2 trillion celled body,

the only country

I want to wake up in

Read Preeti's latest book Mother Tongue Apologize here or follow her work on Facebook.


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