There is news from Delhi
What a mess they have made
Of Bhagat Singh
In the Parliament Square!
For sixty years they petitioned
The British rejected him
But YOU! Our own government.
Erect his statue
in the Parliament Square.
At last the government beat its breast
and said why not!
and erected the statue in the parliament square.
But when the veil was lifted
You discover it is not Bhagat Singh
That 24 year old beautiful lad
Nor his young limbs that they could not properly burn
On the fateful night when they hanged him.
It is some 60 years old guy
Flabby and tired looking
With upturned mustaches
Ah what the hell is this.
This is not our Bhagat Singh
In the Parliament Square
Who the hell is he?
Ha ha ha! Dear friends
Wipe your tears look closely
At all the other statues
Is it the same Jawahar Lal as he was? Is it the same Gandhi?
The same Abulkalam Azad?
The in-coming and out-going respected parliamentarians
Have made an omlette of thier reality
And gobbled them up long long ago.
In this grand square
Only scissored and edited versions
Can find a lasting place.
Bhagat Singh was the child of his time
And times have changed. He loved Urdu poetry and Ghalib
And Ghalib, getting rid of his robe
Is Galib now, winking and singing some trashy “gajal”
Ishwarya Rai is dancing on it
So kind of her.
And in his city Lahore
Bhagat Singh is a Sikh
Who perhaps left for India in ’47
Such names make people nervous
Is the god-damn man coming back?
to claim his property??
We shall never let that happen
After all we left fields and barns
shops and houses
Bhagat Singh was a pure Indian
His times are swept away with the wind
He was a purely Indian heart-flame
Light in the water
rustling in the wind
He was a purely Indian passion of his time
And times have changed.
Let his statue remain where it has been for 60 years
Accross both sides of the border
In a heart or two.
There every morning
Longings as innocent and ignorant as little children
Cover his young body with fresh garlands of marigold
Bathe his limbs with tears of love and adoration
He belongs there
He is happy there.
Translated by the author from the original in Hindustani
On Bhagat Singh Statue Controversy