Jasmine Khurana

On the Borders of My Capital

Punjabi poem written, recited and translated into English by Jasmine Khurana

I hear 
On the borders of my capital, a sea of humanity has converged.

Just yesterday, my younger brother visited and shared some pictures.

Why do all the people in those pictures look like my own?  I wonder….
Why do I see my grandfather’s reflection in the face of that old man?
And I remembered the whole village used to call him ‘sardaar’.

There I stood, with raised heels on the dunes  of time vehemently searching for my past.

Memories held me by the finger and dropped me outside the door of my ancestral house in our village.

Exactly the same way as my father used to drop me outside and I used to go dancing and prancing inside.
He would himself then go further to the farm/ tubewell.

‘The courtyard of sardaars’
Yes! that’s what the whole village used to call our house.

I hastily ran towards the living room. From the creaks of its window, I used to peep inside as a little girl.

That living room that was a witness to many stories of the ‘ceiling’ era.
That living room that was a witness to the endless responsibilities of a sarpanch. (Head of the village).
That living room that was a witness to many sweet and sour stories of the Green revolution. 

I hear 
On the borders of my capital, a sea of humanity has converged.

The kitchen in those pictures which serves ‘langar’ resembles the kitchen of my ancestral house so much. 
And the women sitting there look like my grandmother, my aunts and my mother.

For the longest time, my little being couldn’t differentiate who was my aunt, who my mother and who my grandmother.
For, the sweetness in their scrambled sweet rotis and the warmth in their embraces was just the same.

But yes. There were some other relations too. 

Seemingly welcomed, but in their coming used to be a strange acerbity. 
I grew up a little only to wake up to a big truth.

Relations have their place. But our lands/ our livelihood are most important.

A big truth of life, that was too.

I hear 
On the borders of my capital, a sea of humanity has converged.

From the creases  of an elderly man’s wrinkles, why do I see my father smiling at me?
The father who practiced law in the city in the mornings.
But braved the hottest of April evenings and the coldest of December nights at the farm.

If the mater would suggest with concern 
‘Why don’t you sell some land off?
There is so much toil.
Your health can’t take much too.’

He would scorn,
‘Should I sell my mother?’

But when funds fell short for seeds or fertilizers, the same mother would smile calmly and bring out two gold bangles to pitch in.

Not just our rights..
You have ignited and stirred countless stories associated with every inch and acre of our lands and toil.

Our bodies might reside in Mumbai or Manhattan. 
But at least once in a day, our souls hold the Uncle’s hand and go take a round of the fields to change the direction of water. 
Or go have a bite of our Aunt’s scrambled eggs.
And jump on the brother’s moped and go take a round of the tubewell with him.

I hear 
On the borders of my capital, a sea of humanity has converged.

Today rising above petty differences of acres, boundaries, courts and family enmities,
A flash flood of brotherhood and sisterhood has reached the brinks of my ‘Delhi’.
In the freezing cold nights of January, they are sitting holding a revolution in the wraps of their shawls and dupattas. 

Who is a Dalit? Who is a Jatt or a Jaat?
Which one is a Panchayat or a Khap? 
Saints and musicians,
There are poets and painters…all.

The first turbans might have been our’s.
Khalistanis and ‘Tukde Tukde’,  
Such titles they were felicitated with, by those in power.
Today lakhs of heads are sitting united. 
Kaithal, Kishangarh, Kerala, California , Boston, Toronto, Vancouver and from where not. 

Will be difficult to hijack the truth this time.
For, our journals/ newspapers are bringing down the fragile walls of your blatant lies one by one.

Ripping the masks off the secret nexus between politicians and corporates/ capitalists…. All

I hear 
On the borders of my capital, a sea of humanity has converged.

This is not the first time though.
You went ahead with fanatic acts.
And threw to the wind teachings and traditions of ‘All share in your grace. God resides in all.’ (Gurbani lines)

You went to the extend of blaming the spread of pandemics on certain communities. 

You keep fanning your divisive politics and bitter customs. 
We shall uphold the teachings of the guru 
‘From the One Light, the entire universe welled up. So who is good, and who is bad? || (From Gurbani)
Will keep sharing this unity and love like we serve our ‘karhah parshad’. 

I hear 
On the borders of my capital, a sea of humanity has converged.
And is setting a beautiful new example of humility, patience and peace for the world.

You have not just tried to attack the nation’s womb.
You’ve got yourself in big trouble this time. 

You keep infesting the roots of the nation with pest like laws/ policies and mal-intentions.
We shall save every single flower of our motherland with courage, unity and patience. 

In the name of talks, at times you gave wielded threats,
At times sheer hogwash. 
At times you are just beating about the bush. 
Keep beating..

Our movements shall shine in the history of movements like pole stars.

From the womb of cold January nights,
Soon shall shine bright,
The sun of hope and justice.

Mistakes shall be rectified.
The vessel of sins will brim over. 
Dignity of the farmer shall be restored. 
Yes soon! dignity of the farmer will be restored. 

I hear 
On the borders of my capital, a sea of humanity has converged.