The revolutionary will eventually fall silent
He won’t care, but only pretend
His war cries would mark no epoch
Memories that won’t heal, but rather mock
With bullets lodged so deep
They’ll leave no wound to fester, no pain to weep

क्रांतिकारी भी मूक हो जाएगा
नाश-मानसिक्ता से बेसुध हो जाएगा
कोई ज़ख्म नहीं बचेंगे जब टटोलने के लिए
सिर्फ़ इक कोरा इंकलाबी-पर्चा खोलने के लिए

ਏਕ ਤੇਰੇ ਬੁੱਲਾਂ ਦੀ ਮਸਤੀ
ਨਾਲੇ ਦਾਰੂ ਹੋਵੇ ਸਸਤੀ

Ek tere bullan di masti
Naale daaru hove sasti

ਦਾਰੂ ਪੀਕੇ ਸਸਤੀ
ਨਖਰੇ ਪੈਂਦੇ ਮਹਿੰਗੇ

Daaru peekey sasti
Nakhre painde mehenge

I’m a mentor
Giving you hope like a half-filled decanter
I’m a gentle villager
Oh no, Sir!
I’m an intellectual pillager

– Rap lyrics, 2005

Under the horrifying infinitude
I gasp
Clinging to her tress
that wafted like a purple squall
To break free
from the choke-hold of chaos
Stasis subsides
With lips foaming, convulsing
I nibble at her navel
the girth, the bosom
As she sniffs the soil
underneath my fingernails

डर के दामन में लिपट कर
वो फिर खामोश सी हो गयी
आघाज़ तो कर इक बार
मुट्ठी खोल
एड़ी उठा
और आँख तो मींच…
चिलमिली धूप में
खड़े पुखराज की
मुस्कुराहट पर
रख थोड़ा सा ऐतबार

Ha ha!

In the Majha of Punjab…

I think I am a child of Border Areas, deprived of that certain sense of belonging which comes with living in the mainland. Our world lies sequestered between the barbed wire of the enemy on one side and the picket fence of the society on the other. That vaunted culture doesn’t run in our blood, for it has been shed too often. We don’t like to waste our evenings listening to lifesaving hymns but would rather drink and dine to the glory of those who entered Valhalla from here. The rumble of tanks at Patton Nagar of Khemkaran, the clinking of grenades unpinned by Havaldar Abdul Hamid at village Assal Uttar and the sonic boom from the aircraft dogfights over Tarn Taran still reverberate in our souls. We have chosen backwardness over backing out.


There are three symbolic routines that a man will keep on exhibiting in his actions, repeating them for his whole life: reclaiming the land, rekindling the love and reliving the memories. The land he may never have owned. The love that wasn’t even realized. Memories for which there could be no precedent at all. In Majha, these primal emotions start influencing me too. I feel like putting my ear to the ground or grabbing a fistful of that red soil. I begin hearing the faint tunes of tradition, traces of culture start rushing through my veins. A notion of identity and belonging firms up, as destiny beckons me to chart my own course there.