Against the backdrop of the recent murder of a Pakistani model by her brother under the guise of “honour killing” and by similar unfortunate occurrences, including female foeticide, in our part of the world, here’s my (admittedly oblique) take, with my friend Nandita very kindly doing the honours in Hindi. With all the progress our countries have made, some social evils very evidently, still need to be stamped out.
Briefly, her roshni burnt brightly.
The flame, light energy of the female divine.
Flickering, dancing, casting light and shadow.
Lit as a diya in mandirs, offered as a chirag at mazaars.
And then, she was extinguished.
Doused by her guardian.
He, who was meant to replenish the oil in the earthen pot
and shield the warm glow from the swirling winds.
So that she could have shone on as a beacon.
The wick hung limp.
The wisp of smoke dissipated in a haze.
The leftover soot became a matt black residue.
A stain on society.
But even as darkness enveloped,
New kandeels lit up in households
From the ashes of what remained.
Heralding the oncoming of a new Diwali.
Had a spark escaped to illuminate them?
Could it be noor, the heavenly light?
Or a mashaal, kindled by the awakening of the collective conscience?
Ma Shakti – the Mother Goddess
roshni – light
diya / chirag – small, earthen lamps (customarily offered the same way as candles are lit in churches)
mandir – Hindu temples
mazaars – Muslim shrines
kandeels – traditional paper lanterns put up on festive days
Diwali – festival of lights, symbolizing the victory of good over evil
noor – divine light
mashaal – torch
Diya jalti thi chamak se
Jyot daiviya roop ka
Prajjwalit tha Mandir mein deepak ki tarah
Jaise chirag mazhar mein
Yakayak bujh gayi
Nahin! Bujhayi gayi
Jyot ko jagane ki thi jinpe ummid
Unse hi mitayi gayi
Baati ab bejaan
Dhuwa tak ka namo nishan nahi rahaa
Samaaj par ek kalank banke rah gayi
Is andhakaar ke beech mein lekin
Ek nayi roshni nazar aayi
Kandeelon ke roop mein
Har ghar ujjwal Deepawali ki aagman
Kya yeh us bujhi hui diya
Ki koi nayi pehchaan thi?
Ya shayad koi divya prakash?
Nischay hi antaratma ki aawaz goonj uthi
Jo ab har disha mein faili
Atah, samuhik vivek ki jagruti