India: Land Divine – Roann Mendriq

A land of beauty, land divine, 

All the world’s beloved shrine; 

Wisdom from beyond the ages, 

Ruled by Kings and holy sages.
Soaked in sun’s resplendent rays, 

Chanting bhajans (hymns of praise): 

Washed by monsoons; fresh and pure, 

Cleanst by healings’ mystic cure.
Land of Lions, Kings of beasts, 

dining on Ma nature’s feasts; 

Land of verdant speaking trees, 

Steeped in yogic mysteries.
Land conquered and divided still, 

All according to one’s fickle will; 

Land of the poorest of the poor, 

But rich with treasured souls aglow.
Land of golden deserts wide, 

Dazzling with heritage pride; 

Land of gardens; fragrant teas, 

Land of oceans and silver seas.
Backwaters of the lush, green south, 

feeding from the river’s mouth; 

Crowned with mountains at the north, 

whence holy rivers doth springforth.
Blessed India, God’s own land, 

handcrafted by His holy hand. 

Poem – India – Taslima Nasrin

(to Sumit Chakrabarty) India is not just India, even from before I was born, 

India has been my history. 

My history, carved into two by daggers of animosity and hatred, running breathlessly towards uncertain possibilities, 

with the terrible crack at the core, 

History bloodstained, history turned death. 

It is this India that has given me language, 

Has enriched me with culture 

And powerful dreams. 

This India can, if it so desires, snatch 

My history away from my life, 

My homeland from my dream. 

But why should I let it drain me dry only because it so desires? 

Hasn’t India brought forth those noble souls, 

Who place their hands today on my tired shoulders, 

On the abandoned shoulders of this helpless, orphaned soul? 

These hands, longer than the land, stretched beyond space and time, 

Gives me warmly cherished security against all worldly cruelties. 

Madanjeet Singh, Mahasweta Devi, Muchukund Dube—they are my homeland today, 

Their hearts my true country. 
[This poem was written while Taslima was forced to live in confinement in an undisclosed location in Delhi from 22 November 2007 to 19 March 2008. Samik Bandapadahya translated this poem from her book PRISONERS POEMS]

Poem – India – Taslima Nasrin

(to Sumit Chakrabarty) India is not just India, even from before I was born, 

India has been my history. 

My history, carved into two by daggers of animosity and hatred, running breathlessly towards uncertain possibilities, 

with the terrible crack at the core, 

History bloodstained, history turned death. 

It is this India that has given me language, 

Has enriched me with culture 

And powerful dreams. 

This India can, if it so desires, snatch 

My history away from my life, 

My homeland from my dream. 

But why should I let it drain me dry only because it so desires? 

Hasn’t India brought forth those noble souls, 

Who place their hands today on my tired shoulders, 

On the abandoned shoulders of this helpless, orphaned soul? 

These hands, longer than the land, stretched beyond space and time, 

Gives me warmly cherished security against all worldly cruelties. 

Madanjeet Singh, Mahasweta Devi, Muchukund Dube—they are my homeland today, 

Their hearts my true country. 
[This poem was written while Taslima was forced to live in confinement in an undisclosed location in Delhi from 22 November 2007 to 19 March 2008. Samik Bandapadahya translated this poem from her book PRISONERS POEMS]

Palanquin Bearers – Sarojini Naidu

Sarojini Naidu  13 February 1879 - 2 March 1949 Hyderabad, India

Sarojini Naidu
13 February 1879 – 2 March 1949 Hyderabad, India


Lightly, O lightly we bear her along,
She sways like a flower in the wind of our song;
She skims like a bird on the foam of a stream,
She floats like a laugh from the lips of a dream.
Gaily, O gaily we glide and we sing,
We bear her along like a pearl on a string.

Softly, O softly we bear her along,
She hangs like a star in the dew of our song;
She springs like a beam on the brow of the tide,
She falls like a tear from the eyes of a bride.
Lightly, O lightly we glide and we sing,
We bear her along like a pearl on a string.