The Acid Attack – An eye for an eye

Molten lava, careens down

The angular lines of his chauvinistic face

Etching, engraving, chiseling a linocut of it

With crevices, nooks, crannies

Chasms of the Grand Canyon

Just as deep

Sizzling as the skin crisps

He can feel his eyes no more

He feels as she felt less than a decade ago*

He wants to scream but cannot

There is no word or voice for pain such as this

Mind blank,

Eyes blind,

Deaf as a stone,

But not unfeeling,

For now he feels with his face,

Not his organs of lust and mind of vengeful hate.


*Sonali Mukherjee is still fighting for justice, 9 years after her three attackers rendered her deaf, blind and disfigured with acid.

The Post Mortem

Meet the Jane Doe of Uttar Pradesh,

The Jamuna Bai of the autopsy wards of Bulandshahr.

Sets in the overpowering stench of putrefaction,

Her corpse would be placed on the outskirts of a village.

Burned to cinder by the caste meant to do it.


Smell the putrefaction systemic

In the health care farce of India’s Cow belt .

The doctor deigns to sit in the other room.

The stench of the cadaver alien to his Brahmin olfactory senses.

What colour is the spleen? He shouts out.


The ward boy answers or/and perhaps the sweeper,

As they cut, splice, slice, chop, and stitch.

Consider this the outsourcing of medical attention,

To a different room, to a different class of employee,

To the Harijan of the hospital.




The end of the world *

The End of the World

Winds, forceful winds, lash at heads swaddled in tagelmousts

Irrigate eagle sharp eyes with the fine sand of centuries.

Parched, parched skin, bleeds with dehydrating pain,

Struggling to breathe, against the shriveling of souls.

The Harmattan is relentless

Even so, it sighs at the decimation wrought by our kind.


They were there to rid us of our superstitious yoke.

Sought to obliterate brick by brick,

As others have done over centuries,

Emblems of our superstitions, totems to our fears.

For did not the impotent masses quake in agony at the thought,

That the portal opened would only reveal death and destruction?


The rationalists, boisterous, metal wielding cohorts, arrived, Allah willing,

To pull out this fester invested with the legitimacy of centuries,

And replace it then with newer fears,

Forceful, truer ambitions that please God, zealously guarding us from ourselves.

And thus began the end of the world for the Sahel,

Inundated with the desiccation of centuries and fears of divine retribution.




* On the destruction of the Sidi Yahya Mosque in Timbuktu and the turmoil in Northern Mali. There was a belief that opening the door to the mosque would lead to destruction and the end of the world.

Tagelmoust – cotton fabric wrapped around the head by Malian men.

Harmattan – Dry and dusty West African trade winds.