खिलते फूल

लूट कर मासूम की आबरू,

जालिमों तुम्हे नींद कैसे आई होगी।

तुमने तड़पा कर उस खिलते फूल को,

अपनी बेटियों से कैसे नज़र मिलाई होगी।।

कसूर क्या था शायद कोई खता नहीं थी,

कलेजा नहीं फटा जब वो चिल्लाई होगी।

तुम इतने बेरहम कैसे बन गए ऐ दरिंदो,

सोचता हूं शायद तालीम ही ऐसी पाई होगी।।


My Conscious

Sometimes in the dark of the night, I visit my conscience to see if it is still breathing,

for its dying a slow death

Every day.

When I pay for a meal in a fancy place,

an amount which is perhaps the monthly income of the guard who holds the door open,

And quickly I shrug away that thought.

It dies a little

When I buy vegetables from the vendor,

And his son “chhotu” smilingly weighs the potatoes. Chhotu, a small child, who should be studying at school. I look the other way.

It dies a little.

When I am decked up in a designer dress…

A dress that cost a bomb, And I see a woman at the crossing in tatters, trying unsuccessfully to save her dignity,

And I immediately roll up my window.

It dies a little.

When I buy expensive gifts for my children.

I see half clad children with empty stomach and hungry eyes selling things at the red light. I try to save my conscience by buying some.

Yet, it dies a little.

When my sick maid sends her daughter to work, making her bunk school. I know I should tell her to go back. But, I look at the loaded sink and dirty dishes.And I tell myself that it’s just for a couple of days.

It dies a little.

When I give my son the freedom to come home late from a party. And yet, when my daughter asks, I tell her it is not safe. I raise my voice when she questions “why?”

It dies a little.

When I hear about a rape or a murder of a child, I feel sad. Yet, a little thankful that it’s not my child. I can not look at myself in the mirror.

It dies a little.

When people fight over caste creed and religion. I feel hurt and helpless. I tell myself that my country is going to the dogs. I blame the corrupt politicians. Absolving myself of all responsibilities.

It dies a little.

When my city is choked. Breathing is dangerous in the smog ridden Cities.

I take my car to work daily. Not taking the metro…not trying car pool. One car won’t make a difference, I think.

It dies a little.

So when in the dark of the night I visit my conscience And find it still breathing.

I am surprised for, with my own hands…

Daily, bit by bit, I bury it.