For Jaimal Singh Padda-poem by Anand Patwardhan

For Jaimal Singh Padda*

there is no place you said
in our hearts for vengeance
paddaji these tears we shed
are not for you
but for those who came
blindly for your blood
who never knew
the power of your love
who never felt
the courage in your veins
the quiet in your bones
had they stopped first to ask
any villager any worker
any poet any peasant
had they seen the gentle
grey of those years spent
fighting by the side of the poor
had they conceived of this faith
greater than any god
they might have lost
their appetite for murder
and so they did not stop
so they came blindfolded
by a religion twisted
into the barrel of a gun
they are boys you’d said
who don’t know right from wrong
so paddaji from our hearts remove
all trace of vengeance
and in its place infuse
the courage of that dawn
when murder will cease
shamed by your song.

* Jaimal Singh Padda, trade unionist, communist, was gunned down by Khalistani separatists on 17th March,1988

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