Happy Victory Day!

My father calls this, not the Independence day, but the Victory Day.

For, on August 14-15, 1947, peoples of the brave revolutionary land of India finally won the long war against British Imperialism. The war, spanning more than 200 years was fought with occasional non-violent demonstrations of millions of people, and more importantly, was fought with organized revolutionary peasants and workers movements which finally forced the Empire to concede defeat. It was perhaps the largest victory of the landless peoples over the landlords and invaders in the history of world. In doing so, peoples from the Indian subcontinent regions demonstrated that they would not concede a wee bit either to accommodate the foreign imperialists nor allow any rule by the homegrown royal families. The “purna swaraj” declaration by the radical left freedom fighters, although facing strong opposition from religious chauvinists who were in cohort with British colonialists, finally forced the expulsion of the rulers and silenced the communal politicians.

However, religions as addictively dangerous they are by nature, spread the poison of hatred incited by the British in their centuries old misrules. The ‘divide-and-rule’ tactics of old guard imperialists continued to show colors in the divided land of India. Not only were they successful in dividing the country into India and Pakistan, two regions who shared the same history of struggles, they also left behind a legacy that continued to help their former informers—the right wing Hindu fanatics who were backed by the British authorities to disrupt the harmonious ways of living, that were characteristic of the people of the land.

Today, sixty years hence, we still feel the uprising of the right wing colonial assistors. These are the same religious elements who stop at nothing in order to create environment of suspicion and foster an insecure climate for the religious and atheistic minorities. These are still hands-in-gloves with the oppressor classes worldwide who comfortably rule in various names, but propagate hatred, war, and feelings of hostilities which help them in targeting countries that practice different religions. In the name of religion alone, they have fought all the wars of the world so far. And they believe they will continue to kill people without even facing opposition, since they have already created the notions of God, cultures of religion, and politics of intolerance.

Today they are targeting Lebanon. Yesterday they targeted Mumbai. Day before that, they targeted working people of London. All in the name of a philosophy they created to sustain their ruling class status. The philosophy is called Religion.

Sixty years have passed since the day became sacred to Pakistan and India, for their peoples’ revolutionary overthrow of the imperialists. Yet it seems the enemy grows stronger. The religious fanatics in the name of their various Gods have been ruining the peace we deserve to have in this planet.

So I thought it will be worthwhile to reflect and tell to each of us and to each of our children, that enough has been lost. Now is the time for social justice. Now is the time to regain our lost causes. Not another life in the name of religion. Not another child to be declared religious. Not another war in name of religions, nationalities and moral standards. No more Christians and Sikhs. No more Muslims and Hindus. Just human beings who respect the roots of our shared history as peaceful, cooperative peoples. Just radical human beings.

I have translated Sahir Ludhianvi’s poem “Tu Hindu Banega Na Mussalman Banega” for this occasion. The poem was addressed to a child who did not know of his parents. Naturally enough, the child had no surname yet, no religion yet and no nationality yet! And such a joy was this child to the poet!

Full of hope and twinkles of determination. Sahir was not just the voice of the landless and oppressed, orphans and women, he was also the voice of the future, of a future that belongs to all of us, without private properties, mindless competition, needless nationalities and fanatic religions. Here it is:

Happy Victory Day!

My Child, A Radical Human Being

Neither you will be a Hindu nor a Muslim will you be
A gift of this new era, a radical human being you will be

A bundle of joy you are, sans a given name
Disconnected from religions, that’s your gain

Religious texts have only divided humanity
My child! So far they couldn’t attack your sanity

Hence the clarion call for the revolution, will you be
A gift of this new era, a radical human being you will be

Mother Nature warmly nurtured us as human beings
Alas! we forced our children into Hindus and Muslims

One small world was all that we were bestowed
Bigots among us created India and Iran instead

Destroyer of barriers, of this unjust world order, will you be
A gift of this new era, a radical human being you will be

Religions preach hate–they are not designed for you
And they practice hostilities–not even an option for you

No good is this Quran since it excludes the Hindu temples
You disown the Geeta that mentions not the Islam shrines

Symbol of world peace, fighter for social justice you will be
A gift of this new era, a radical human being you will be

In garb of patriotism, these nationalists are daylight killers
Even they trade coffins meant for their warring soldiers

These rich capitalists adorned in power and fame
They barter the peoples’ peace for communal shame

Shudder them with deaths, a revolutionary you will be
A gift of this new era, a radical human being you will be

(Trans. By Saswat Pattanayak, Peoples’ Poet)

The original poem by Sahir:
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No more reasons to call mayhem

Not one more life in our name

Not another death to uphold your religion

No more such violent catch 22 situation

Not to secure your mother’s dormant statues

Nor to pay back for your father’s power abuse

No more thought controls by government bureaucrats

Not once more will we believe in your tactics of attacks

No time to agitate, its time to step down from power

No press conferences, no indomitable statues or tower

In such times, politicians of the world must unite

You have everything to lose, including your might

For once, walk with the people, feel their agonies

Set examples of selves, write accords for peace

Stop the blame-games with Pakistan and Muslims

Or against one’s poor, the backward, and their miseries

Now is the time to act, to promise just one thing:

Stop playing communal, ‘tis just one life for rejoicing.


– Saswat Pattanayak, Peoples’ Poet