False Accusers

Three of us are posing an eternal threat

To ninety seven of you believers

Our reasonable questions unsettle your fate

While your hands are soiled with bloods.

 

You seem disturbed by our immorality

While your prophets, popes and seers

Continue in the name of immortality

Rape culture of glorified gory scriptures.

 

Our short skirts and no bras disturb your tranquility

While you gloat over subjugating women in your fiefdoms

Our demanding rights for the victims of your atrocity

Provoke you to uphold your carefully protected sexist laws.

 

While you continue to claim the Queer do not exist 

You keep on beheading, stoning them to deaths

In your discriminating worldview so heterosexist

Even your chief charlatans, your seers remain all males.

 

All you wise folks that disallow being questioned

Dismissive of our child-like curiosities

Are you our teachers and parents thus inclined

To teach us tales of twisted credibilities?

 

Scripted tales of selective valor, courage, and heroism 

In your books, virtues of forgiveness, vices of hatred 

Only per your convenience, the mythical fanaticism

Rarely invoked, hardly rebuked, and never addressed.

 

Aren’t you our beloved ancestors with unexamined morals

Ethics that suit you, in your condescending overtones

Our wretched past you bestow to us as infinitely glorious

Or are you our stamps of approvals for ongoing consumptions?

 

Those of you who condemn the future as blank and the bleak

Hollow and the insensitive, meaningless and westernized

Pleasure seeking, individualistic, greedy and the weak

Ensuring this reactionary world never has its demise –

 

Have you paused to interrogate how is this even a possibility

Without proclivity for sustaining your active participations 

In sabotaging the biggest anticapitalist movement globally

Have you paused to question your misplaced missions?

 

You still ask of us to restore the faith and keep the belief

In a god you have failed to prove; a god we fail to notice

Masquerades as divine, serves your deliberate mischief

A manufactured class enemy, a tool to justify your avarice. 

 

And if there is really one and He emerges tomorrow

It will appear to be the most sinister of creatures

Hitler and Mussolini combined cannot overshadow 

Far more evil than your beloved godmen and preachers.

 

For the vile men and women abuse and incite once in a while

Even as the supreme God leads centuries of oppressions 

I am sick and tired of your falsehood, your fake forgiving smile

Just keep your god and shove it up where it truly belongs.

 

While you might applaud how holy books call us humans

You raise your kids as Hindus, Muslims and all that crap

And stop the Buddhist nonsense, those non-violent sermons

Since you can’t prevent your Burmese monks’ killer trap. 

 

Even as we go unsung in your goddamn media spin

We are not silent, defeated or subservient to your whims

And those of us who reject any notion of god, religion, sin

May not even declare ourselves as fanatically atheists.

 

We may not even know what it takes to be a skeptic  

To not believe in something we don’t even think matters

So we shall let you flourish while you merely nitpick

But don’t mistake our historical tolerance as our barriers.

 

Don’t take our quest for verifiable knowledge as our ignorance

Don’t confuse our unconditional love for humanity with hatred

Because it is you who spread the communal venoms, intolerance

Challenging you for centuries have indeed left countless of us dead.

 

And even as we have been trounced, brutalized by your fanatics 

In face of your militant gas chambers and violent condemnations

We shall not be vanquished, nor relinquish being your vocal critics

Persist we shall in resisting your dictums, your malicious infiltrations.

 

Every revolution has been waged against the status quo believers

Next in line are your fictitious brands of gods that have sown in your souls

Fears that refuse you to join us and to notice that you too are doubters

That organically you were always born atheists – that once you were just, us.

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Socialist Realism

Communism is pure evil,

It offers no freedom.

On the other hand –

Capitalism, is all about

Choice and option.

 

And in our free world,

We have inalienable rights.

To choose life’s recourses –

Between rotting public schools

And swanky private elites.

 

We may pick universal healthcare,

Or join the elite insurance systems.

In pursuit of happyness –   

We may select manual menial jobs

Over executive positions.

 

Foods with pesticides,

Or those organic produces.

We eat or live how we like –

The choice to dwell in slums

Or to reside in ancestral palaces. 

 

Between career woman blues,

And becoming voluntary moms.

As we age, amidst senile decay –

The choice to work past retirement

Or to opt for vacation homes.     

 

To consume the books that tell the lies,

Or to drop out of institutional favors.

Between emerging heroes or misfits –  

Have the choice to swear patriotism

Or be condemned as living terrors.

 

Its a free world and we are its voters,

Elect our destinies from the parties galore.

If realism offered no solace anyway –

Like Paris Hilton’s t-shirt has the solution

We can party and “Stop Being Poor”.

 

Saswat Pattanayak, Peoples’ Poet

The Market

By Saswat Pattanayak

Real man Farhan Akhtar prevents violence against women on behalf
of the Delhi Police, Al Gore makes millions to save the planet from temperature
gain, Amnesty International recruits Peter Gabriel to be their conscience,
Aishwarya Rai counters Polio and HIV/AIDS, Unicef heralds Aamir Khan as the
expert on child rights, and Narendra Modi hires Amitabh Bachchan to spread
‘Khushbu Gujarat Ki’.

And we lesser mortals, legends in our own minds, emulate our
stars and wait for our moment to go viral on Facebook and Youtube, while these
corporations churn out billions in our name via offering us a supposedly free
platform. Even Michael Moore, the multimillionaire activist, sells a few more
copies at the Left Forum. Rape won’t happen again, wail our criminal leaders on
our television screens; while change.org gives us a marketable online page to
cry justice.

From activisms against capitalism to advocacies by corporations,
from revolutions on the streets to enactments on the television sets, from
underground coalitions of committed comrades to publicized hobnobbing of social
media elites – the nature of agitations has probably undergone radical
transformations in recent years. From tactical opposition against brand
positioning, to using marketing as a tactic in the struggle – the organizing
principles of movements have perhaps witnessed drastic shifts. From teach-ins
of topical significance, mass sloganeering across college campuses and
independent publications from the basements, to the dying library culture,
thriving business of institutionalized coaching and emergence of the big media
– the character of education has, of late, seen systemic revisions.

Individualistic values were traditionally attached to marketing
strategies that lured the consumers into choosing between options. Now even the
collective values are being marketed rather profitably. This near complete
synthesis under the auspices of marketing is the mark of capitalism – well
received, embraced, and adapted to, in our times.

One could argue that capitalism transcending all barriers and
uniting us in our greed is supposed to be a good thing. After all, until this
stage is reached, there would be no way to successfully combat its ills so that
a higher stage of human development can be aspired for. What one merely wishes
for is a sufficient critique of this synthesis during our times that can
translate into, and bring alive the spirit of organized dissent. For when Bob
Dylan went electric, there had erupted endless controversies; today, he
endorses Oris luxury watch without even a glitch.

Maybe then we have to stop looking at the chosen few individuals
for answers, subsumed as they have been under, and also benefiting from, the
marketing diaspora. Maybe the climate of a universal superstore that sets the capitalistic
standards of success and fame should be allowing us to think beyond it. The
world of marketing has already done its job. Maybe its time we started doing
ours – by imagining a new world, a hype-less society whose tireless activists
need no corporate endorsements, no mass approvals, no mention in the weekly
lists of bestsellers, no official state recognitions, no standing ovations at
mega award events.

Better still, perhaps such folks, the flag-bearers of an
alternative world, the proletarian heroes, the working class agitators, the
unsung poets are already in our midst. And, we fail to notice them time and
again, enamored as we are by the layers of seductive marketing – deluded by the
promises from the visible, hypnotized by the cheerleaders of the exploiters,
and beguiled by the antidepressants prescribed in the form of reassuring words
of our false gods. We oftentimes fail to notice that the agents of oppressions
can creatively manipulate their subjects to relish a higher degree of degradation,
given that it happens with greater tacit participations of those that they
oppress, and in the process, manufacture a coterie of luminaries that
convincingly speak to the grateful lot of us on behalf of our benevolent
masters.

 

What we need to do then, is to unmask the majority hype,
recognize the minority dissent, and replace the entire system. Lock, stock, and
barrel.

(For Kindle Magazine)