She was helping little Sonu complete a painting for a drawing competition organized in her office for the young children of employees. Today was the last day to submit entries for “The India of my dreams.'' Sonu was about to complete her painting. “Ma, come, sit with me, please.” If it were not for her daughter’s relentless requests…she was in no mood for colours this morning. She was in fact hooked on to the news, while pretending to work. Reluctantly, however, she moved closer to her little one.

A warm smile flashed across her daughter’s face as she took the child in her lap. “Look!” said Sonu excitedly pointing at her drawing. On the television, a woman clad in saffron attire was spewing hatred in her ears. The clip from the Dharm Sansad had gone viral. She did not know which out of the two she was doing absent-mindedly – listening to the woman or looking at her daughter’s painting. In the latter, six or seven human figures stood out against a beautiful backdrop. Men, women, children, against fields that glittered emerald green under the melting orange of an evening sky.

Were the colours too warm or the words too violent, she did not know. But she struggled to keep her moist eyes focused on these tiny, all white human figures, unmistakably consumed by their respective religious identities – a skull cap, a headscarf, a shiny cross around the neck, a sindoor -filled parting, a turban... Each with the most innocent smile and outstretched hands holding those of an unknown other on either side. The orange and the green and the white all seemed a bit smudged then as she let a tear well up her eyes and slide...

Listen to Namita Waikar read the poem in Hindi

Listen to Namita Waikar read the poem in English

हम लड़ेंगे, चुप नहीं बैठेंगे

मैं हिन्दू हूं, मैं हिन्दू हूं,
हाँ, मैं हिंदू हूं, खूंखार नहीं,
मैं भी देश के बाक़ी हिन्दुओं जैसी,
आतंक की आदी नहीं
मैं हिन्दू हूं, मुसलमान भी हूं,
सिख हूं और ईसाई भी
मैं हमारे भारत के संविधान को जीवित रखूंगी

तुम हिंदुत्व की बात छेड़ोगे,
‘मारो मारो’ चिल्लाओगे
हम हिन्दू-मुस्लिम सिख-ईसाई
सबके हाथ थामेंगे

तुम सौ, दो सौ, गोडसे बनकर
गलियों में निकलोगे
हम लाखों लाखों गांधी बनकर
वहीं तुमको रोकेंगे
तुम लगाओ नारे नफरत के,
उछालो अस्त्र हिंसा के
गायेंगे बुलंद प्यार के गीत,
हम सारे लोग भारत के
तुमने कर ली है मति भ्रष्ट,
बनगए पाशविकता के गुलाम
तुम अपने भगवा स्वांग में,
करते हो दरिंदगी को सलाम

इस देश के हिन्दू कायर नहीं,
नाही हम नासमझ हैं
हम भगत सिंह, अशफ़ाक़ हैं,
सरोजिनी, कस्तूरबा हैं
हम भारत का संविधान हैं,
हम गीता हैं, कुरान और बाइबल हैं
हम गुरु ग्रन्थ साहिब तो हैं ही
और हम धर्मनिरपेक्ष भी हैं

तुम सत्ताधीशों  के आश्रित पिल्ले, चमचे होंगे
राम का नाम चीखने को,
तुम धर्म समझते होंगे
हम मानवता की धरा को पकड़े जकड़े हैं
अमन के स्तंभ से हम तिरंगे को ऊँचा लहरायेंगे

हम लड़ेंगे, हर एक गोडसे का सामना करेंगे
हम लड़ेंगे, आपको आगे बढ़ने से रोकेंगे
हम लड़ेंगे, चुप नहीं बैठेंगे
हम लड़ेंगे, हम जीतेंगे
हम लड़ेंगे, चुप नहीं बैठेंगे

We will not be silent, we will fight

Yes I am a Hindu,
a Hindu, not a barbarian
and like the majority of Hindus
that make this country
I do not instigate terror.
I am a Hindu,
I am a Mussalman,
I am a Sikh and I am a Christian too
I will uphold India’s Constitution -
keep it alive and thriving

You will chant jingoistic slogans
in the name of Hindutva
“Kill them, Kill them” you will shout
We will hold each others’ hands
Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Christian

Thousands of you may roam the streets
wearing the shadows of Godse
Millions of us will walk like Gandhi
and stop you right there.
You may shout the slogans of hatred and violence
We will sing the songs of love, we Indians
You slaves of inhuman, bestial passions,
In your saffron disguise
you bow to predatory thoughts.

We, the Hindus of this country
are neither cowards nor senseless
We are Bhagat Singh. We are Ashfaq.
We are Sarojini. We are Kasturba.
We are the constitution of India
We are the Gita, the Koran, the Bible
and yes, we are the Guru Granth Sahib too.
We are secular people.

You, cronies to the powerful.
You, who scream the name of Ram
and call it dharma.
We will hold on to our humanity
and keep the tricolour flying
from the mast of peace.

We will fight, we will repel every Godse.
We will not let you march ahead.
We will fight. We won't be silent,
We will fight, we will win.
We will fight. We won't be silent

Namita Waikar is a writer, translator and Managing Editor at the People's Archive of Rural India. She is the author of the novel 'The Long March', published in 2018.

Other stories by Namita Waikar
Illustration : Labani Jangi

Labani Jangi is a 2020 PARI Fellow, and a self-taught painter based in West Bengal's Nadia district. She is working towards a PhD on labour migrations at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Kolkata.

Other stories by Labani Jangi