TODAY -

Looking for Raju

Basil Fernando *



What kind of a father are you,
Asked his wife.
Where is he, our son,
Do you care at all...
How can I tell her what I know.
Already so upset and depressed,
How can she take any more,
What will become of her, he worried.
Events of the last few months,
Like a film, rolled inside his brain;
First it was, "Where is Raju",
Then, "Raju is missing".
Then, more troubling news.
Raju was arrested;
Raju is in a detention centre;
Which centre and how to find out...
Then the journeys - one detention centre
After another; strange places,
Strange people, strange things.
Now, at sixty, he was entering into the unknown.
Head of a family, one that owed the obligation
To explain, to console and to sustain hope,
To prevent a wife, a mother
Going mad; fears of failure.
Where is Raju? No one cares to answer.
At every detention centre, the same reply,
We know nothing about Raju,
Have not seen him or heard of him.
Where is the complaint,
The arrest warrant,
The interrogation record, the case file.
No answer to such questions.
Then, the powerful ministers
Appear on television,
Denying any knowledge of Raju.
Their hands are clean, they swear.
He is told many things by many people,
Claiming that they saw the arrest
And the way he was dragged into a van.
Others speculated that Raju has been tortured.
But no one explains why.
Perhaps, mistaken for a terrorist.
After all, he was a student,
and many students are missing
He wonders, how to create a story
To convince his wife that Raju is ok....
Raju has gone for a long journey,
Raju will return soon.
At night, he dreamt his son was coming back,
His son, embracing his mother.
And then, he sees his dead son,
Body found under a tree, with many injuries.
Days pass into months and then into years.
He is standing at the deathbed of an old woman,
His wife, refusing to be reconciled,
Losing any speck of trust, muttering, Raju, Raju
They who stole his son,
Have now killed his wife.
But, who are they,
Why do they do such things...
"For truly great tragedies
There are no explanations,"
He wrote in his diary.
"But I must seek one".
"This is about myself, who am I?"
A father who could not protect his child,
A husband who could not console his wife,
An old man who cannot make sense of anything...
I believed in civilization,
Human superiority over everything,
Of my link to the stars;
What am I to believe now...
I believed in rules and the law.
What is the rule, the law that allows
stealing of the young,
And then making them disappear...
I believed in the government's accountability.
But, the president, the prime minister,
Other ministers, refuse to see me
And fail to answer my questions...
Who is my neighbour after all.
Everyone avoids me
Knowing I cannot be consoled.
They could say nothing of any value to me.
I will not cease to search,
I will not stop my questioning,
I will not die, but live to the end of time
Seeking my son and asking questions from every one.
When the State makes citizens disappear,
A nation becomes another-
As a polluted river
Is no longer the same river.
To the task of washing the water clean,
To the painful process of a state admitting guilt,
To the torturous path of people telling the truth
To each other, my life is now committed.

***

Tens of thousands of such men,
Such women, walk this country.
In the South, the North and the East,
Everywhere, every day, asking the same questions.
On the same roads walk their tormentors
Those who stole their children.
They may often meet and even exchange polite greetings,
not knowing who they are and how they are connected.

* A poem in support of the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances.
** This poem has been previously published and is also included in an anthology on Enforced Disappearances published by the Amnesty International.
* Amnesty International Poetry Competition 'Silenced Shadows', 10 September 2015




* Poem written by Basil Fernando and forwarded by Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
This poem was webcasted on 13 September 2018.


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Meekap Thokpa Numit #2 : Gallery
  • Areinu, Chaohongba :: eMing
  • Cheirao-chingkaba [April 14] : Gallery
  • Governor's speech at Khongjom Day 2019
  • Gossiping :: Poem
  • Traditional warfare technique of NE native #2
  • Weak monsoon concern for farmers
  • Rag tag bunch of desperadoes
  • A thought on Khongjom Day
  • Khomlen Manglanda - A Play #1 : Gallery
  • Khongjom Numit: Commemoration
  • Licypriya Kangujam to address UN
  • Wu Cheng'en at Yuntai Mountain :: Review
  • Cleaning up Maram Bazar on Earth Day
  • Take action for mother earth
  • In between now and May 23
  • Challenges in Journalism
  • Shivaratri Shopping List #2 : Gallery
  • Pherzawl - a dying District! ?
  • Indo-Naga & other peace talks #2
  • Spotted Deer - Living with Natural Habitat
  • Northeast Fiesta at Jalandhar : Report
  • Environmental Sciences as career option
  • Serou: A microcosm of mosaic Manipur
  • 3 North East States to get DNA Testing
  • Protest against SC verdict on adultery
  • Mirabai misses bronze by a whisker
  • Post poll scenario in Manipur
  • Tributes to PLA killed #2 : Gallery
  • Romance of insurgency in 1970s #1
  • Earth Day 2019
  • Easter is a Day of Hope for all ...
  • Hide-and-seek in the Sky :: Poem
  • St Mary's Church: The 1st Anglican Church
  • Breaking the barrier
  • A talk with Ajit Ningthouja :: eRang
  • Realisation Day; Echoes the wake up call
  • Xavier Rutsa & Limatemsu Jamir
  • Revisiting Palm Sunday: Reflections..
  • Iceland - most safest & peaceful place
  • Easy fixes for summer hair problems
  • An evening of extreme shame !
  • Revisiting reality
  • LS : Voting for Inner : Gallery
  • Thang Ta @Sangai Festival #4: Gallery
  • The current status of Naga-Kuki relation #1
  • Traditional warfare technique of NE native #1
  • Cry Of A Dying River #72 :: Poem
  • Looking forward to May 23
  • Judgment day
  • Meekap Thokpa Numit #1 : Gallery
  • CC Meet Final: NEROCA Vs SU #2: Gallery
  • Floriculture : A booming industry in Mao
  • Positivity is the soul of life
  • Basic health competency by patients
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • 7th Woodpecker International Film Festival
  • Cracking the repoll whip in Outer
  • Dirty game is a threat to Democracy
  • Ibendhou Kounu Haraoba #2: Gallery
  • Indo-Naga & other peace talks #1
  • Civil Society Forum Manifesto for Election
  • Life and Me :: Poem
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Election jamboree & voters bonanza
  • Suspension Order for 7 MLAs : NPF
  • Chin Woman Dies after Tatmadaw Bomb
  • A reference to the party in power
  • An idea without fear
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba at Mysore #2: Gallery
  • Artillery Regiment in Battle of Imphal
  • Appraisal on LS election (Outer) #2
  • Minimum Income Guarantee is a promise
  • Northeast Fiesta 2019 at Jalandhar
  • Cyber Security - the need of the hour
  • Sunset Unplugged, Agartala: Event Report
  • Reality of casting vote in Outer PC
  • Real face of Indian election
  • Tributes to PLA killed #1 : Gallery
  • Khomlen Manglanda : Play synopsis
  • Download: Meetei Mayek Keyboard
  • Voting (PC) @ Kangpokpi #3: Gallery
  • Letter from a river most polluted
  • Truth commission in Manipur needed..
  • Vacancy at Makok Tech, Bishnupur
  • Cheirao Chingkaba #2 : Gallery
  • The sky is the SIYOM of the stars
  • An introspection of roots of AFSPA
  • A note on Cheiraoba ..
  • A well-known paradox :: Poem
  • The saga of EVMs
  • Festival of Democracy hypes
  • 14 girls sold to persons in Saudi Arabia
  • Took up boxing after watching Ali- Mary
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba at Mysore #1: Gallery
  • Mittong Khunou: The Battle Honour of INA
  • A Lifeline for the Assamese
  • Multiple posts at PiCaSoid, Imphal
  • NE Annual day of CNESPR , JMI
  • Essential summer travel tips
  • Discussion : Myanmar's Democratization
  • Violating election model code of conduct
  • Catapulting AFSPA in the limelight
  • Revisiting CAB issue
  • Voting (PC) @ Kangpokpi #2: Gallery
  • Voting (PC) @ Kangpokpi #1: Gallery
  • Bloody Phanek at Paris Film Festival
  • Homoeopathy, a revolutionary science
  • The goodness of good fate does not smile..
  • Outer Constituency has voted
  • Helpless indignation
  • CC Meet Final: NEROCA Vs SU #1: Gallery
  • Yengkhom Roma : Lifetime Award
  • Appraisal on Lok Sabha election (Outer) #1
  • Cyber Crimes - Crimes by finger tips
  • Research Support Officer @ Amethyst
  • Condemns militarization of NEHU Campus
  • Shadow of CAB on Lok Sabha elections
  • "CAB" Factor Faded
  • Thabal Chongba @Khurai : Gallery
  • Military Sociology: Present, Past & Future
  • Know your MP - Election 2019
  • Dirty Dancing :: Poem
  • Democracy needs time for good admin
  • Travel at U-Factor
  • Shadow of NSCN (IM) in Outer PC
  • The great escape
  • Arambai Exhibition Show : Gallery
  • View of Premier State College Senior Assn
  • Distant One :: Poem
  • The hysteria of a first time voter
  • Course in Folkloristics & Semiotics
  • NDPP is 'Entertainment Govt' : Zeliang
  • On issue of "Letters signed by Neiphiu Rio"
  • The visit of PM Modi
  • If BJP win, people of Manipur support CAB
  • Cheirao Chingkaba #1 : Gallery
  • sekeN heN :: Seireng
  • Yangnu Golmei : Sangeetbhusan 2018
  • Victimizing only the Women & Children
  • Lest The North-East Fall Asleep
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Driving a dangerous feat on Indian roads
  • Need to be democratic in a democracy
  • Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #1 : Gallery
  • Selfie da track :: e-pao Radio
  • Demand for ILP :: Articles/Photos...
  • The legend of the Laiyyars : Election tale
  • Sports for peace & development
  • What is peace ?
  • Rongali : Celebration of Assam & NE
  • Manipuris celebrate New Year
  • Imphal security beefed for Modi's visit
  • Sajibu Nongma Panba Shopping: Gallery
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba: Ritual festival of Meiteis
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Meitei New Year Day
  • Stop War with Nature :: Artwork
  • Cry of a Dying River - 71 :: Poem
  • Pulmonary Valve Balloon dilatation
  • Supping with an ally of the foe
  • Deflected focus: The dress debacle
  • Nipalsuba Mapok #2 : Gallery
  • Running for LS polls: The candidate
  • Gift :: Poem
  • Architect/Architectural Designer @R-Square
  • Little things that help to enhance beauty
  • Congress Manifesto for Repeal AFSPA
  • Social Media - a boon or a curse?
  • Anti-CAB stand: Interesting take from PRISM
  • AFSPA on Congress Manifesto
  • Bamboo Cooking Competition #1 : Gallery
  • April Calendar for Year 2019 :: Tools
  • Yaoshang Sports @Keishampat #2 : Gallery
  • First Wave Feminism
  • JRF wanted at NERIST, Arunachal [Upd]
  • Cheiraoba Thabal 2019 at Bangalore
  • NPF to support Congress on issue based
  • Jyotishmita to represent Assam in Miss India
  • Paothang : Newsletter from Pune
  • Eyeing votes with promise on AFSPA
  • Together let's save the future
  • Shirarakhong Village, Ukhrul :: 360 View
  • Journey into Nature of Human Culture #4
  • Candidate accommodation at Aligarh
  • The globe is in your fist
  • Heartless :: Poem
  • Condemn Killing of Manjur Ahmed
  • Indifference bordering on arrogance
  • Modi's visit: Will it restored BJP image?
  • Yaoshang Halankar #1 : Gallery
  • No Budget at International Mime Festival
  • In defence of the "Meira Paibis"
  • Muhammad Abdur Rahman Khutheibam
  • Yaoshang Fancy Dress : Gallery
  • Meetei Tribe Bears More Tribal Characters
  • Phayeng Koubru Haraoba #3: Gallery
  • TabLlE :: Seireng
  • Yaoshang Marathon Race: Gallery
  • Abok :: Artwork & an Essay
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Yaoshang Pichakari #2: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Cooking competition: Gallery
  • MSAC Literary Meet @Chandigarh : Gallery
  • Lamtagee Thabal @ Pune : Gallery
  • Abdur Rahaman : Gopal Sharma Award
  • Thokchom Sanatombi : Sangeetratna
  • Mukna Kangjei #2 : Gallery
  • Sory Wahengbam : eRang Actress Profile
  • Saroi Khangba @Imphal : Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2019 #1: Gallery
  • Maharaj Kumar Priyabarta Singh : Profile
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2019 : Download
  • List of Restricted Holidays for 2019
  • List of Public Holidays for 2019
  • List of General Holidays for 2019
  • SPONSORED ADS