Turn This Country Into Shaheen Bagh

By Nabina Das

i want to write about shaheen bagh
but i’m not able to write about shaheen bagh
they say there’re thousands in shaheen bagh
burqas and bindis tell stories in shaheen bagh
but alas, i don’t live in shaheen bagh
thousands brave the cold in shaheen bagh
there’re songs flowing in shaheen bagh
the shamiana is lucky to be in shaheen bagh
it guards the women sleeping in shaheen bagh
dupattas become swords in shaheen bagh
hands clap and cheer in shaheen bagh
tea cups brew rebellion in shaheen bagh
the community kitchen serves freedom in shaheen bagh
flags and placards dot all of shaheen bagh
tasbih and slogans hold hands in shaheen bagh
fairies and djinns watch over shaheen bagh
narrating the magic tales of shaheen bagh
oh, it’s an alif laili shaheen bagh
where schehrezade wakes up in shaheen bagh
from breastfeeding infants sleeping in shaheen bagh
the toothless amma in nineties sing in shaheen bagh
their beauty lights up the streets of shaheen bagh
when rulers balk at the chants from shaheen bagh
naani-daadis dare modi in shaheen bagh
the “aaeen (Constitution)” shines in shaheen bagh
yes, azaadi lives in shaheen bagh
it wants a country of post offices in shaheen bagh
who are those that don’t know shaheen bagh?
only those murderers who rampaged shaheen bagh!
i’ve been dreaming each night of shaheen bagh
though i’ll barely know the sorrow of shaheen bagh
just because they hurt my friends in shaheen bagh
i want to be now called shaheen bagh
although i cannot write of shaheen bagh
i say, turn this country into shaheen bagh!


Nabina Das is a poet and writer based in Hyderabad. She has published three books of poetry, one short fiction collection, and one novel. In the age of Coronavirus, she tackles here the questions of isolation already experienced while she grew up in Guwahati, Assam, among ginger roots and swamp dragonflies.



Disclaimer: The opinions expressed are solely that of the author and not of Borderless Journal.

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