Sunday, December 10, 2023

Poem: Akhil Gogoi, Incarcerated

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Akhil Gogoi, a peasant leader, RTI activist and founder of Assam-based Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) is in jail for 207 days now, charged under draconian UAPA by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) following the anti-CAA protests that had rocked Assam last year.

A poem written by Sangita Saikia and Munu Nath in Axomiya and translated to English by Aniruddha Bora

Life has an end,
time does not.

In the path of struggle
without Akhil, the people’s struggle in Assam
has come to a standstill—
banners, placards, and a few slogans still holding value
are lying on the streets.

Incarcerated Akhil is forced to watch
murders in his motherland, a home full of violence—
and the king’s great, false lectures
asphyxiate the people’s voice.

Corruption has multiplied its branches
the tree of struggle is dying
and the streets have become deserts.

For their personal political dreams
those fake leaders who once delivered speeches,
why are they silent today?

Those who signed movements on the pages of their ledgers,
why don’t they speak for a movement to free Akhil?

Struggles in Assam today are reduced to donations and monetary contributions
and those who claim to represent Assam are sold on the cheap—
without Akhil, this struggle is fake.

While Akhil is in prison,
the king is building mountains of corruption without opposition.

In the path of struggle, we see
traders disguise as leaders
pushing the real revolutionary to the gallows
and surrounding themselves by securities.

Today, the streets are not abuzz with protests,
today, there is no real leader
to free Akhil from his incarceration.

For everyone is busy with their own calculation.

Today, Akhil is forced to watch from behind the bars
the deserted courtyard of his selfish mother.

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