the second coming - W.B. yeats
I write this post today as the sound of the azaan from a nearby masjid allows the ambulance screech to play chorus during its interludes. The air is draped in a translucent muslin shroud of smog. The dust of this city sits on parched tongues before becoming tears in the eyes of the dispossessed and dislocated- the pariahs of this city, this nation state. The very air of this country has begun to acquire the lingering stench of betrayal. Elsewhere in South India, the police have delivered mob justice to four youths accused of rape and murder of a young girl. The rape victim in Unnao was burnt alive, and the family has been threatened by relatives of the accused, “requesting” them to change their testimony to suicide (or else the entire family, their livelihoods/workshops will be burnt). A controversial Trans bill that criminlaises an entire community rather than ending stigma and unequal treatment has been passed in parliament, as Kashmir continues to face the ire of a country determined to permanently erase the identity of its inhabitants. One only needs to turn on the TV to listen to the lapdogs of the fascist state fanning the blaze that is bloodthirty uppercaste Hindu nationalism. But why give a bad name to dogs. They know the meaning of sensitivity. Yeats’s poem written soon after the first world war, unleashes the beast of his fearful imagination in verse. Literally, his last few lines carve out in carteful detail the figure of the Sphinx. The poem is a reference both to Egyptian Mythology as well as Christian theology and the prophecy of the second coming of Christ, and the apocalypse. This oft anthologised poem, like Munch’s “The Scream” and Picasso’s “Guernica” echo the image of a world that is bursting at its seams. Maybe we can see these as harsh critiques, fierce calls which leave in their wake the path to social equality and cultural resurgence.