|Art: Malkit Singh|
They never knew you, who only recall
your smashed golds and broken reds:
those flashing conceits, tropes of a night too dark
to spell out by the fading glow of words;
those surfaces that melted as you spoke,
laying bare depths in which we’d drown
without a pilot’s full-throated voice
to bridge us to land. And as you sang,
a starburst of paisley moths lit up
our eyes behind closed eyelids, dark cells
unlit by thought of such a dawn.
You never meant to trap us in that country
without a post office, where boatmen and saints
trade stories to while away the days
of khaki captivity. No, Beloved Witness,
these were signposts you’d sketched
at the lake’s treacherous edge, to break our fall
as we hurtled down the foothills of policy.
No, your smashed golds and broken reds
were never laments: not yesterday’s colours
but tomorrow’s, they summon us to hope.
They never knew you, who only recall.
~ Ranjit Hoskote is a poet, cultural theorist and independent curator. He is the author of 20 books, including Vanishing Acts: New & Selected Poems 1985-2005, in which the poem featured in this issue first appeared.
Romila Thapar addresses invitees at the
Southasian relaunch of Himal Southasian,
IIC, New Delhi, January 2013.
China, Southasia and India
On May 19 2013, newly appointed Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived in New Delhi for a series of meetings with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The visit is Keqiang's first outside of China since assuming power in March.
From our archive:
Purna Basnet discusses Chinese engagement in Nepal vis-a-vis security issues in Tibet and broader geo-strategic plans in Southasia (April 2011).
Fatima Chowdury relates the story of Calcutta's Indian Chinese community through the lens of political and economic upheavals in Southasia and China (May 2009).
Simon Long notes the importance of the Sino-Indian relationship for the rest of Southasia (September 2006).
J.N Dixit ruminates on the strategic concerns of the 'Middle Kingdom' in the wake of India's 1998 nuclear tests (June 1998).