Tag Archives: plague

WEEPING WINDOW

The hum of the radio

a far distant cry

the sorrowful weeping

from the broken window

Puzzling, why would the cherry skies

the golden riverbed

the symphony of the saxophone

could bring such misery

to those mysterious cries

The radio now broken

the distant cry now a cacophony

the voice, breaking

now of deep resentment, of anguish unheard

my footsteps echo

I sense hasty retreat

of those rhythmic feet

a haunting stillness fills the air

of dreary lanes and dusty highways

I find myself drawn for those

pain filled whimpers

the radio now lined with dust

the skies grey

the unwelcomed bombings instills terror

the ghastly dead bodies that lay

amidst the horror , I hear the scream

a scream for freedom, of anguish,of lost loved ones and terror

Beneath the window

eyes lined with fear

lips parched with suppression

cheeks glistening of fresh tears

my feet finds strength

I dash downstairs, my hijab snags

amid the charred glass

my pistol in hand

snatching those blood covered hands

we flinch when anything snaps

now undaunted by his reassuring glance

we flee,driven out of our own homeland

the terror spreads, bombings like a murderous plague

till our feet burns,under the scorching sand

our blood covers every wall of our land

I imagine the dust lined radio

my memory still fresh of the weeping window

ANOUSHKA MUKHERJI

In a war ravaged country, where once you could hear the noisy chatter of the radio and see the beautiful golden lit sky, now only the dark grey clouds and crumbled pathways welcome you. Amidst all this chaos, we see two innocent souls fighting to survive. The poet senses a wailing noise coming from somewhere nearby and goes to inspect it during which she comes across a small boy weeping. His rhythmic sobs seems sorrowful and he looks terrified. This gives the poet the strength to run away with the boy with a pistol in her hand, from that place. In the aftermath of this destruction we come to understand that the poet has fled her homeland along with the small boy and is now reminiscing about the whole experience. The war has torn the country apart and there is nothing but broken pieces of land scattered here and there. From ‘our blood covers every wall of our land’ we understand that the poet is talking about the death of her countrymen. Those who fought bravely against the invaders and lost their lives for their homeland. This is a very grim scenario created by the poem which shows the harsh realities of what is going on in the world. When two countries are at war, the casualties  are not only physical but emotional too. People who have managed to escape have to live lifelong with the trauma of the past and some even develop post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This poem is a depiction of how war affects young children and how they have to cope with being separated from their country. It is a very implicit depiction of the war turned country of Israel.

The Chapekar Brothers and assassination of W.C Rand, The British plague Commissioner of Pune 1897

During late 1896 dreaded disease of plague had struck Pune and by early 1897, the disease had spread critically. In February 1897 alone, there were 657 deaths reportedly due to plague. About half of the city’s population had left it.The government set up a Special Plague Committee in March that year to handle the menace and control the spread of the disease. It was chaired by an Indian Civil Service (ICS) officer W. C. Rand.

The commission appointed more than 800 officers and soldiers on duty in Pune rather than employing doctors for the job of implementing the measures. The measures included entry into houses forcefully, examination of its occupants including women, taking them to segregation camps and preventing people affected with plague from leaving or entering Pune.People were denied permission to conduct the funerals of their loved ones unless the deaths were registered. If plague was the cause of death, the dead had to be cremated in special grounds designated by the government.

A medical camp for the plague, in Pune 1896, source of the image Google

The Chapekar brothers  Damodar Hari Chapekar, Balkrishna Hari Chapekar and Vasudeo Hari Chapekar and a friend of them Mahadev Ranade initially belonged to Chapa small hamlet near Chinchwad, then a village near Pune, in the state of Maharashtra, India

1.Balkrishna Hari Chapekar 2.Damodar Hari Chapekar 3. Basudev Hari chapekar 4. Mahadev Ranade. Source of image Google

Regular harassments of Rand commission had prompted the Chapekar brothers and other members of the revolutionary “Chapekar Club” to take action against the person who started it all—the commissioner. On 22 June 1897, brothers Damodar Hari Chapekar and Balkrishna Hari Chapekar assassinated a British official W. C. Rand and his military escort Lieutenant Ayerst at Pune, Maharashtra. This was the first case of militant nationalism in India after the 1857 Revolt.

Chapekar Brother statue at Chinchwad, source of the image Google

All three brothers were found guilty and hanged, an accomplice was dealt with similarly, another, then a schoolboy, was sentenced to ten years’ rigorous imprisonment.