Gandhi’s Chaadar by Anita Nahal

Anita Nahal

Gandhi’s chaadar was soiled. From pain, loss…weighted, depressed, dripping with screams of humans kicked, beaten, raped, deserted, lost. Millions of chaadars soiled from India to Pakistan, Pakistan to India. One nation, two hearts beginning to beat their own drums at a very soiled hour.

 

My chaadar is not soiled. Not soiled. Not soiled. Like those of my parents. Like those of millions unknown. Like that of Gandhi’s. My chaadar is not soiled. Not soiled with blood, bones, skin and tears from movement, migration, displacement. From running, screaming, begging to be left alive. I am grateful. Grateful for sacrifices that make me stand tall and free today. My heart bows. My mind reflects. My soul is humbled at the relentless march from India to Pakistan, Pakistan to India. One nation, two hearts beginning to beat their own drums at a very soiled hour

 

Numerous old philosophies Gandhi carried in a knot at one end of his chaadar, unwound to woo the masses at timed moments. Satyagraha and Ahimsa, not new, but repositioned in the political world. To urge, attract Indians. To confuse, frustrate the British. With a chaadar in the cold over a small loin cloth, a simple man circumstances created, a forceful man events dictated. My chaadar shudders from woeful memories of his decisions, choices and of people without choice from India to Pakistan, Pakistan to India. One nation, two hearts beginning to beat their own drums at a very soiled hour.

 

A chaddar draped around hunched shoulders, a thin back slightly bent…a satyagrahi in search of many solutions. Standing ground from Non-violence to Quit India, tough as hammer. Once the nail had pounded in, it was not to budge. Twenty years between movements, stands, insistences, stubbornness, fasts, fasts and more fasts between convincing the common Indian to be jailed, go hungry and die. My chaadar did not become soiled with blood, bones, skin and tears.  Gandhi’s did. My chaadar carries the legacy of turmoil, death, refugees from India to Pakistan, Pakistan to India. One nation, two hearts beginning to beat their own drums at a very soiled hour.

 

Ahimsa: Non-Violence

Chaadar: Wrap like a big shawl. Literal translation would be bedsheet

Satyagraha: Truth

Satyagrahi: Seeker of truth


Bio: Anita Nahal, Ph.D., CDP is a poet, professor, short story writer, flash fictionist, children’s books author, and D&I consultant. Currently she teaches at the University of the District of Columbia, Washington DC. Besides academic publications, her creative books include, two volumes of poetry, Hey...Spilt milk is spilt, nothing else (2018) and Initiations (1988), a collection of flash fictions, Life on the go-Flash fictions from New Delhi to America (2018), and three children’s books: I love Mummy and other new nursery rhymesWhen I Grow Up and other new nursery rhymes and The Greedy Green Parrot and Other Stories (1993-1995). Her poems and stories can be found in national and international journals including, Aberration LabyrinthBetter Than StarbucksAadunaRiver Poets JournalColereSetuPoetryspective, and in a number of Medium publications in the US, Confluence in the UK, Lapis Lazuli in Asia and The Burrow in Australia. Nahal received an honorable mention in the 2017 Concrete Wolf Chapbook competition. Nahal is co-editor (with Roopali Sircar Gaur) of the anthology, In All The Spaces-Diverse Voices In Global Women's Poetry (2020). She is also a guest contributing editor for aaduna journal and is co-host of the monthly online creative series, Tan Doori Gup Shup. Nahal is the daughter of Indian novelist and professor, Late Dr. Chaman Nahal, and her mother, Late Dr. Sudarshna Nahal was an educationist, author and principal of a K-12 school. Originally from New Delhi, India, Anita Nahal resides in the US. Her family include her son, daughter-in-law and their golden doodle. For more on Anita: https://anitanahal.wixsite.com/anitanahal 


1 comment :

  1. Poignant metaphor of old stained chador with a gradually increasing focus on the magnificent strength and shape of Bapuji's soul. Wowed Anita Nahal.

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