Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee

Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee is a poet, writer, occasional translator and political science scholar. His writings have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Guernica, The Rumpus, Rattle, The London MagazineNew Welsh ReviewThe Fortnightly ReviewMudlark, etc. His first collection of poetry, Ghalib’s Tomb and Other Poems (2013), was published by The London Magazine. He teaches poetry at Ambedkar University, New Delhi



The Station of the Blind

“Let me not lie. There was a crowd of 200 people.

~ Ashok, shop owner


They did not see anything.

They did not see the two bodies

With blood all over them.

They did not see the two bodies

Taken away.

They did not see what they saw.

They saw what they did not see.

Their paralysed eyes

Became hidden cameras,

Hiding from the scene of crime,

Hiding from light.

There cannot be a single reason

For 200 people not to see.

Except turning blind together.

There were 200 motives

But one secret —

Deciding to go blind.

Someone put off a giant switch

To darken the stage

And the colour of blood.

They did not believe what they saw

To escape what they saw.

They will store what they clicked

In the dark room they’ll visit in secret

To keep their guilt alive.

200 blindfolded photographers

Sold their eyes

To hands that killed the sun.


Note: This poem is a response to the 200 odd people who were present on platform no. 4 of Asaoti railway station in Faridabad, on the evening of June 26. They declined from bearing witness to the 15 year old boy, ‘Hafiz’ Junaid Khan, bleeding to death, lynched by a vigilante mob, with his injured brothers trying to save him.

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