Poetry at Sangam




1. The Day of Massacre at Nalanda

Bakhtiyar and his men
play buzkashi in my alleys today
monks are being burnt alive; and
those who try to escape are beheaded.

Dharmagunj — the nine storied library
has burst into flames
smoke and ash from burning books 
have turned the day into night.

The sun has disappeared from the sky today
and even my bricks bleed
sacred chants that once purified Magadha 
have turned into shrieks of a falling humanity.

The light of the world is fading today
to face ravages of time alone
abandoned, scorned, forgotten
or perhaps to be reborn into many Nalandas.

2. The Rise of Nalanda

Forlorn under the red earth 
buried for centuries
I rise today like a phoenix,
eight hundred years later
from ashes of my burnt books.

I open my arms today to embrace you
whoever you are, from wherever you are
come, walk into my enlightened fold
as once Buddha, Mahavira did
seeking shelter in my groves.

I recall Hiuen Tsang and Faxian
the ancient travelers from the East,
I hear footsteps of Aryabhata and Charaka
in my ancient grounds today                                
you too come; come as I rise again.