Poetry at Sangam



SONG 2 by Pooja Nansi

Ae Mere Pyaare Watan, from the film Kabuliwala. Released 1961.

Artist: Manna Dey

These are the songs of parting. The songs of exile. Self imposed, or otherwise. The sound of a pen scratching as my father signs a document which says “Renunciation of Indian nationality is irrevocable and due care must be exercised in making an application for this purpose. A declaration  must be made that the renunciation is voluntary and that the applicant understands its consequences”. These are the songs of parting. A line that says “After renunciation, you will be given a letter stating that your Indian passport has been cancelled and that you are no longer an Indian citizen”. These are the songs of exile. Self imposed or otherwise. This is how you are expected to dust the earth off you, stop looking back and make yourself (some say) a better home on foreign soil. This is how you grow up singing the songs of one land and are then supposed to forget the notes . These are the soft songs of parting,  the winds different, the smells different, but the never ebbing longing always a constant flow. This is when you are always home. This is when you are never home. This is how borders of love and loyalty are expected to shift, as though your heart understands this redrawn cartography, as though country is merely movements of tectonic plates.  As though country is a thing, not a feeling. As though my country can never be two places, six people, seven things. But these are the rules they say, these are the rules of exile, the songs of parting that haunt and some things we cannot translate.