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On the death of a baby girl

In the shade of our tamarind tree,
I often think about you, my baby.
You would have been four by now,
Maybe just started school.
Your mother loves you, I want you 
To know that. But then you always 
question. You ask me, "Why did you 
stop me ? Was I not reason enough for 
Happiness ?"
You were, my child, you were. 
I stopped you, I did not want you to 
die in the way I do. Every single day.
My blood and tears are reason enough
To stop you. Maybe some other world 
Is ours. Where I can keep you hidden 
From vile eyes, words and touch.
Where I can see you smile, walk and grow.
Where I can beam after watching your laughter.
In the shade of our tamarind tree,
I often think about you, my baby.


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Concealed by dark clouds
You keep shining.
Bright streaks of light
Dazzle me.
Enchant me.
And keep me waiting..
Waiting for you.


The eyes searched someone. The one she could run to at times of need. In someone’s lap, she would pour out all her troubles.
Nobody came.  She grew up, rimmed her eyes with kohl. But they could never hide her tears.
No one came when her soul was ripped apart. No one heard her cries. No one mourned her loss.
After  a while, she thought that tears were a part of the eyes.

Is there any viable alternative to AFSPA?

The mere mention of armed forces evokes the image of courage, bravery and discipline in India. However, in north-east India and Jammu and Kashmir, the picture is vastly altered. Military force is synonymous with fear, brutality and suspicion. The main reason behind this contradictory public image is the “draconian” law, Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. It has vested the armed forces with absolute power mainly to aid fight against terrorism and insurgency. Several unprovoked arrests, tortures, rapes and deaths go unnoticed under the wraps of AFSPA.Unmarked graves have been found in the valley. Fake encounters and disappearances make headlines.  At times, it is a case of mistaken identity. Violence in Jammu and Kashmir has increased since implementation of AFSPA in 1990. Similar incidents are reported from the north-eastern states. 
Jeevan Reddy Commission (2005) had recommended repealing AFSPA and bringing a humanitarian law in place. However, no concrete steps have been taken by th…