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Bijay Kant Dubey

I Saw Them (The Bamiyan Buddhas)

I saw them silently, all but silently, gathering,
Gathering on,
To fire,
Yes to fire, fire on the Buddhas,
The Bamiyan Buddhas
In Afghanstan.

The men in the loose pyjamas and the shirt
With a turban around the head,
Bearded and stout and hurly-burly
With the mortars over their shoulders
Firing on,
Firing on the Buddhas

And the Buddhas Buddhas, the statues of peace
Calm and quiet,
In their own composure,
Cliff-hewn, stone-chiselled, tall and heavy,
Sculptured and cut through,
Standing aloft to view all that.

They coming in hordes, the Talibans,
With mortars, shells, axes and hammers
To demolish the Buddhas, wipe them out,
The age-old relics and mementoes
By firing, shelling, bombarding and hammering,
Shelling and bombarding heavily to wipe out.

Buddhas Buddhas, peace radiating, calm taking over,
Seated on the lotus of meditation,
Lost in his sadhna under a peepul tree,
Losing and losing himself,
Blessing with his hand,
Let us be into the shelter of his.

Lo, Buddhas calling, it’s enough, cool yourself, calm down,
Lose not your temper,
Take refuge into me,
Have the peace of mind, the peace of soul
And he counselling, blessing
And asking to be in his shelter!

The Buddhas, Buddhas of peace,
Peace Cosmic, Peace Divine,
Calling them, calling them,
Asking to halt the firing,
But they firing with the stuttering rifles,
Shelling and bombarding the Buddhas.

I mean the Talibans, the people turbaned
And rugged,
Firing with the stuttering guns thundering,
Bombarding, shelling heavily
To wipe out the historical relics,
Pre-dating the advent.

But the Buddhas silent, all silent,
The cliff-hewn and chiselled Buddhas,
Sculpted out of tall rocks,
Archeological, architectural and archival,
But they in their aggressive mood of their own
To gun down the statues.

O Taliban, what are you doing,
Demolish not the statues, the statues of peace,
Shell them not,
They are Peace, Peace Divine,
Play not with,
Now it’s enough, silence your guns!

If disturb you, lest you be disturbed,
If disturb you peace,
You will sleep no more, no more,
You will sleep no more,
Losing all your sleep and rest,
You will no more!

And I hearing, Mundamal, I stood by, paused on hearing your call,
Who is it, who is it,
But when will you halt,
When will you come to a stop from all this,
When will you, Mundamal,
From all your bad deeds and misgivings?

Submitted: Tuesday, August 06, 2013
Edited: Thursday, August 29, 2013

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