Aruni Kashyap

(9 June 1984 - / Guwahati / India)

Where The Sun Rises - Poem by Aruni Kashyap

If you come back,
There will be no sun,
like the day when we met for the last time in your room.
And there were no rains, but only thunder and stars.
ARSD hostel, wasn’t it? There was no sun,
but we spoke about tomorrow’s sun
that will gaze at its face in the mirror called the
Red River.

If Brahma wouldn’t have married, and Parashuram
wouldn’t have killed his mother,
this river, the mirror of the rising sun,
would have remained tumultous, caged,
like this heart today, in the Parashuram Kunda, forever.

If you have a mother, and a father
who still earns and orders, you can’t bathe there.
If you bathe there, all sins are washed away
Like peace, after the sun rose in Assam in a green flag.

Parashuram bathed there, and like blood, his axe descended
But still, he is the mother-killer.
Parashuram, there is blood on your hands -
your mother’s.

If you come back,
what will you bring?
the Red River is redder now.

During independence Rupkonwar sang a song,
jingoistic, nationalistic: we aren’t scared of sacrificing our lives
we will make the Brahmaputra red with our blood,
On the altar we will lay down our necks,
even if the priest runs away terrified.

What will you bring?
Those days are no more,
Those days: when young Assamese men sang so that the whites would go away
Sang, so that more young men would come and join the processions.

Green was there, even in that flag,
And if there was blood in nineteen-forty seven, there is still,
the Luit has become redder, only that’s the difference.

I don’t know what happened in Burma’s forests,
Did you bathe in the Lake of No Return?
What will you bring for me, if you come at all?
mosquitoes, malaria, wounds and jaundice?
Or hunger for flesh and food to the point
where flesh will be food and food will be flesh
Flesh will be food and food will be flesh
Flesh and food.
Nobody will cook for you,
Nor me. Flesh and food are the same now,

A redder river weeps, not for you,
But for peace and a natural sun rise,
Yearns for redness from the sun floating between clouds,
Not in a green flag.

Poet's Notes about The Poem

(Letter from an Assamese girl to her insurgent lover.)


1. The insurgent group, ULFA’s green flag has the image of a rising sun on it.
2. Parashuram Kunda is a small lake in Arunachal. According to the popular myth regarding Barhmaputra, Parashuram released the tumultous river from that lake to let it flow down into the plains of Assam. He bathed there to wash away his sins and his axe fell there which was adhered to his hand after killing his mother at his father Yamadagni’s orders.
3. Assamese nationalist poet Jyoti Prasad Agarwala was popularly known as Rupkonwar.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Poem Edited: Wednesday, June 13, 2012

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