His ears attuned to the husky whisper
Of the Pindi procurer Aqleem Akhtar,
the Queen Generalwho had earned
more favor than his trusted advisors,
the inebriated Yahya gave the order
to batter the unyielding Bengali bones
with the fierce guns of his battle tanks.
So they let loose their fire, shredding
the peaceful spring night of March 25th,
burying mothers, fathers, and children
under the rubble of crumbling buildings
as the flames leapt to the distant stars
and the heavens cried out in agony.
The womb of those ashes bred us –
workers, farmers, and students;
rebel cops and soldiers as well;
men, women, Hindus, Muslims,
humanists, secularists, and more –
bound by a solemn promise to undo
the grievous wrongs of history.
Centuries of shameful subjection
by the marauding Mughals and
the perfidious British – who shamed
us for our heritage – and the rabid
Pakistanis – who spilled our blood
for our language – couldn't rob us
of our abiding lore and mores.
So heads held high we marched
forward and fought for nine restless
months against the tyrant's Juggernaut –
for a land where knowledge wouldn't
be a captive of platitudes and reason
wouldn't lose its way into blind belief,
where the mind would be free
and life's worth would rest on virtue –
till that afternoon of 16th December, when
Tiger Niazi's trembling hand signed
the surrender document anda blood-red
sunlit up the leaden winter sky
from the green flag of my motherland.
Ronny Noor teaches at the Department of Literatures and Cultural Studies, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.