Sarah Naqvi: When a name is laid to rest by force, where lies its burial ground
donderdag, 23 december 2021
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Ter aanvulling op Sarah Naqvi’s kunstenaarsbijdrage in Kunstfort Voices #8 publiceert Kunstfort Journal drie hoofdstukken uit Sarahs tekst ‘When a name is laid to rest by force, where lies its burial ground’ waarin hen op persoonlijke en poëtische wijze thema’s als uitsluiting, polarisatie, indoctrinatie en macht die een belangrijke rol spelen in het dagelijkse leven in diens thuisland India aankaart.

CHAPTER 1 (Names and their wake)

Tum kaun ho?

Who are you?

Tumhari saundhi khusboo mujhe ghar le aati hai,

Your scent takes me back to a place I call home, 

the motherland,

mai dhool hoon, jo mitti se

Bas kuch door, uth chal padi,

I am dust, 

the dirt that carried itself, on soles, your step,

I know no destination, no place but where I am led,

Beneath your feet, the sole that has carried me,

I was told jannah lies beneath,

I always looked,

I am looking,

What is the purpose of your visit, is it aid that you require?

How long is your stay? 

Aur Suno,

havayon ko na koso, unka isme koi hath nahi,

Don’t spend yourself in cursing those fallacies,

on how i got here and how i shall leave,

Pay no such heed, because vain are all your curses to the winds, 

they play no part in this, 

the soil I come from, one I am of,

she does not see me as her own

the grains that are my brethren, 

they have turned their backs and shrugged any trace of me,

denied our shared history, now repulsed by the sight of me,

yet I seek no acceptance, in knowing,

Mitti ne bas, apna na maana,

Alas, all there is, is her dismissal of me,

I am not from, or of, only, without,

Kuch sarey pehle maatha teka (tha), ab usi maathe pe lipatkar (jab hum chale aaye,

Aapne humein kosa,

In the kneels and bows that were promised, carried is the mud on foreheads devoted,

Labour done, lives promised, 

perspiring souls, those languished and forgotten,

Jaan gava dein, khoon bahadein, apni ragon ko shamshaan bana dein, jadon ko behisi , ikhlaaq sikha dein,

Lives spent, blood shed to nourish grounds that will soon forget,

till every vein has run dry, the cycle remains, forgotten now, forgotten then,

there is no account for the payments made,

So I have taught them indifference, learned such tolerance and embraced such passivity, 

that they no longer speak,

Humne phir bhi kuch na boya?

Stood nevertheless, In your eyes I sow no seed,

Aur Nas nas mein ab khauf rengta hai, ruh kaapti hai,

Under every inch of waking skin, 

Crawling are lingering fears, from the first act to the last act of apathy,

In nerves I barely recognise, those channels through which chills have travelled to my spine,

Phir bhi saleeqe se baithe hain,

You will find us sat, with composure and divine restraint, undoing the latter could cost us our fate,

Paala, posa, tumhe na toka,

Raised and nurtured, never have I done other than,

Humne phir bhi kuch na boya?

I have still (alas) sown no seed,

When a name is laid to rest by force, where lies its burial ground,

in the event of such abruption, who governs the ground

history was laid to rest on many occasions, for there have been many a conquerors and many oppressions,

which do we recall and whom do we forget,

when a home is laid to rest, 

who performs its last rites.  

CHAPTER 2 (confluence and sweat)

Tum kaun ho?

Who are you?

Mai Paseena wahi, mathe pe jo dhool utha laaya,

The sweat that carried the dirt on your forehead,

chanting and reducing it’s motion to a single entity,

godless, laying itself under open beams,

of scrapers that are destined to fall,

Registan mein phulkari ki tarah, mai khil toh aaya,

In the deserts of such solitude, blooming are blankets sewn through the darkness that has prevailed,

Trust laid in those that have facilitated this growth,

concrete has seeped into the pores that breathe,

Grey palms and feet still recognise, a missing meal,

Lekin jinka khoon paseena bahaya, unhe na laa paaya,

and so becomes of the ones left behind, those continually exiled, 

excluded, murdered, martyred, labour denied, 

without whom there is no history, without whom there is no future,

I am merely a response,

To heat, pressure, fatigue and rigour.

wiped from face, laced on the cotton afforded and graced,

Still much is left behind,

CHAPTER 3 (filth)


Dirt carrying dead skin, peel as you excavate, 

traces of the brutality, etchings of remembrance,

Maeli us kameez se,

filthier than the muslin sleeve,

Maele us palang posh se,

filthier than the bed sheet that has been touched,

Rang utaar kar, le aaya,

I have stripped off its colour, and worn its word, 

never to be forgotten, their place in this world

Sarah Naqvi (1996) woont en werkt in Mumbai en Amsterdam. In september 2021 voltooide hen het residencyprogramma aan De Ateliers in Amsterdam.

Foto: Jeroen de Smalen, W139

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