Mohammad Afzal Guru’s execution by hanging calls in mind the following poem by FAIZ AHMED FAIZ. Although the historical context in which it was written is different, Faiz’s haunting words remain as relevant today.
In Search of Vanished Blood
There’s no sign of blood, not anywhere.
I’ve searched everywhere.
The executioner’s hands are clean, his nails transparent.
The sleeves of each assassin are spotless.
No sign of blood: no trace of red,
not on the edge of the knife, none on the point of the sword.
The ground is without stains, the ceiling white.
This blood which has disappeared without leaving a trace
isn’t part of written history: who will guide me to it?
It wasn’t spilled in service of emperors –
– it earned no honor, had no wish granted.
It wasn’t offered in rituals of sacrifice –
– no cup of absolution holds it in a temple.
It wasn’t shed in any battle –
– no one calligraphed it on banners of victory.
But, unheard, it still kept crying out to be heard.
No one had the time to listen, no one the desire.
It kept crying out, this orphan blood,
but there was no witness. No case was filed.
From the beginning this blood was nourished only by dust.
Then it turned to ashes, left no trace, became food for dust.
- Translated from the Urdu by Agha Shahid Ali
Image credit: Ad Sora