Friday, June 14, 2024

Josbina Sangma


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– Janet Moore Hujon

Like so many of us you were once unknown

Yet your life was familiar to those who loved you

Your children, your mother, your husband,

And maybe the thirsty traveller out-or-homeward bound

Stopping by for the cup of tea you brewed

In that remote neglected part of our world

Now suddenly you are national news

Your brutalised body the stomping ground

For political groups

You are either the reason for their existence

Or the pretext to wipe out another

Yet was the status of cause célèbre one you sought?

Weren’t you just caught in the din of crossfire

Never allowed to speak for yourself?

Now you cannot even stand upright to argue your case

To explain why, with head held high,

You hoped for a better life

Just like we all do.

Did you not know you were not protected

Unlike those who controlled your destiny?

Those patrons and dispensers of power

Who enjoy the kind of protection

You and I can only dream of.

There was no need to enthrone you on a blue plastic chair

Matching your dokmanda

Bare feet planted on the ground

You were hardly a moving target

Fear alone would have rooted you to the spot

For the gun speaks the language of threat

Needing no explanation, allowing no argument

And completely ruling out debate,

As shadowy forces unleash with relish

Their reign of terror

Defending their love for the Garo Hills

So this harvest of lives must needs continue

If your compatriots are to make a living

In the huge silence following

The crack of gunshots

Snapping the column of your neck

Flecking the sun-warmed rubble with your blood

Your shattered head unable to mouth

A last farewell to your children

Those innocent inheritors of war

In beautiful battlefields

Then and now your silenced form still asks:

Why does this kingdom floating in the clouds

Have so much blood on its walls?

When will the land of perpetual winds

Reclaim her right to peace?

Will the hills just echo to the sound of gunfire

And not to choirs of birdsong?

When will we remind ourselves that for a child

A mother is someone who is always there.

(Report in The Shillong Times, August 5, 2014: A core member of GNLA’s hit squad from Chokpot that was involved in the cold-blooded execution of Josbina Sangma, mother of four children, on June 3, has given himself up to police in Tura. Police sources revealed that GNLA cadre Rakman Marak surrendered to authorities at Tura police station on Sunday citing unhappiness with the ‘methods’ of the outfit in its fight for a Garo state.)


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