Rahila Gupta


On the 70th anniversary of the partition of the Indian sub-continent:


He must have known that he was going.

I certainly knew.

A body slowly shutting down,

His options: eating or breathing

He couldn't do both.

Food and drink spatter his lungs.

His voice – a distorted hoarse whisper

Kicking sense into the long grass.

I wait for the hard-fought words

That would touch my core,

Mark this moment.

His passing.

Words of love and paternal pride

Words of wisdom

For the next generation.

He calls for pen and paper.

For a long while, he writes.

But I see his pen is moving on the spot

Deeper into a dark hole.

I lift his hand and we start again.

I move his hand along.

He writes:

India and Pakistan will never own



I feel bereft.


A revolution for our times: Rojava, Northern Syria openDemocracy 4 April 2016

Available from Amazon as an e-book.

First published in 2008, on the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade in Britain.