“A World of Silence is Blown into Smithereens”

GN Saibaba’s poems from confinement

24 April 2020
GN Saibaba during a 2016 interview at his residence in Delhi, India, after he was released on a three-month bail for medical reasons.
Vipin Kumar / Hindustan Times / Getty Images
GN Saibaba during a 2016 interview at his residence in Delhi, India, after he was released on a three-month bail for medical reasons.
Vipin Kumar / Hindustan Times / Getty Images

GN Saibaba, a professor of English at the University of Delhi, was arrested in 2014 and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2017, under the allegation that he had links with banned Maoist groups. The draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act had been invoked in his case. After his initial release on grounds of medical treatment—he uses a wheelchair as a result of post-polio residual paralysis of his lower limbs—he wrote about the conditions he had faced in an anda cell in the Nagpur prison. His partner, Vasantha Kumari, passed on the following poems he had written in confinement. 

On 11 April, the Committee for the Defence and Release of Dr. GN Saibaba put out a statement  asking for his release in the face of a threat to his life because of the COVID-19 virus. His health has deteriorated during his incarceration, and he suffers from pancreatitis, high-blood pressure, immobility and sleeplessness.

This Day, Too, Will Pass

Dizziness, nausea, breathlessness.
In the morning’s glossy papers of the day,
the colourful maps of my country
blur my vision.

Rich businesses celebrate
for super profits
with discount offers
up to ninety percent.

GN Saibaba is a professor of English at the University of Delhi.

Keywords: UAPA poetry solitary confinement
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