Sunday, August 05, 2007

Being a Voyeur

Broken walls
Washed by the
Tears in the moat
Are all that remains
Of Tughlaq's dream.

Centuries past
The walls remain
Un-guarding the dream
The moat is full
Of tears, of the Mughal
And others after him
In other places
Who have seen,
Seen tears drown
Many a dream.

I feel like a voyeur
Like others beside me
Peering through
A private window
At Tughlaq's centuries-old
Public disgrace.

Deogiri, Daulatabad
The tear, the disgrace
Voyeurism continues
The walls break away
As tears flood the gates
And again.
And again.

I wrote this in March this year after a visit to the Daulatabad Fort in Aurangabad. Tughlaq was a famous, infamous rather, Mughal ruler who tried to shift the capital of his empire from Delhi to Daulatabad many hundreds of miles away. In the process, several of his subjects died and he was forced to shift back to Delhi. In the process, he gained the wrath of his subjects and the criticism of historians thereafter.
The fort itself is nothing great now, just a mass of ruins that presents nothing much for the tourist except a sense of witnessing a paragraph from history. For me, I had read about the ruler, we had to study this excellent play called Tughlaq by Girish Karnad in college. It was only when we were coming down from the fort that it stuck me that this was the fort I had read about. I just had to write this poem then, while my family was looking at the souvenir shops and drinking tender coconut juice under the scorching heat.