Who Did It?


[This poem is written in response to the current COVID-19 crisis, and the targeted killings following the introduction of the Citizenship Amendment Act.]

The call of the lapwing sounds at night, “who did it!”

On which detection must we alight, “who did it?”


The whole town was witness to the crime, nonetheless,

the haakim forces the victim: “write—who did it!”


A plague is afoot sifting through humanity,

Who spread it? Where’d it come?—Isn’t it trite: who did it?


Where we go from here may scream to the skies

of the bravery of all those who fight who did it.


Nature’s self-correction, the sins of the fathers,

Did a god will this to set aright who did it?


I am drunk on wine, and they are on power,

Who’ll adjudge who is wrong, who is right, who did it?


The rich live in isolation in large bungalows,

Abdul who built that house must fight who did it.


Deserts of loneliness, and ghettoes and camps,

Who put them there and set them alight, who did it?


Birds still chirp, humour persists, there’s laughter, oh, Maaz,

Do not write poetry from pain to spite who did it.

haakim: ruler, judge, master, chief.

To read the full text Login

Get instant access

New 3 Month Subscription
to Digital Archives at

₹826for India

$50for overseas users

Updated On : 5th Apr, 2020


(-) Hide

EPW looks forward to your comments. Please note that comments are moderated as per our comments policy. They may take some time to appear. A comment, if suitable, may be selected for publication in the Letters pages of EPW.

Having lost a dear friend, the author reflects on the nature of friendship, and its relationship with memory.

As mounting performance pressure on students lays the ground for increasing malpractice, what can academic administrators do differently?

At the root of sexual harassment in the arts is an unquestioning culture of subservience.

Could the lived experiences of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, shared with millions of Americans, be their ticket to the White House?

As the concert stage is left empty, what can music and musicians do differently for the art form?

Amitav Ghosh’s novel goads us to seriously rethink our world, and finds new relevance under current circumstances.

S P Balasubrahmanyam’s influence on the Telugu people extends beyond singing and cinema.

Back to Top