You can destroy a city of cement-n-bricks
But you can never its ruling spirit;
A city like Paris can never be vanquished
By the guns and mortar, for it has got
A Rabelais and Moliere and Sartre in its bones and dust;
The Paris of 1789 still beckons all the
Intellectuals, activists and the exiled artists,
Lending them hopes for a more humane future;
In its current avatar, our beloved Paris, no longer
That rich, but still welcomes all the dispossessed
Of the battered earth with open arms of a beaming mother!
On its poor streets or sordid neighbourhood filled with
The immigrants and even illegals working corner stalls or selling trinkets, and, daily dreaming of a just world;
You never get questioned here for being different or taunted with drunken slurs
Or viciously assaulted and even brutally murdered by the thugs or police officers;
Along The Seine, you can still find a Voltaire, if alert!
The air in the city blessed by the Muses retains the haunting song
Of “Liberty, equality and fraternity,” despite a passage of time and can be easily heard by hordes of eager tourists and workers;
The Bastille Prison transmits live messages to postmodernist,
Post-colonial and post-industrial France and her entranced devotees and admirers;
An attack on satire never pays off anywhere!
Humour — Immortal!
The freedoms are material ideas that can never be crushed — now or ever by the mad gunmen or dictators.
Paris lives on in the solidarity shown by the people around the democratic world;
Messengers of discord and planters of hatred, lend your ears, clogged with the wax of venom,
Lovely Paris — home for the exiles and the dissidents; painters, musicians and writers — can never be conquered by bullets!
Charlie Hebdo, unafraid!
A new global icon of resistance and fearlessness.


Sunil Sharma

Sunil Sharma

Sunil Sharma is Principal at Bharat College (University of Mumbai) at Badlapur, Mumbai Metropolitan Region, India. He is a bilingual critic, poet, literary interviewer, editor, translator, essayist and fiction writer. His short stories and poems have appeared in journals such as Hudson View (South Africa), The Plebian Rag and Bicycle Review (USA), Creative Saplings, Brown Critique and Kritya (India), the Seva Bharati Journal of English Studies (West Bengal), Labyrinth (Gwalior) and Poets International (Bangalore). Some of his poems and short stories have been anthologized in national and international collections. He is also a freelance journalist and serves on the advisory boards of international literary and online journals.

An author with 18 published books: Six collections of poetry; two of short fiction; one novel; a critical study of the novel, and, eight joint anthologies on prose, poetry and criticism, he is a recipient of the UK-based Destiny Poets’ inaugural Poet of the Year award—2012. His poems were published in the prestigious UN project: Happiness: The Delight-Tree: An Anthology of Contemporary International Poetry, in the year 2015.

Sunil edits the English section of the monthly bilingual journal Setu published from Pittsburgh, USA