This poem was first mentioned to me by Dr. Anoop Kumar, Professor at NIT Hamirpur, in one of those numerous conversations that we still continue to have. We were discussing the increasing intolerance of the people and how the definition of enemy, when manufactured to suit ulterior interests of a select few, can be dangerous to the society and civilization in general. And how the escapism of the individuals, who when in face of popular evil, chose to stay a silent witness than a lone and unpopular protester. I hunted the poem down. It written by Martin Niemöller who was a supporter of Hitler's anti-communist Nazi stand until he finally became disillusioned with them. Although late, he raised his voice and was deported to Dachau death camp. He survived and repeated this poem in many versions advocating for the victims of the intolerant and the unjust in different parts of world. Below is one of the popular versions-
First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me—
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
And my translation in Hindi-

सबसे पहले उनके निशाने पे थे साम्यवादी,
मैं खामोश रहा-
क्योंकि मैं साम्यवादी नही था;
फिर उनके निशाने पे थे समाजवादी,
मैं तब भी खामोश रहा-
क्योंकि मैं समाजवादी नही था;
फिर उन्होने श्रमिक संघवाद को अपना शिकार बनाया,
मैं कुछ नही बोला-
क्योंकि मैं किसी श्रमिक संघ में नही था;
फिर उनके हत्थे चढ़े यहूदी,
मैने आवाज़ नही उठाई-
क्योंकि मैं यहूदी नही था;
आख़िरकार एक दिन उनके निशाने पर मैं था-
मेरे लिए आवाज़ उठाने के लिए
कोई बचा ही नही था...

[ Right to be Wrong, as the name suggests are a series of short blogs that argues for the universal Human Rights ] - See more at: Right to be wrong
Picture credits : Wikipedia
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