Bapu

Mitali Chakravarty
Will he be reborn again?

Nonviolent, tolerant, defiant of norms
that lock people into boxes

Searingly honest

Who said he was great?

He was like you and me —
A student who evaded
difficult courses in university,
who was scared to give speeches.
A timid man was he — looked for easy options.
The only redemption,
his love of truth—

Who said he was great?

A quiet man who silently
sliced, analysed from inside
till peel by peel, he unravelled the mysteries
that life invited. Self-reflected devoid
of the glory that borders weave,
spliced hatred, dirt
till it all changed to tolerance and love.
Weaponised unviolenced silence

Who said he was great?

Lived for his passion — One world
undivided by faith, colour or creed.
Caste he defied when he crossed
the seas. No hatred for skin colours.
Fought with his wife. And yet
tried to give every human their rights.
He was a man — not a divine.

Who said he was great?

He nursed. Loved goats.
His own sons wept for uncare,
for they suffered — no school.
Paupers had none why should his?
Children on pavements starve even today.
Moderns pay to coach to
make their offspring great. They forget,
Each man toils, weaves his own cloth
from cotton trees that stand waving to the skies,
burdened by past lives.

The moving finger writes and, having writ, moves on...

Who said he was great?

He wove, wove dissent
in yarn, in salt,
in unspoken words.
He got his way with a smile.
And yet he was shot!
Shot out of his life —
Hey Ram! Hey Ram!
Shot for daring to dream?

Great! Who said he was great?

Lalon met him wandering in the skies.
He looked down and sighed —

Race, Caste, Religion that kill,
Not exactly the world I willed

Cows I loved but to kill for cows?

When will they end this rage?
This hate, angst and bloodshed?

I cannot even fast for my life is past.

Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram*

ishwar allah tero nām
sab ko sanmati de bhagavān*

----------------------------
*Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram was one of Gandhi’s favourite hymns.
*God is called Ishwar and Allah both. Give this wisdom to everyone.
***

Bio: Mitali Chakravarty is a writer and the founding editor of Borderless Journal. She likes to ride on light beams and waft among clouds in quest of a world filled with ideas mooted by her idol, the eighteenth century poet Lalon. She seeks a world sealed with love, tolerance, kindness and harmony.

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