GANDHI (Gandhian Philosophy)

Laksmisree Banerjee

He grew and grew like a huge banyan
With taut roots, a leafy shade
for us to sit under and introspect.

But now he stands at the crossroads
spectacled in stone, all alone  
in dimness of truth and
Iconic distance in the webs of history.

The vendor still fights under the sun 
bent under the load of his wares
  the slum dweller droops in death
the capitalist still swoons in exultant
  vulgarity with his Gandhi-stamped currency
bought from the sweat and blood
of the down-and-outs while
the demagogues shout “non-violence”
to garner votes for everlasting power.

The Mahatma in his statuesque immobility
carved in rocky apathy
at the traffic signal, stares silently
at the quagmire of life.


The tri-colour flutters 
In the immanence of 
His pure white peace,
In his loin-cloth of sacrifice
In the saffron greenery
Of his miraculous sainthood

He lives with countless age 
In the void of truth
Ageless in thoughts
Unyielding in acts
Born to create a nation
From a ravaged race

  Gandhi’s tri-colour flies high
Against our stars and skies
But freedom has acquired a new meaning  
As brothers kill brothers 
And the beggar woman with an empty bowl
And a weeping child unfed in her arms
Sits just below the pedestal
Of Gandhi’s dust-worn statue--- 
  From his piano lessons
  To his waltz classes
From the ignominy of 
  His South-African train journey
To his legal battles
  From his impassioned satyagraha
To his relentless charkha,
  He remained 
In continued exile
  From himself
An enigma testing truth
 An example to the world 
Breathing in ceaseless quest 
  Till his final moments
Offered him in agony
  The much sought-after stasis
The sureness of glory
  The permanence of fatherhood
In the romantic haze, though
  Of our failing memory---

His first-born looked for the father
But never really could find him

His wife remained loving and loyal
But never really could touch him

They strove, they struggled, wept
A suffering family orphaned by
His daunting limitlessness

He remained a sacrificial demigod  
Blind to the narrowness of everyday lives
To the petty joys and sorrows
Of all near and dear ones

He tried hard to build 
A nascent democracy
From the nadir of imperialism
 To light up a new dawn of truth

He fought with his untold weapon
  He faltered, he split, he wept

  He was rent apart, cut open,
Partitioned and killed 
But he ascended while he fell
Invincible through triumph and defeat--- 


 The whirligig of truth blossomed ever
  In his lotus frenzy of boundless love

The baby rays of the sun in
His vision beyond the blue
Gleamed in the shimmer of his glasses

His fathomless eyes moist with life
Caressed the dewdrops on
The green blades of open fields

His resonant prayers
Awakened living fires in 
Tired minds and ragged lives
While cooling riotous souls

His walking stick of resolve
With the sureness of treading
Defeated insurgencies and
Strangled empire
In a chequered life incredible

Till the bewildering crescendo
Of a gunshot penetrated 
Deep into his bleeding heart of humanity--- 


The elevator took me high up
To the Top of Africa building
In Johannesburg where I heaved with pride
In Gandhi’s Satyagraha Museum
A communion with ether and manna

An ineffable joy I always felt in zest
Across times and spaces strewn with
Gandhian gems of thought and action 
In squares, roads, jails, shrines, offices
Men transcending Power for Peace
Expansive iridescence in Gandhi’s aura 

His far reaching embrace of land and sky
Firm onward movement
Fortitude of fragility
Austerity beyond reason
Ideals beyond comprehension
A shining minuscule of wonder 
Born to carve a world of Non-violence

Are we prepared now for the Gandhian Illumination?
Or do we await a Nuclear Armageddon? 

Bio: Prof. Dr. Laksmisree Banerjee is a Multi-Award Winning Global Poet/ Writer, Educationist, Vocalist, Former Vice Chancellor and University Professor of English and Cultural Studies. An International Senior Fulbright and Commonwealth Scholar, widely published and anthologized, a UGC Postdoctoral Research Awardee and felicitated by the Sahitya Akademi, as “a Scholar-Artiste Poet-Musician”, she has served as the Indian President’s Nominee on Boards of Central Universities. She has Ten Books of Poetry and more than a hundred Academic Publications including Books. A Two time Entrant to the Yearbook of Indian English Poetry, Dr. Banerjee believes in the potency of her Pen and Voice to impact Social Change.

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