On the Back of a Charkha (Gandhian Philosophy)

Sangita Kalarickal
Collective memory blends into a formless sludge
in a historian's petri dish.
Social history vanishes into mists of reinterpretation
No one is left now to sing the songs of what once was
No one left to remind us of the stakes.
All who gave of themselves have crossed into eternity
And the story of freedom is shoved to the back of the shelf.
Freedom, won not by the swords of kings but on 
the bare, lathi bruised, bony backs of the very uncommon commoner
led mostly by the charisma of a very bald, toothless, frail loin clothed old man.
His call for swadeshi turned the wheel faster
to weave billows of subjugation into a fabric of freedom
Brown unto brown with the courage it takes to Be.
Pain succumbs to sheer strength of stubborn resistance.
Collective memory blends into a formless sludge
Will we forget completely?
What did it take to lead wave over wave of anger in ahimsa?
When a wave was clubbed down, the one behind rose forward 
to bolster the Tiranga.
Never raise a hand in attack yet never let the flag touch dirt.
Never let the flag touch dirt.

Bio: Sangita Kalarickal is a wordsmith with work appearing in several journals and anthologies. The poems in her first chapbook Mamina (Kavya-Adisakrit, 2023), range from free-verse poetry to haikai form. She is currently an associate editor of Drifting Sands Haibun Journal and conducts the podcast Ripples in the Sand. Dr. Kalarickal lives in Minnesota, USA with her husband, kid, her little garden and the fantasy characters she writes about. 

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