Literary Shelf

Leper and the Leper Home by Narenderpal Singh

Leper and the Leper Home by Narenderpal Singh makes one's hair stands on upon reading and realizing as to what we are and wonder about both the contents of the poem and the poet writing about an awe-inspiring horrible subject. How to feel the feeling is the problem, how to make a critique of it? Should we criticize Seth Kirori Mal or Narenderpal Singh since Kirori Mali is at least doing something while Narenderpal Singh is merely taking to criticism? Who should we criticize?

What is philanthropy? What is the notion? What is the stance of Kirori Mal? The other thing is that Kirori Mal is doing even that what is the poet himself doing? To talk and to do are different things. Those who serve know what it is in service. How hard is it to serve! It is very difficult.

Why is Narenderpal after Kirori Mal? Let him do. Who dare build it? He has at least dared to build the home.

It is a rural joke which we often hear it. Poor people’s poor stories have been improvised here. Together with that, it is a caricature of Sethji’s charity and philanthropy.

It is true that he has taken up  older Sethji mentality and religious notion of karam-daram, papa-punya, swarga-naraka. Can embezzlement charges be washed with charity? How can black money be hidden? But Narenderpal Singh too is not less than in his joke and caricature.

But the tamasha takes a new turn when they come to pick up Ram Lal who refuses to be as for his money made through alms-begging. It is also a fact that some beggars when they die, lakhs of money in terms of coins and rupee-notes they leave it behind as an unclaimed for legacy to be a news in making and taking us by surprise. A beggar he wants to remain a beggar wanting to earn by begging. 

Seth Karori Mal is really a remarkable character which the poet has drawn and however be the criticism of his, it is no doubt a great gesture, a bold step taken indeed.

Seth Kirori Mal
–– Honourable Man of Millions ––
allocated ;
ten millions in charity
for a Leper Home
and the Leprosy Hospital,
Latest scientific appendages ––
of course,
a surer cure.
 
The lepers of the town
were to be picked up
one by one ––
everyone was all praise for Seth Karori Mal ––
the media, the officials
and the politicians too.
What generosity!
What philanthropy!
What sacrificial spirit!
 
They  came to  pick up Ram  Lal too
–– that is, the Jewel of Lord Rama ––
but he refused.
“Oh, no,” he remonstrated
“I make  my  millions begging
and it’s no hard work.
What will  become of us
if you cure me?
You want to starve us,
my wife and child?”

14-Mar-2024

More by :  Bijay Kant Dubey

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