Theme: India


Across the river
Along my way
Between home and school
There was an orphanage

Children used to frolic
There in sheer abandon
Of their parentless misfortune

Some among them were blind
Others deaf
Some handicapped
Yet they were happy
As though on a merry-go-round
Filled to the brim with joy

The warden then had said
With moist eyes
Look boy, this is a temple
Bapu once sat
Right under that mango tree
Looking at the children play
With a toothless smile
This is no orphanage
The kids have the nation’s parentage

More than fifty years thence
I crossed the same river
Now totally desecrated
In every sense
It no more had
The sugary sand beds
Of the past
To boast about

She lay weeping
In rationed tears
Bunded at every place
By greedy farmers
Abandoned by the rains
Sacrileged by stinking drains

The orphanage had gone
And there was a bar
Of four or five stars
With glittering lights
Right at its place

I asked a passerby
What happened
To the nest of the past
That sheltered
The wingless birds

He sneered
Well, look, that place
Belongs to our leader
A socialist to the hilt
A philanthropist right to core
Whose father
Was a freedom fighter

Yonder across the street
He built that magnificent temple
For Mother Durga
Where we prostrate
Morning and evening
Blessed is he
Would have built the shrine
Right here close to the bar
Hadn’t stupid laws of the land
Wanted a distance
Between prayer and bar

He is great
Of secular mind
Employs several hands
Of every faith
The CM of the State
Dines at his house
When in town
Don’t waste your time
Over the ones
That vanished
With an orphanage

I looked around in vain
No care center was found
On the ancient land of mine
That instilled in the mind
A sense of national parentage

If there were any
By the name
They were labeled
By faith and creed
Where no Indians frolicked
No mango-tree to sight
With a Bapu under it

And as I looked around
I saw only orphans abound
Orphaned of parentage
Orphaned of virtues
Orphaned of values
And orphaned at last of God
By whom all of them swore

Orphaned of love for their land
Orphaned of their motherland
Though they all swore
By Durga divine
Loudly by the Virgin
Or by some other saint
Utterly fossilized
In sectarian concrete

Oh, how much I wish
Bapu was there
And sat in the shade
Of a spreading tree
Smiling his toothless smile
At this teeming orphanage
That shames a nation’s name

Then comes a passerby
Who says he saw
The statue of Bapu weep
At the city square
In the wee hours

An orphan rejoined
No, that was no tears
But the setting moon
Shining on morning dew
Upon granite stone

He was a rationalist
Votary of progress
That is make-believe
Who swore by science
And reasoning
But forsook his heart
To languish in
A self-made orphanage
And missed the spirit
That made nations click


More By  :  Madathil Rajendran Nair

Views: 1374     Comments: 6

Comments on this Poem

Comment Very good poem Nair. I imagine the change. You know the world has changed and man's greed for money, material, power also increased. No one bother for others. Every one looks up for himself. That's the present way of life. May be it will change according to time.
Best of luck - cheers

06-Feb-2013 03:12 AM

Comment An Orphan can be the most independent person - Free of many things - it depends on how you see it.

Mr. Nair, I need something really positive, light, funny, enthusiastic, full of life from you. Please make your next poem in that line. EAGERLY waiting for that.


28-Jan-2013 15:27 PM

Comment Good poem
I share your pain the fact is all of us are orphans.
Nothing is static.

Gopi Menon
27-Jan-2013 00:00 AM

Comment it sounds from the heart.
nair sir keep it up
much more expecting

26-Jan-2013 22:57 PM

Comment Dear brother,

This is a nice poem and it was very much worth my time reading and enjoying the same. I see the pain that you are feeling as a helpless Indian, in your lines. There are millions of such helpless people in India like you. Let's hope that someday, things will be different in the right direction.

Hope for the best.

Best regards,

Vijayan (Jyothi's friend in Austin)

Vijayakumaran Nair
26-Jan-2013 05:02 AM


Rian John
26-Jan-2013 01:46 AM

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