Theme: Abstract

The Sweeper Magistrate

by Bijay Kant Dubey
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I see the coal black sweeper girl just going to be educated,
The first generation to get education,
Behaving in a strange way,
Going strangely,
After purchasing a chair
Sitting like a memsahib
Outside her small house
Shaking the legs
And sitting on chair.

Asking her sisters and brothers to work for her,
Keeping them uneducated
Or their shares cut off,
Trying to be educated herself,
Saying that
Her younger sister is not intelligent,
Trying to get copied poems
Published in school magazines.

The black girl, coal-black girl,
In the darkness whom you will fear
As for taking a ghost,
Just like the darker night,
Coal tar black,
She powders, wears and dresses well
To be called a beauty,
Coal Beauty.

Sitting on chair, she shakes the legs
And tries to read a newspaper,
While bathing in the pond
Or doing a walk,
She gives lips to filmy songs
And thinks herself a heroine,
Even if she is not, though not less than,
The world does not, but she thinks,
You accept it or not,
But the working-class labourer boys accept it.

Orders she the family members to give the things at her call,
Her parents too think highly of her,
She will work as a private tutor
And even from now on she has started doing private tuitions,
Calling the small-small poor boys and girls to teach them,
Taking charges, teaching and punishing accordingly.

I see her and smile away on marking her antics,
How she poses and postures,
With a stick outside her house
Under the tree shade sits she and calls them to teach
And while being late, make them stand on one leg
By the muddy laneway,
Making them hold one ear,
Doing sit ups and downs,
Calling them asses,
Which are rarer now-a-days.

A love master, she goes calling on the mobile phone handset,
Late into the night,
Her friends many and ever changing,
She always smiling and winking,
After the boys,
Without any shame
She can eye the boys and madden them,
A WBCS officer, not an IAS officer,
Not a British memsahib, but an Indian brown one.

The sweeper magistrate I see her
Sitting outside her bungalow,
Sitting and shaking the legs
In her bungalow, not in the magistrate colony,
She ordering
And the sister coming with a glass of water,
The mother with a cup of tea
For the sweeper magistrate.

Without being a magistrate, she shows herself to be,
Had she been, what would it have
And who can ever say that
She will not be as those who have become
And those who have not, become they
But she a scheduled caste girl,
Who can,
Even the gods cannot change the writ of destiny.

But I am sure she may get a job,
But will not be a magistrate
After reading a little
As goes the proverb,
A little learning is a dangerous thing,
And even if she becomes, her husband will tire of
Executing her whimsical orders
And will finally leave her in utter exasperation.


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