She was always there Waiting darkly in the margins of polity To convince us that governance Must be done with a resolute hand Lest we go indolent.
Determined Prayag Ganga She watered and inundated With rapacious zeal Both through the Emergency and Garibi Hatao A land that asked for nothing.
You may berate her For Operation Blue Star, Left wing reforms, The nuclear Buddha, Or the fabrication of Sonar Bangla,
But she always flashes before the eye In her pale skin and peacock-studded sari, Amma Indira, Priyadarshini, Mothering and giving solace To a tenuous secularism.
She was firm with fundamentalists, Obdurate with Bankim revolutionaries, Unforgiving with post-constitutional anarchies, Ruthless with isms of intellectual cunning, and Unyielding with divisive politics.
But the caliginous night took her away Past outstretched hands, Past eye smudges, Into the crumbling empire Of a graffiti-smudged paradise.