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Cataracts of Compassion (A Collection of Poems) – K. V. Dominic

Preface

Cataracts of Compassion is my sixth collection of poems after Winged Reason (2010), Write Son, Write (2011), Multicultural Symphony (2014), Contemporary Concerns and Beyond (2016), and K V Dominic Essential Readings and Study Guide (2016). This is a collection of thirty four poems composed during the past fifteen months.

I have been trying my maximum to avoid repetition of themes and topics in my poetry. But however hard I attempt, there are some burning issues which resurge or ruminate into my mind again and again and I am compelled to write on them. Poverty, religious exploitations, environmental issues, corruptions in the society, terrorism, cruelty to women, children, old, and animals, gender discriminations, ageism, etc. are those issues which prick me very often to write more and more.

The title Cataracts of Compassion was suggested to me by the renowned philosopher-critic-poet Dr. Ramesh Chandra Mukhopadhyaya. Dr. Ramesh is so intimate to me like an elder brother and he has already explicated my entire poetry philosophically through two critical books published by Modern History Press, Ann Arbor, USA in 2016. Again, the concept of the first poem of this collection, “Enlighten Us Lord Buddha” was instilled into my mind by him. His PhD is in the Buddhist Philosophy. He was also kind enough to write an excellent foreword for this book. I am always grateful and indebted to him for his incessant love and concern to me and my poetry.

Before winding up this preface let me express my deep gratitude to my bosom friend and publisher, Shri Sudarshan Kcherry. He has been so magnanimous and loving to me that more than two dozens of my books have been published from his world renowned publishing house, Authorspress. Unlike any other publisher in the world he is so unique that he is a philosopher, poet, editor and also a motivator and mentor to hundreds of writers in their compositions. He has a major role in my moulding as a poet. Pranaam to his great soul! Wishing all the esteemed readers an enlightening voyage through this book,

Thodupuzha,                                                                                     K. V. Dominic

1 October 2017.

 

 

 

Foreword

 

In 1983 an alarm bell rang stating that the US had sent an intercontinental ballistic missile. The officer in charge Mr. Petrov who had only few seconds to decide, dismissed the warning as a false alarm. Or else the world would have plunged into third nuclear war. And if there were another nuclear war, man should have to again fight with sticks. Very few people know this incident and very few people have heard about Stanislav Petrov, the hero of those few seconds that saved the world from impending destruction. He lived in obscurity and of late he has passed away to the realm of the immortals unknown and unsung. But angels, if any, have recorded his name in the book bound with gold. And may be Dominic espied such an angel noting down his name too.

Yes, Dominic has not composed hymns in praise of God or in praise of love or wine. He has not ventured in hymeneal rapture or triumphal chant. And yet his “Victory for the Fight for Water” is a heroic poem never attempted in prose or rhyme earlier. The Perumatty Grama Panchayat fought against the multinational titan Coca Cola.  And Dominic’s name might be atop the list of poets whom God loves most although the modern reading elite might not know about him in greater details. No, Dominic is not unknown altogether. He is a luminary among the Indian English poets. Perspectives differ. In the light of the present reader he is the most important poet of our time. Besides atmosphere, troposphere, mesosphere, stratosphere, thermosphere, a sphere of love and compassion surrounds our earthly existence where motherly love rules supreme. The motherly love is but a hazy brightness where the light of Buddha and Christ and their tribe mingle. And from the source of that ineffable light of compassion Dominic’s Cataracts of Compassion rains that outshines drops if any from rainbow clouds.

Poetry is the outburst of spontaneous emotions recollected in tranquility. True. But one is apt to question what objects are the fountains of the outburst of emotions. Debapriya is a housemaid of twenty three. Her masters appear as ideal couple. Debapriya spends the whole day in idle dreams asking herself whether she can have an ideal husband as her master is to her lady. Will she ever have a child like theirs? Surely they are only her wishes doomed to wait upon tedious shores of Lethe for ages and eons. Will ever they incarnate as real? The reverie of Charles Lamb on his bachelor armchair has reincarnated in the day dream of the maid Debapriya.

 

The romantic poets were engrossed with metaphysics and abstract idealism. Their souls fell upon the thorns of life and bled. Hence they were more like beautiful and ineffectual angels beating their luminous wings in void. But Dominic is like Buddha who discarded all metaphysics to pay attention to here and now.

This is an age of information revolution. But Dominic’s heart is an Aeolian harp where groans of man wherever it takes place under the sun resonate. Even he informs us that Rosy Dog is waiting for his masters to turn up although they have gone to the nowhere from where no man returns.

Blake seems to echo in the wailing predicament of the innocent children of South Sudan, bleeding black angels of earth. Countries in Africa are starving. But the world produces 17 percent more food than what man requires. Dominic asks whether the developed countries can distribute their surplus among the so called underdeveloped instead of wasting it. What is becoming of a rich family distributing their surplus to the poor is the ideal rule for the protagonists of international politics to pursue. Like Lord Buddha Dominic does not revel in any high strung political thought or economic thought. And yet his homemade economic and political ideas could wipe the tear off the face of the world. He is like our mother who never revels in abstract idealism like men. But the mother knows what ails a particular child. Yes, Dominic has heard the groans of our mother—the Mother Earth or Gaia. Dominic does not only feel for the groaning humanity, he also feels for the tigers and animals and mosquitoes. The tigers and the elephants are being driven away from their habitats. Keats heard the songs of gnats in his “Ode to Autumn.” Dominic hears the laments of the mosquitoes.

Dominic is a communist always fighting on behalf of the down trodden among men. But unlike the communist poets he cannot give a call for class struggle. If he had given such a call his red army would consist of Indian widows, maid servants, dogs, cats, tigers, elephants and so on. Dominic does not believe in discrimination. If a dog is violent why you should kill all the street dogs, asks Dominic in the role of a dog. The dog asks man to kill all the violent and unruly men in the human society first. If he fails in doing that why should he kill every dog that could bite? Buddha in his Jataka Tales tells us how he was born as different animals and other so-called subhuman species like crows, monkeys and snakes. And Buddha often defended his species against the onslaughts of man. A king was supposed to kill a doe. But the doe was childing. And Buddha, a deer then argued with the king that the king might kill the doe. But he must not kill two–the doe and the child in the womb. And surely, just as the birds and animals taught men in Jataka Tales, so Dominic thinks that men should learn from the birds and animals. The birds need no passports and visas to move from one country to another? Why cannot men move at their will? These states are artificial. Their borders are artificial. Why should we not abolish them? Dominic is thus an anarchist and more than a communist.

Dominic has given us the activities of an ideal communist in the portrait of Krishnan wearing a saffron dhoti stretching down to the knees only. Gandhi is his role model. In the outlook of Krishnan and Gandhi there is no room for violence.

Dominic is a powerful narrator.  A child was born in a village. It spread great joy throughout the village just as the birth of Jesus or the birth of Buddha spread joy in the surroundings. The child grew old to become a brilliant scholar of IIT. And he left home to obey God just as Buddha left home. By the by, the Son of Man had no shelter as well. The boy unlike Buddha preferred to serve God and not man. The boy soon was killed in the battlefield. Nietzsche thundered that God is dead. Indeed there is no point in obeying God. Foucault observed that when Nietzsche observed that God is dead, humanism showed up. But whatever is born is destined to die. So Foucault observed that the days of humanism are also numbered. Hence get rid of isms if any, and act in the contingent with compassion. Buddha did not leave home to seek God or obey his decrees. He left home in search of the road to freedom from the groans of the world. He did not have any personal sorrow or hardship during his life in palace. But the sorrows of all things and all beings of the world goaded him to leave his royal home to find a way out for the world from the sphere of sorrow. Similarly the personal grief, unlike those of a few romantic poets, has not goaded Dominic to write poems. In the face of the information revolution Dominic’s person is such an instrument that responds to the wails of men and animals and birds and insects. And Bapooty’s Onam feast to stray animals shows the way to spiritualism in the right sense of the term. Whether heaven is there in the skies needs not bother us. Lord Buddha exhorts that mind goes ahead of everything in the existence–Manopubbangamaa dhammaa. And in the Gospel of Saint Thomas Jesus says: “If those who lead you say to you . . . you are the children of the living Father.”

Thus in fine, all the finest literature, be it the life of Buddha or the gospel of Jesus or the romantic poetry of England or the Upanishads or Shakespeare, the lives of the social activists like Krishnan have worked together to weave the matrix of the cataracts of compassion. To bathe here is to get fresh. With a new zest for life, the readers might be goaded to the path of Bodhisattvas who are hell bent to liberate every particle of existence. Om Tat Sat.

Dr. Ramesh Chandra Mukhopadhayaya

 

6/1, Amritha Lal Nath Lane,

Belur Math Kolkata, Howrah District,

West Bengal, Pin: 711202, Ph: 91+9874051926

Email: ramesh.mukhopadhyaya@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contents

 

  1. Enlighten Us Lord Buddha
  2. A Poetic Tribute to Mahasweta Devi
  3. African Poverty
  4. Angles as Refugees
  5. Bapootty’s Onam Feast to Stray Animals
  6. Circus Rani, Queen of Woes
  7. Dogs’ Curse on Human Beings
  8. Endosulfan Tragedy
  9. Equality in India
  10. From Lamb to Wolf
  11. Housemaid’s Dreams
  12. I am an Indian Young Widow
  13. I can Hear the Groan of Mother Earth
  14. In Search of Impartial Reports
  15. Irrational Discriminations
  16. Jesus’ Views on Heaven
  17. Krishnan, the Ideal Communist
  18. Lessons from Fruit Plants
  19. Medha Patkar and Narmada Bachavo Andolan
  20. Murder of Freedom of Expression
  21. Musings on the Killing of a Tiger
  22. No Balm can Cure Nature’s Wounds
  23. Nostalgia for Childhood
  24. Palam Kalyanasundaram—Role Model for Humanity
  25. Pricking Questions from the Grandson
  26. Rosy Dog is Waiting
  27. Serfdom is Happier than Freedom
  28. Silence! Silence!! Grave Silence!!!
  29. Triplets of Wisdom
  30. Victory of Fight for Water
  31. Wails of Mosquitoes and Elephants
  32. What is Spirituality?
  33. What’s Wrong with Me?
  34. When Religion Plays Upper Hand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Enlighten Us Lord Buddha

 

Part 1

Enlighten us Lord Buddha

radiating rays of wisdom

to our minds groping in darkness

You are the sun among

all stars of seers who

lived on this planet

Lord Buddha, you are

most purified man

born on earth

Lived long back

in 6th century BC

Named you Siddhartha

meaning ‘Wish fulfilled’

A noble prince

becoming greatest

religious teacher

A miracle to others

you practised samadhi

and developed jnana

even in infancy

 

Part 2

 

At the age of sixteen

Gotama married beautiful

cousin Yasodhara

Lived luxurious life

for thirteen years

ignorant of miseries

of life outside palace

Inborn contemplative

nature and boundless

compassion awoke him

Though he knew no

personal grief

felt deep pity for

sufferings of humanity

Then one day

went out to palace park

and witnessed realities

he had already conceived

Sights of a weak old man,

a diseased person, a corpse

and dignified hermit

taught him universal

infirmity of humanity

and means to attain

calm, peace and happiness

Realised worthlessness

of sensual pleasures

Prompted him to renounce world

Decided to leave world

in search of truth and peace

More important role

he has to play than

dutiful husband or father

or king of kings in palace

Great was his compassion

for dear wife and infant son

But greater was his love

for suffering human race

Bade goodbye to beloved

wife and son fast asleep

and rode into dark at midnight

attended by his loyal charioteer

Thus alone and penniless

set out in search of

truth and happiness

A renunciation of world

unique in history

He was not old

fully drunk of worldly life

but youth of twenty nine

vigorous and sensuous

He wasn’t a poor man

nothing to leave behind

but a prince who owned

immense wealth and riches

Having travelled far

shaved off hair and beard

Clad in simple yellow garb

of an ascetic chose a life

of voluntary poverty

 

Part 3

 

Enlighten us Lord Buddha

You have proved through life

divinity of human beings

How ennobled

can human birth be

How can man

feel human suffering

even without

personal experience

None follows your

exemplary model

Not even your disciples

Children who know

very well how they

were loved and reared

desert their parents

when old and weak

Leave them in

old age homes,

hospitals, jungles

buses and trains

Compassion is alien

in families among siblings

Affluent ones are

apathetic to miserable ones

Even ungrateful to

those who brought them up

Servants are treated

worse than animals

Rulers and civil servants

exploit people who feed them

Clergies thrive as parasites

on gullible slavish laity

The rich give deaf ear

to hunger cries of neighbours

and throw away

remnants of their plates

Developed countries

are indifferent to

millions dying of hunger

in other states

Hence enlighten us Lord Buddha

and fill all human minds

with love and compassion

 

Part 4

 

Bare-footed and bare-headed

acsetic Gotama walked on and on

Neither scorching sun

nor piercing cold could

detract him from the search for truth

Shady trees and lonely caves

sheltered him day and night

He tried to seek the truth

from various mystics in vain

Learnt that highest truth

is to be found in oneself

Practised severest austerity

for long six years and his

tender body became a skeleton

Having learnt futility of

self mortification adopted

middle path called Golden Mean

and developed all four dhyanas

He could recollect evolution

and dissolution of various cycles

of all his former lives

As a deer-king he offered

his life to save a pregnant doe

in his previous birth

In another birth as an ascetic

he sacrificed his life

to feed a starving tiger and its

two cubs trapped in snow

In his thirty fifth year ascetic

Gotama became a Buddha

an enlightened one

Thus he was not a born Buddha

but a Buddha moulded by his efforts

 

Part 5

 

Enlighten us Lord Buddha

and save us from abyss of ignorance

You never claimed an incarnation

but taught us that God never

incarnates and controls

the destinies of human beings

You never called yourself a saviour

saving others by your salvation

but taught us to deliver ourselves

Since defilement and purity

depend on oneself none can

directly defile or purify another

There are man-made religions

and man-made gods here

falsely claiming salvation of people

and looting their hard earned income

Instead of unifying people spiritually

religions create divisions and

make the laity biased and narrow minded

Claiming superiority over others

religions blind people and lead

to communal riots and massacres

 

Part 6

 

Enlighten us Lord Buddha

vibrant most missionary in world

For long forty five years you

preached your doctrine to masses

You served humanity both by your

exemplary life and exalted doctrines

“Strive on with diligence”

was your commandment to people

Emancipation is impossible

without personal striving

In place of prayers you exhorted us

to meditate which leads to self control,

purification and enlightenment

Meditation and service

are core of your doctrines

You showed us the middle path

between nihilism and eternalism

That goal of our life can be achieved

in this earthly life itself

You taught us also the eight-fold path

right view, right aspiration, right speech,

right action, right livelihood, right effort,

right mindfulness, and right concentration.

Very few follow your salvation paths

Hence enlighten us Lord Buddha

before we are drowned and doomed

 

Part 7

 

Living a mortal life you could attain

the state of enlightened being

Demonstrated through your life

invincible power of human mind

Taught us truth that man

can gain supreme knowledge and

enlightenment through his own efforts

That he can save himself from ills of life

and realise eternal bliss

without help of external God

or mediating priests

Enlighten us Lord Buddha

and save us from our ignorance

How much we are exploited by clergy

frightening us with God’s role

in attaining our ultimate goal!

 

Part 8

 

You protested against caste system

that prevented progress of mankind

Taught us that gates of deliverance are

open to all who can strive for salvation

You never forced your disciples to be

slaves to you or to your teachings

They had full freedom of thought

You raised status of oppressed women

Tried to abolish slavery and banned

sacrifice of unfortunate animals

 

Part 9

 

Enlighten us Lord Buddha

and make us feel non humans as siblings

You treated animals as sentient beings

who have potential for enlightenment

You reminded us that any animal could

be reborn as human and human as animal

Thus living animals could be our relatives,

mothers, brothers, sisters, fathers,

children, friends in past rebirths

Torturing, killing, eating animals is

like doing that to our children and mother

You have taught us that humans have no

special privilege or position on earth

All beings love their lives like humans

and do not wish to be killed

Since we wish to live we shouldn’t kill any being

Karma of killing is root of all suffering

and cause of all sickness and war

 

Part 10

 

Enlighten us Lord Buddha

Your outlook is broader than

other schools of religious thoughts

Every religion advises us

to love fellow humans

some even teach to love

their own followers more

But you taught us to show

equal care and compassion

to all creatures of this world

destruction of any creature

is disturbance of universal order

Hence enlighten the world Lord Buddha

and fill this planet with peace and happiness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. A Poetic Tribute to Mahasweta Devi

 

Mahasweta Devi literally means Goddess Saraswati

Her mother’s name Dharithri meaning Earth

Yes, Mahasweta Devi who departed us on 28th July 2016

was Saraswati to millions of tribals, dalits and marginalized

who were lifted from doom and  darkness to resurgent light

She was indeed proud daughter of Mother Earth

committed to protect Earth and her inhabitants

from all kinds of exploitations and maternal assaults

Didi, you were the loving compassionate sister as well as

mother of the millions of helpless miserable fellow beings

Even at ninety you were eager to fly to wipe out tears

You could hear the scream of tortured people and

neither health nor distance could stop your incessant flights

Didi, you were the crusader of the downtrodden,

tribals, dalits, women, landless, migrants, prostitutes

You were savior of denotified tribes Lodha and Shabar

You were their mouthpiece—spoke for them, raised funds for them

legally fought for them, and organized them to fight for their rights

Didi, you are role model to all writers in the world

Unlike others writing from mansions full of luxury

and shedding crocodile tears at the plight of the poor

you lived among them, ate from their plates and

braved all dangers supporting their noble survival cause

Gandhi and Mother Teresa influenced you a lot

Practised in your life what you wrote and preached

And your social life and literary life merged into one

Your writings created an Everest in literary world

More than hundred novels and over twenty books

of short fiction all dealing with human sufferings

And your priority was for content than to form

Didi, you wanted to work for ever for your people

And hence told “I don’t want to die. I want to live forever.”

Only your body has departed and your spirit remains immortal

And like the mahuva tree which grows on your grave

the values and messages you have sown in the minds

will germinate and spread all over the world and

bower aching minds from terrible burning issues

 

Note: Didi is a respectful form of address to any older woman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. African Poverty

 

Use of modern science in agriculture

made revolution in production of food

World now produces food materials

suffice to feed entire human race

And seventeen percent surplus than needs

Yet four African nations–South Sudan,

Somalia, Yemen and Nigeria die of poverty

Another fifteen countries face food crisis

Millions of starving people—children, women

old stretch their hands with begging bowls

for remnants of other peoples’ food

Adding oil to their hellish life civil war

and terrorism extinguish their ray of hope

How can the rich and rich countries

waste their excess food

when their wretched siblings

cry for just a meal a day?

When will the rich have prick of conscience

for hoarding poor’s share and wealth

and starving them to die?

 

 

 

  1. Angles as Refugees

 

Innocent children from South Sudan

Bleeding black angels on earth

Destined to die without food and water

Not hundreds or thousands

but millions and millions

Civil war waged for silly reasons

already devoured thousands of innocents

women and children are forced

to leave their houses and country

They throng in hackneyed boats

overloaded and hazardous

Where is there haven or

who would shelter them,

poor little ones have no idea

Sea has saved thousands already

from their poverty and miseries

pulling down as toppled from boats

How heart-rending is their wail from boats:

Merciful God, kindly save us!

What have we done to bear so

bitter in our tender age?

Why should we suffer for

irrational vicious acts of our elders?

Omniscient God, aren’t we also

your good children as birds in the sky?

How happy are the birds!

Need not bother much for food

You provide them what they need

They have no restraints or territory

The whole planet is theirs

Isn’t the same your providence

for humans and other beings?

Why don’t you punish criminals

and save innocents like us?

Should we wait for your justice

after our death and in next birth?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Bapootty’s Onam Feast to Stray Animals*

 

Onam Kerala’s harvest festival

Also reminder of legendary

king Mahabeli’s golden rule

Feasting with numerous curries

makes day delicious and memorable

Bapooty celebrates Onam

feasting with cats and dogs

Pets he picked up from roads

Thirty cats and ten dogs

brought up in a house

Not in his own house for he has none

Supplied by a humane lawyer

As cats and dogs are fond of meat

he adds chicken too to Onam dish

After feeding them he serves

Onam meals to stray dogs

in different parts of the town

Feeding these wretched ones

for past long four years

Taxi driver for thirty two years

Bappoty lives alone wedded

to these abominable animals

Bapooty serves a model

how to deal with  manmade issues

caused by stray dogs and cats

 

*Based on The Mathrubhumi report on 16 September 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Circus Rani, Queen of Woes

 

Circus Rani aged twenty eight

The real queen of Rainbow Circus Company

Born to poor Christian parents

of North-Eastern State of Meghalaya

Abject poverty compelled mother

to sell her to Circus company

at the tender age of only ten

Her father died of AIDS

when she was only eight

Mother too showed positive

Younger siblings three more

Mother left the world fifteen years back

Whereabouts of siblings now unknown

Rani has now none in the world

When she performs flying trapeze

she takes it as her life’s dangling

Her tight rope walking, Aerial hoop acrobatics

Equilibristics and Acrobalance

Wheel of death and Globe of death

give her no joy though spectators are delighted

Long thirteen years spent in tents

Tent is her world and their inmates her fellow beings

Each one has a tragic tale to tell

But who to listen to than one’s own tent mates?

World likes only their smiling face

So too boss of the circus company

Rani’s beauty has been waning

Age can’t be controlled

She knows she will have to say goodbye

when the body can’t be agile and supple

Where will she go and who will take her as bride?

Such burning answerless questions

wound her as she performs each her skill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Dogs’ Curse on Human Beings

 

Curse upon you human beings

You are the most selfish

ungrateful and cruelest

of all creations on this planet

Irrespective of your ruthless

cold-blooded callous nature

we love you and serve you

better than your family inmates

As reward for our service

you dispose our dear puppies

road sides. They run starving

across dashing vehicles

Some are dead while others

live on littered wastes

you throw after use

Cruelty thy name is man!

You have made your pets

stray dogs struggling for life

Your throw out culture

throwing kitchen wastes of

meat and fish on road sides

turned some carnivores who

are violent than the herbivores

Famished, a few become violent

and prey upon pedestrians

And you start massacre

killing all stray dogs labeling

violent or man-eaters

Compared to our violators

multitudinous are your

criminals and murderers

Do you kill them all

as you mercilessly butcher

roads after roads?

Mind you, this world is

not your grandpas’

We too have a right

as all other animals have

to live and share

its sustaining wealth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Endosulfan Tragedy

 

Endosulfan highly controversial agrichemical

Notorious for acute toxicity and bioaccumulation

Highly potential endocrine disruptor

The State-owned Plantation Corporation of Kerala

sprayed thousands of litres of toxin

through helicopters and small planes

in cashew plantations in Cheemeni Estate

Done to contain menace of tea mosquito bugs

Went on spraying in 856 hectors thrice a year

For long twenty three years from 1978 to 2001

Similar to American forces’ spray of ‘Agent Orange’

to smoke out Viet Congs from dense forests

Human beings, flora and fauna of eleven

panchayats of Kasargod District worst affected

Children are still born with cleft palates

neurobehavioral disorders, congenital

malformations and other abnormalities

Around four thousand people died

Health of more than 9000 persons impaired

 

More than eighty countries including India

banned this venomous chemical

Still victims of Kasargod denied justice

What harm have they done to bear this torture?

Government couldn’t give sufficient compensations

Failed to recover from inhumane

profit motive pesticide companies

Victims’ plea for multispecialty hospital

still remains unheard by government

A government of the people, by the people

and for the people proved against the people!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Equality in India

 

Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

Watchwords of Democracy

India my country

Largest democracy in the world!

 

Seventy percent of Indians live in villages

Seventy five percent of rural India

lives on thirty three rupees per day

India’s richest one percent holds

fifty eight percent of country’s total wealth

Fifty seven billionaires in India

keep equal wealth of the entire villagers

Wherein lies the so called equality?

Yet India is largest democracy in the world!

 

Eight percent of Indians live in slums

numbering double the population of Britain

More than three million people are homeless in Delhi

Thirty seven percent of Indians

has only one-room household as shelter

Only five percent of Indians owns four wheeler vehicles

When less than three percent Indians pay income tax

where is there equality of wealth and distribution?

Yet India is largest democracy in the world!

  1. From Lamb to Wolf

 

How happy and jolly was the house when he was born!

Waves of merriment flowed to roofs and echoed

Birds and animals welcomed him

with hilarious twitters, bleats and moos

Stars and planets showered him all blessings

He was as charming as the rising sun

His first birthday was festivity for the entire village

Just as a lamb he played with domestic animals

Eyeing him was an experience of bliss

He was extra smart and intelligent at school and college

He was darling of all—Hindus, Muslims, Christians,

low caste, high caste, rich and poor

Was a wonder to teachers who foresaw him as scientist

Won M Tech with first rank from IIT

Offers of high pay jobs came from different firms

Alas,  immersing all in seas of tears

he absconded one night with little trace to follow

Phoned his mother a week after, announcing that

he prefers to serve God than human beings

And he would never come back home

Learnt that he was enchanted by terrorists

Two months later came the saddest news

He was bombed and killed at the battlefield

His house became hell of wails and mourns

Birds and animals made doleful cries

 

Isn’t service to man service to God?

Isn’t service to animals and plants service unto Him?

Doesn’t God the Father love all His children—

humans, non humans, plants and

universe with discrimination to none?

How can God, epitome of love, be pleased

by violence and bloodshed in His name?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Housemaid’s Dreams

 

Debopriya housemaid of twenty five

Babysitter of a cute baby in Kerala

Poverty drove her from native State Bengal

Her meagre salary sustains her sick parents

Her masters, husband and wife bank employees

Gentle, loving, compassionate

They leave pretty Vishnu to her at 8 am

and return exhausted at seven in evening

Debopriya spends all day in dreams

Her masters appear as ideal couple

Debopriya daily asks her inner self:

Will I get a good husband like him?

Will I have a married life at all?

Will I bear a cute son as Vishnu?

Can I have a good house as this?

She knows her present life is a dream

She can only dream of happiness

and luxuries dancing around her

She knows very well her future lot

Poor people are destined to dream and dream

while rich fulfill what they dream and desire

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. I am an Indian Young Widow

 

I am an Indian widow

Cruel destiny made me so

at my prime age of twenty nine

With neither notice

nor any prior hint

he left me and our little ones

Not even bidding goodbye

plunged to eternal sleep

with little noise in early morning

I can’t even bear thinking

of those heartbreaking moments

I still wonder how I could survive

Why didn’t my heart stop as his?

Had I not swooned I am sure

I would have gone with him

 

How happy was our married life!

Truly made for each other

Like a pigeon couple

lived for only six years

Almighty gave us two cherubs

aged five and three

With scanty earnings of his and mine

struggled hard to run our family

How costly is one’s life in Mumbai!

Rent of ten thousand rupees

for our hut-like apartment

Six thousand rupees for maid’s service

We both were rowing hard

since sea was always stormy

Still we could view our terminus then

Alas I have to row all alone now

And sea has become more violent

No glimpse of any terminus now

With none to help from both our families

how will I survive with my little ones?

I who opposed practice of suttee

can now find sense behind its concept

Hellish is the life of an Indian widow

Tragic and nightmarish if she is young

Patriarchy doesn’t allow her to survive

Eagles fly over her wherever she goes

When she craves for love and sympathy

society rends her bleeding heart

shooting arrows of repulsive words

Curses hurl on her from in-law’s house

Burden for her parents and brothers

Looking at her husband’s photo

whines often for deserting them

Pleads him to take with him

In fact she rows not for saving her life

but to save her children from being drowned

  1. I can Hear the Groan of Mother Earth

 

I can hear the groan of mother earth

being raped by her own beloved human sons

Having sucked all milk from her mountain breasts

quarry deep out of construction mania

 

I can hear her shriek for help

when they cut each her vein

and drain all brooks and rivers

 

Can’t you hear your mother’s wail

when they pluck her hair after hair

felling trees and plants which protect them?

 

I can hear the scream of elephants, tigers,

Boars, snakes and all wild animals

when they drive them from their homes

and starve to death by burning forests

 

I can hear the death cry of bird after bird

when they cut their feeding trees

to make their selfish life more luxurious

 

Man, can’t you hear those tremors of curses

hurled on you by endangered animals, birds and plants?

Man, I can hear mother earth cursing you

As Gandhari did long back to Lord Krishna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. In Search of Impartial Reports

 

Impartial reports only delusion

Searching in vain

channels after channels

papers after papers

Degenerated fourth estate

slaves to political mafia

religious mafia or corporates

Journalists ignore their pledges

and deviate from ethics

Instead of calling a spade a spade

they make a goat a dog

a saint a sinner or sinner a saint

As immorality prevails every field

fair is foul and foul is fair.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Irrational Discriminations

 

I can’t live with low caste Sudras, Brahmin says

No matter bedding with her furtively

How can I a class one officer mingle with a last grade?

No shame in seeking bribes through his smart deal

Clergy takes laity as just animals

and loots his money in the name of God

Whites take their colour as God’s

and treat Blacks as subhuman savages

“Fools, have you lost your common sense?”

A sound from above echoes the world

“How can you human beings differentiate in one species?

You are just one of my millions of species

You find no differences in other species

How can you distinguish a sheep among herds of sheep?

Same is case with a crow among hundreds of crows

How then can you discriminate each and every one?

Aren’t your bodies same once skin is removed?

Isn’t same red coloured blood passing through

Whites, Blacks, Brahmins and Shudras?

Aren’t your organs and functions same in all human beings?

You boast of your face and lips’ beauties

Who boasts of beauty of other end exit hole?

Luxurious feast Rich takes and mean food Poor eats

passes as dirty shits through your inglorious exit hole

When you need urgent blood for your ailing body

your irrational discrimination disappears

Kindly learn basics of your universe

Variety and multicultural unity

beauty of your sustaining universe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Jesus’ Views on Heaven

 

Jesus says in Gospel of Thomas:

“If those who lead you say to you:

‘Look, the kingdom is in the sky!’

then the birds of the sky will precede you.
If they say to you: ‘It is in the sea,’

then the fishes will precede you.
Rather, the kingdom is inside of you and outside of you.
When you come to know yourselves,

then you will be known, and you will realize

that you are the children of the living Father.”

 

How far the Christian leaders are

from their leader Jesus Christ!

Jesus ascertains that heaven is neither

above nor below but in our minds

and the physical world around us

We ought to find God in our minds

and in our neighbourhoods–

in humans, non humans, plants and nature

This realization makes us enlightened

like the Buddha in the sixth century BC

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Krishnan, the Ideal Communist*

 

Krishnan aged fifty six

Grandson of great comrades

Pallath Krishnan and Arya Pallath

who fought against casteism

and untouchability among Brahmins

When communists were hunted

by police, Pallath house

became haven for AKG, EMS

Nayanar and many other leaders

During post graduation course came

Krishnan’s turning point in life

Canara bank adopted villages

for social welfare schemes

Krishnan was given charge

of such a project in a village

Got its training in Bangalore

After training he started

Social Association for Development

with the help of his friends

Used his bank salary for its function

Started Abhayam Charitable Society

on his ancestral property of three acres

and one acre donated by his friend

It has now spread to thirty acres

protecting more than hundred lives

old and deserted,  mentally deranged

handicapped and sick people

Krishnan took voluntary

retirement at the age of forty one

Used pension benefits of eight lakh rupees

for Abhayam’s management

Gandhi is his role model

whom he calls Indian Marxist

Leads very simple life

He has never worn pants

Wears a saffron coloured dhoti

that  reaches up to knee

And a half sleeve shirt

Thick gray hair and beard

resembling his icon Marx

One can never say

he is manager of Abhayam

Being brought up as communist

beyond all religious chains

Married Kumari of another caste

Son’s name Appu Basheer Cherian

Daughter’s name Ammu Arya Rubiya

Blend of Hindu-Muslim-Christian

Gandhi’s self dependency

Motto and mission of Abhayam

Cultivate unpolluted food

for inmates in their land

Even sells rice outside

Each one does one work or other

Mats, candles, incense sticks

Abhayam was honoured with

Genome Savior National Award

Krishnan tells the world:

Satvik karma has a happiness

and it is the best happiness

*Based on The Mathrubhumi report of 18 September 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Lessons from Fruit Plants

         

Nature is the best teacher

Modest and humble man

learns eternal truths from it

Plants and trees exhilarated

when flowers are born

Beautiful colours and

sweet smelling petals

make plants most pretty

and attract variety of flies

and even human beings

But after a few days

with no reluctance but joy

they shed these beauties

to give birth to fruits:

the ultimate fulfilment

of their simple lives

Same is the case of human life

a voyage to its terminus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Medha Patkar and Narmada Bachavo Andolan

 

Medha Patkar, contemporary India’s

greatest and venerable social activist

Fighting for more than three decades

for the economic, political rights of tribals,

dalits, farmers, labourers and women

Founder member of people’s movement

Narmada Bachavo Andolan (NBA)

Fights against Sardar Sarovar Dam Projects

spread over Madhya PradeshMaharashtra and Gujarat

immersing forty thousand poor families in water

The Narmada Tribunal in 1979 gave permission for

30 major, 135 medium, and 3000 small dams

and also to raise the height of Sardar Sarovar dam

to provide water and electricity for forty million people

Promise for rehabilitation of affected families

wasn’t fulfilled and construction of dams started

Water rose up in Sardar Sarovar dam frequently

drowning houses of poor with none to question

Dropping her PhD work, Patkar led protest marches,

hunger strikes and satyagrahas in dam’s rising water

Her fast for twenty two days forced World Bank

to study the issues and found clear violations

World Bank cancelled its financial participation

But still State governments pressed for projects

and World Bank aids flow to them with conditions

Work Bank and governments argue benefits outweigh

immediate loss to human beings and environment

Whereas NBA pleads for just and sustainable development

Fights against undemocratic planning

and unjust distribution of benefits

Medha Patkar flies to every nook and corner of India

where peoples’ fundamental rights are violated

and governments deny citizens’ basic needs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Murder of Freedom of Expression

 

Article 19 of Indian Constitution

guarantees freedom of speech and expression

One has right to express one’s opinion

freely without any fear through

oral / written / electronic / broadcasting / press

But recently we read shocking news

of writers and journalists shot dead

by extremist fanatic militant groups

They didn’t even spare a woman

Gauri Lankesh, journalist aged 55

shot down yesterday while

entering into her house at Bangalore*

Renowned writers and activists

Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare,

  1. M. Kalburgi were dispatched

similarly in 2013, 15 and 16

They were all silenced for speaking

against superstition and communalism

Years have gone but culprits aren’t punished

Isn’t duty of writers and journalists

pointing out evil practices in society?

Isn’t it needed for victory of democracy?

How can democracy survive

when intolerance charges like monster?

Isn’t duty of democratic governments

to protect the lives of their guardian angels?

*The tragic incident occurred on 5 September 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Musings on the Killing of a Tiger

 

Why was the tiger so brutally killed?

Famished in forest what else could it do?

Has it any division like forest or village?

Hasn’t it right to live as human beings have?

What right has human beings to destroy its habitat?

Isn’t it divine instinct that ran him to village?

Being a carnivore it sought its prey

and killed a few cattle for just its survival

How devilishly man netted and stoned it to death?

 

Pricking news of such cruelty to wild animals

ignite my mind  sometimes to extreme thoughts:

Why not go to forest and serve as meal to wild animals

as the Buddha did in one of his previous births?

Such sublime thoughts come like flashes

but selfish mind drives them the moment they enter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. No Balm can Cure Nature’s Wounds

 

Monsoon season God’s manna

Drenched in incessant rain

stroked by gentle breeze

plants and trees dance in ecstasy

Flight of various birds tweet in joy

Butterflies, dragonflies soar in glee

 

Where has gone that monsoon now?

Days of continuous rains are

driven away by hot summer days

Millennium old regular monsoon

that never betrayed farmers’ dreams

force them for suicides day after day

Greedy money minded mafias–

land, forest, sand, quarry

supported by government officials

topple age-old climatic seasons

Natural dense forests are swept away

to create concrete buildings and townships

How can there be any repair?

No balm can cure Nature’s wounds

 

 

 

 

  1. Nostalgia for Childhood

 

I long to go backward to my childhood

Run hither and thither on the vast

grassy playground of Nature

I could toddle with hen and chicks

and babble to them in their own language

I could play football with dogs and puppies

and eat and sleep with cats and kittens

I could give handful of grass to cows and calves

and stroke them when they smile at me

Birds of various types cheered me with

melodious tweets and I greeted them

with similar tweets that delighted them

Hundreds of butterflies and dragonflies

flew over my head inviting me to fly with them

And how I chased them in joy longing to catch them!

How much I bathed in joy both in rain and sunlight!

Alas! Gone are those golden days of my life

Only innocent childhood savours Nature’s happiness

Children find all beings their equals and companions

They feel excited when drenched and sweated

Compared to my childhood happiness

my children could enjoy only ten percent

and my grandson is denied total happiness

His enjoyment is chained to TV and toys

 

Haven’t we made extinct innumerable

species of birds, butterflies and dragonflies?

How many houses rear cattle, dogs, cats and fowls?

Instead we grow mosquitoes who hunt us everywhere

Haven’t we destroyed nature and environment

and made uncongenial for our children to survive?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Palam Kalyanasundaram—Role Model for Humanity

 

Man of the Millennium Palam Kalyanasundaram

75 year old social worker from Tamil Nadu, India

Twinkles like a unique star among entire human race

Not even in a millennium human race gives birth to such a gem

Government of India honoured him as county’s best librarian

One of the top ten librarians in the world

UNO lauded him one of the outstanding people of 20th Century

Lives as bachelor for the service of poor

Donated his entire salary of 35 years for welfare of poor

Sold his ancestral property and donated its money to the needy

Donated pension amount of ten lakhs rupees to poor

Worked as a server in hotel and laundry to meet his own needs

After retirement established charitable society named ‘Palam’

Palam helps children in education, organizes medical camps

Rehabilitation for unemployed, elderly, sick and handicapped

He had slept on pavements and railway platforms

as to experience life of the poor and houseless

Man of the Millennium award of 30 crore rupees

he received from America donated to poor and needy

He shoots a pricking question to everyone’s mind:

“What do we take with us when we leave planet earth?”

 

 

 

 

  1. Pricking Questions from the Grandson

 

My little grandson toddling

on front yard of my house

seems to prick me with

questions one after another

Grandpa, what have you left

for me or my siblings to be born?

Polluted is air I breathe

and toxic is food you serve me

Your parents bequeathed you

pure sky and virgin soil

They weren’t selfish

and were thoughtful

of their descendants

How can I survive here?

Too hot is the sun

Electricity fails very often

Swarm of mosquitoes

disturb my quiet slumber

Instead how happy

was your childhood!

If temperature thus

soars year after year

how much more I have to

bear till I reach my youth

middle age and old age?

I have only begun my voyage

And miles to go to reach

my unknown terminus

I even doubt how long

I can row my boat

against huge tsunamis

rushing to gulp me

How fortunate you are

as your parents were!

Unlike your humane parents

your generation proved inhuman

and mercilessly exploited

the bounties of this planet

and drank to the lees

not leaving anything

for our generation’s survival.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Rosy Dog is Waiting*

 

 

Black beauty Rosy Dog is waiting

Waiting for her masters Pappachan and Thankamma

Poor grateful pet can’t know

her masters have left her forever

Landslide caused by heavy downpour

at chilly night of fourth August

wiped out house and its dwellers

Son and daughter survived death

Seriously injured admitted in ICU

Rosy had been away

when doom descended

Hearing crowd’s panic cry she returned

She is still waiting there

even after twelve days

Wearied she lies on her master’s broken cot

Heavy rain or chilly wind

never detracts her

Goes on crying throughout night

She can’t eat food

served by kind neighbours

Only eats a little once in three days

Benevolent neighbours pray for her survival

till her master’s son is discharged from hospital

 

Rosy’s love to her masters

a role model to all sons and daughters

How ungrateful are present offsprings!

Parents become burden when they are old!

Long and pray for their earliest death

or discard them to streets or old age homes!

 

* Based on the report of the Malayalam daily Malayala Manorama 18 Aug. 2013. The tragedy occurred in the village of Kunchithanni in Kerala, India.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Serfdom is Happier than Freedom

 

If knowledge is cause of sorrow

freedom of thought leads one to sadness

and hence sefdom is happier than freedom

It’s better to live in ignorance like slaves

than live a hellish life of feebly witnessing

others’ sorrows, tortures, evils, corruptions

and injustices dancing around us

and unable to respond or react

shutting our eyes and ears to realties

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Silence! Silence!! Grave Silence!!!

 

Mansion like house

Doors and windows closed

Past midnight, still lights inside

Sleep fears to enter

Three generations reside

Grandpa reads Bible

Grandma reads Bhagavatam

Grandchildren aged eight and twelve

write never ending homework

Their dad is drowned in Facebook

Mom buried in WhatsApp

No sound from anywhere

Seems like haunted house

Silence, silence, grave silence!

None speaks to none

No common prayers

No common dining

No sharing of ideas

If anyone breaks silence

Comes rebuke at once

“Don’t disturb me”

Goes to bed on one’s own time

What happens in one house

never known to neighbours

both comedy and tragedy

Isn’t it part of evolution

from social being to antisocial?

  1. Triplets of Wisdom

 

God will not be pleased

By applause and noisy prayers

But by nishkam karma

 

Moon whispers to earth:

Beware of human children

Plotting to shoot you

 

Passion gives birth to creation

Reason creates joys and sorrows

And sorrows give birth to art

 

Baby runs out in ecstasy

Sees rain calling

Front door blocks its exit

 

Baby starts crying

Wants to dance with rain

Mama pulls it back

 

Pet dog barks to me

Pleads to unchain him

And play with him for a while

 

Crows goes on cawing:

Serve us remnants of

your plates and pots

 

Pussy cat goes on crying

Her only kitten found missing

Killed by neighbour’s dish

 

Mourning Moon to man:

How could you shoot down

Your mother Earth!

 

Starlit night

Flower studded Gulmohar

Kisses its counterpart

 

Man, why so sad?

Look at the sun

Smiling at you

 

When grief enters

Talk to a tree

You will be solaced

 

Anger will disappear

When you stroke

Your pet dog or cat

 

When you feel lonely

Go to your garden

And speak to flowers

 

Waves of worries

Can be conquered

By waves of seas

 

Depression finds

Its suppression

At starlit sky

 

Why do you seek God

When a child

Stands before you?

 

Drench in rain

And extinguish

Fire in your mind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Victory of Fight for Water

 

Multinational giant Coca Cola Company

allures entire world and sinks in pernicious

cauldron of caffeine, sugar and aspartame

Bu had to surrender to strong resistance

displayed by determined tribal villagers

of Plachimada in Kerala, India

 

With an eagle’s eyes of pecking profit

Company built a plant in forty acres in 2000

Sank six bore wells and drew more than

five lakh litres of water every day

From 3.8 litre life sustaining water

produced one litre cola and thus dumped

tons of toxic sludge on fields and banks of canals

Company beguiled illiterate innocent people

heralding it as offer of free fertilizer

It not only emitted stinking smell but

made old and children sick

Got rashes and infections on contact

Dried crops when used as manure

Company looted villagers’ precious water

breaching their fundamental rights

Eighty five trucks of cola rolled out every day

and made profit of billions of rupees

Thirty six trucks of sludge supplied to people

as reward for their innocent sacrifice!

Company’s bore wells went down to 750 to 1000 feet

resulting disappearance of water

from villagers’ wells of 150 to 200 feet

Toxic matters rose up when soil dried out

Women in the village are forced to

walk four kilometres round trip

to bring drinkable water in big vessels

Paddy fields turned waste lands

 

Necessity for survival urged victims

to fight against the giant

Under dynamic leader Mayilamma

the villagers clamoured for

closure of man killing plant

Perumatty Grama Panchayat

refused renewal of plant’s licence

Series of legal fights continued

High Court, Supreme Court,

State government interfered

Panchayat President Krishnan

was offered crores by Company

But he wasn’t mean to betray his people

Finally courts and government

stood for rights of the villagers

Company stopped its production in 2004

and relinquished its licence in 2017

after marathon legal fights with Panchayat

The villagers’ victory reminds

the triumph of David over Goliath

 

The villagers’ problems still continue

Groundwater remains polluted

They get drinking water through pipes and trucks

supplied only a few hours once in two days

Their legal fight still goes on

demanding compensation for damage

caused to health and environment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Wails of Mosquitoes and Elephants

 

Why do you curse us

and try to kill?

Mosquitoes seem to ask

The Creator has sent

to live on your blood

And you have created

premises conducive

for our breeding

 

Why do you drive us back

to forest? Elephants wail

How can we survive

without food and water?

Pastures and thickets are burnt

Neither is there any water

Our habitats are destroyed

Roads are made through them

Vehicles hit us and kill

Their horns pierce our ears

Hunger’s call lead us to your farms

that were once our pastures

 

 

 

 

  1. What is Spirituality?

 

What is spirituality?

Worshipping God

in abstract terms

and spending time

in temples, mosques

churches, synagogues

gurudwaras etc. or

doing real services

through words and actions

to your fellow beings

including non human

and plant world?

Methinks God likes

the latter and

loathes former

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. What’s Wrong with Me?

 

What’s wrong with me?

Can’t take my dinner

unless my dog and cats

start dining their share

Spouse Ann repeats everyday:

they shall be served

after we finish our meals

But I can’t eat when

their stomachs are empty

Is it fault treating animals

on a par with humans?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. When Religion Plays Upper Hand

 

Mother Earth rejoices when

she gives birth to a new child

be it a plant, animal or human

A newborn child is a joy forever

for parents, relatives and humanity

All wish it grow gentle and loving

Family, society and nation

expect its service when it matures

Early education by schools and religions

moulds its basic character and nature

It’s a pity when religion plays

upper hand on children and youth

secularism and patriotism is

devoured by religious fanaticism

Instead of finding God in all humans

and all His creations

some discern  God only in the people

who belong to their community

How irrationally they hunt others

as their enemies and butcher them

to please their God who is infinite love