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Mainstream, Vol XLVII, No 26, June 13, 2009

Binayak: A Tribute

Saturday 13 June 2009, by Badri Raina

After two needless years in the slammer,

you came out smiling, with a steady eye.

You seemed not resentful, but calmer—

frail in body, but in spirit high.

The deadly inert of your calling

so unshakeable in its cool,

so wholly a stranger to self and fear,

that governments may tear their regimented hair,

they seem evermore the fool.

Around so perfect faith as yours,

systems can only be falling.

You are no sprinter over the short span,

but the horse for the long haul—

not rippling in the flanks,

but fed by an inexhaustible soul.

You would truly never hurt a fly,

but neither would you stand by

when the wicked ones try.

However sour their lives,

you know that the least are more dour

in the worst of their trials

than guns, money, or politic knives.

It is not the fickle favour of the fashionable

mighty that does you bless,

but the relentless right of ordinariness.

Niyogi watches and pronounces “yes.”

May 27, 2009 Badri Raina

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