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Mainstream, VOL LII, No 41, October 4, 2014

Empire Talks Back

Monday 6 October 2014, by Badri Raina

Go back a thousand years or so,

And you will find a golden bird;

She chirps aloft the Himalayas,

And spreads her wing so wide

That a nation forms from head

To foot, and from side to side,

Drawn with streaks of molten gold

And rivers of golden tide. 

There the radiant Brahmin rehearses

His uncanny yogic stroke,

Connecting by Vedic mantra

The earth with swarg-lok.


Alas, but nothing he could do

Held back the marauders;

They rampaged down each golden

Town, and filled their foreign coffers.

The golden bird was wise to the time,

And took off where things were better;

Thus all the gold left Bharat desh,

And settled among the latter. 


But, yada yada dharmasya,

Comes forth a new avatar;

And the golden bird will sure return—

The day is not too far.

The bugle sounded from Garden

Square reverberates like thunder;

Penurious Indians, spread your sheets

For the golden rain, and wonder

That six decades were sacrificed

In laborious, rational thrall. 

When all one needed was to find

Magic at mere tea stall.