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Mainstream, Vol XLV, No 28

The Speaking Flower

Monday 2 July 2007, by Sagari Chhabra

A flower grew on tropical soil
- its petals waxen white,
- its centre crimson;
- the people knelt
- and smelt her
intoxicating fragrance
- and then felt
- mysteriously—free.

Soon the flower
- was transplanted
- onto yonder shores,
- it blossomed,
- sprouted limbs,
- swaying in the wind,
- it breathed the breeze
- of liberty.

One day,
- the flower returned;
- striking her original soil
- her colours ignited;
- from her petals
- crimson rose enflamed:
- ‘even the searing heat
- cannot erase the blood
- on the street.’

White simply said:
- ‘I am truth;
- how long will they use
- brute force
- to besmirch me?’

The people in
- the tropical garden
- hailed the
- speaking flower,
- but the dour vines
- choked and encompassed it,
- till it was no longer free.
- It plucked the flower
- and placed it
- in a throttled
- bottle-neck vase
- and here the flower remained,
- for eleven years
- seven months
- and
- twenty-seven days.

It did not wilt,
- it did not stint
- its words.

Its green stalk spoke:
- ‘stem the politics of hate
- we will forever commemorate
- the martyrs of
- eight, eight, eighty-eight*.’
- No one could silence
- the speaking flower!

The vines called her ‘foreign’
- certain her luminosity
- would irradiate
- the soil;
- they did everything to foil
- her speech.
- But to the people
- in the tropical garden
- by Inya lake,
- she was simply,
- Aung San Suu Kyi
- —the daughter of democracy.

.......June 19, 2007 Sagari Chhabra....

(celebrating Aung San Suu Kyi’s 62nd birthday while still in captivity)

* uprising of 8.8.’88 when thousands were gunned down by the military.

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