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Mainstream, VOL XLIX, No 37, September 3, 2011


Tuesday 6 September 2011, by Khurshid Alam

The sprawling CWG’s stadium unfolded
A large spectrum of corruption running into megabucks
The CWG stadium—
The doom of festivity, the doom of fidelity
2G spectrum stood towering even higher
That echoed clangour of corruption even louder.
Heaps of corruption—
Corruption after corruption.
United people to roar against corruption
All seem to support the campaigns that
some Gandhians initiated.
I too added my voice against.
I was given the responsibility to enlist some corruptions
And thus I began:
At the corner of a village I saw
Flames leaping from a hearth in front of
A dim-lit hut, tilted towards a side
A crumbling roof atop, ready to fall anytime
Some ladies from neighbouring area came
Singing to the hut, to the fire and
Lit their own cow-dung cakes from the hearth
And they saved many a matchstick.
Many people in the country, in the slums of the cities
Wake up early and relieve themselves in the open
With their mouth hanging down, eyes to the earth
Once free they cover their dirt under the soil mysteriously
They create an unhygienic environment and then cry
The government is not doing anything for their health
People rush to the public buses and trains
As soon as they reach to the stops
To loot the seats and bunk tickets
The ticket-checkers wish the larger number of people
Bunk tickets the better. They earn wealth in the run.
Police run after the law breakers—
Some bikes, cars, and vehicles
Have no PUC, no helmets, no license
The police threaten to make challan and thereby
Fix a deal at a less price than the fine.
The bribe has saved many a law breaker.
Players of more age are declared underage
By the cricket team, by college teachers
And they bring a cup for their correct age
The test for age was fixed for a price.
Parents help their wards in copying at exams
To ensure high marks. If yet not met, they
Manage a caste certificate to help them pass
Through high cut-offs in the college selection processes
The parents are happy their children are studying
Philosophy, history, science, engineering, medicine
Who will one day become great philosophers
Historians, scientists, engineers and doctors.
Police have to pay to seek posting at their chosen
Places where they can earn name, fame, and money
They implement laws to ensure security to the people
Soon I found my list was full but the counting yet incomplete
I was tired and began to yawn. Suddenly I planned
I can create fake names and cases of corruption
Who is coming to look whether I did my job
I was lamenting why I took the headache to make the listing
To be tabled the next day. If I was the only fool left
To think for the country.
I took away the glasses from my nose, and folded the list
And crawled into the cosy duvets.
Why should I disturb my sleep
All goes to hell, I said to myself
And switched off the night bulb.

Khurshid Alam

[the composer of the poem is Editor, Contemporary Literary Review: India]

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