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Mainstream, VOL LIX No 30, New Delhi, July 10, 2021

Father Stan Swamy | Sagari Chhabra

Friday 9 July 2021, by Sagari Chhabra

Father, forgive us,
For we know not what we do;
We only know how to
Keep a man of god
Without a sipper and a glass;
Nothing now, leaves us aghast.
As your health ebbed away,
You told them,
‘It is possible I may die soon,
For I can neither bathe
Nor eat on my own’;
But they did disown,
Not only you, but our entire humanity,
By denying you bail,
Keeping you suffering
For two hundred and thirty four days in jail.
Afflicted with Parkinsons coupled with Covid
Your breath slowly ebbed away;
Then they placed you on a ventilator;
At your bail hearing they said,
They will get to it a day later.
It is then that the doctor declared,
Your lordships he did die yesterday;
But it was not just you,
It was our conscience they did slay.
Father, I weep for you,
For your gentle spirit
Your good Christian ways,
The mosaic you brought
Into these hard, concrete days.
In prison you said,
The pain and smiles of the under-trials
Brought you closer to god;
That you were not alone;
Those who worked with the adivasis
Were branded as naxals and told to atone.
They insisted you were a terrorist,
So easy to call god’s pilgrim this name;
O, how will we be able
To overcome our collective shame?
You were tied to a cross
And so were we;
With every nail hammered
The soul of India bled,
But you are not dead;
We love you Father,
Will carry your name to our lips,
Resurrection is but the continuing of the good fight;
O father, lead us kindly into the light.

Sagari Chhabra*

7th July 2021

*(Sagari Chhabra is an award-winning author & film-maker. She is director of the Hamaara Itihaas archives)

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