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Mainstream, VOL LIX No 50, New Delhi, November 27, 2021

The Food Growers | Badri Raina

Saturday 27 November 2021, by Badri Raina


November 24, 2021

(For P. Sainath)

Remember how once we thumbed their nose,
And dubbed them a “sack of potatoes?”
Well, not any more;
The food growers knock at the republic’s door
When those that should have known better
Have lost the grit and the skill
To unravel the fetter
That so imprisons the conglomerate will
Of the land now sought to be ruled
By an iron hand.

The pulpit looks askance
At their knowledge of things
That it was thought only the think-tank
And the English language brings.
Marvel, marvel at the way in which
They press a giant intellect and food
To serve the deserted common good.

What violent hate and calumny
Was not thrown at them,
Inviting a like crassness of response;
For a whole calendar year now
How we saw these vulgarities
Shamed and deflected by their sentient dance,
Till Big Brother, defeated in every advance,
Bowed to the republic’s body to squirm and say
“I apologise; you have won the day.”

Listen hard to what the food growers said:
“We are the people whose heart and head
Is not Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or other;
We are the father, mother, sister, brother
Who feed your insatiate belly
Upon which you build your billionaire telly.”
To the cowering, covetous satraps their message is clear:
“should you lose your cringing bottom line
You lose but pickings at the toll;
Should you lose democracy
You lose your soul.
This is a time to join us to clean up the slick
Of polluting gumption and greed;
This is time to venture and save the republic.”

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