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Mainstream, VOL 62 No 10, March 9, 2024

Hey Ram | Sukumaran C.V.

Saturday 9 March 2024, by Sukumaran C.V.

When He was summoned to live in the new abode,
Lord Ram felt being out of place;
He felt He is an odd one out among gods.
The gods in India have age-old homes,
Which provide antique ambience
In which they dwell comfortably.
The new temple into which the Lord
Was summoned to dwell makes Him
Giddy as He is made anachronic.
He feels loneliness in the modern abode,
And talks Himself as follows:
"There was a man who used to chant
Hey Ram; he chanted Hey Ram
Even when he was shot to death.
He was a great devotee of me; yet
To attain his goals he invoked me not.
And he never tried to shrink me
Into idols and temples; hence
I liked him very much.
I am bored to live alone jailed in
This place which was built
Spending crores and crores,
While millions and millions of
People are living in abject poverty.
The fakir who loved me tried to
Eradicate poverty, hatred & conflict.
He neither made me the means
To the echelons of power nor
The half-naked man did seek power.
That is real devotion, I presume.
Often, I feel to run away from this
Expensive abode to the forests,
Where I roamed while in vanvas.
But the forests I roamed
Around in the years of vanvas
With Lakshman my brother,
And Sita my wife are nowhere
To be seen today!
I wonder why not my devotees who
Summoned me to live here take care
To preserve the forests in order not
To make me feel out of place.
Don’t they know that I come from
The pristine environment of
Tretayuga, where nobody used to Destroy forests, rivers & wetlands?
Did they summon me here
To feel painfully nostalgic?
Oh! my ardent devotees, why did
You drag me from Tretayuga,
Where I was comfortable, to
Kaliyuga, where I don’t belong to?
Will you please let me go to
The past where I belong to?
Will you please leave me alone?
Even in Tretayuga, I was not a
Good ruler, as those who created
Me as the protagonist of Ramayana
Compelled me to kill Shambuka
For no crime other than he
Belonged to the lower-caste.
Then how can I be a role-model
In the democratic age where
No caste privilege does exist?
I beg you not to insult democracy
By dragging me from Tretayuga.
I, who killed innocent Shambuka
To please the privileged caste,
Deserve not to be venerated
In a democracy; and hence
Oh, my devotees, I urge you
To be true democrats and
Not to make India a Ram Rajya."
Tears started rolling down the
Cheeks of the Lord, but his ardent
Devotees don’t have the eyes
To see the tears; they only see
His bow and arrow;
They only think about his
War against the demon king;
(Who was actually not a demon).
They chant Hey Ram as if it is
Their war cry; but Lord Ram
Wants to hear no more war cries;
He longs to hear Hey Ram,
As chanted by the Mahatma.

—Sukumaran C.V.

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