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Mainstream, VOL LVI No 19 New Delhi April 28, 2018

Ode to B.R. Ambedkar

Saturday 28 April 2018

A question creeping from within:

Babasaheb, what you’ve come to be?

Still a messiah for the downtrodden

or just a symbol appropriated

only for narrow electoral gains?

Your statue being built, demolished,

re-erected, painted, re-painted

in opposing colours, now guarded

within an iron enclosure, sends out

a message scripted in different ink.

This may be the outer manifestation.

But deep churning lies inside

the voice you gave to the oppressed.

It rises above, transcends borders,

resounding everywhere world over.

You instilled among the most vulnerable

a sense of self-respect, a fighting spirit

to take on injustice, a conviction

of being the authors of their own destiny,

yet not to split away, but embrace humanity.

A.K. Das

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