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Mainstream, VOL LVI No 25 New Delhi June 9, 2018

To a Dalit

Sunday 10 June 2018

Sporting an upturned moustache,
wearing jeans, shades,
riding a horse to the wedding—
and you face a roadblock of hatred.
They say these are privileges
you’re not supposed to enjoy.

You react: ‘the Holy Book’ teaches
all are equal, every one having a right
to live with dignity and honour!
Why, then, is this discrimination,
segregation from the main stream
professed to be egalitarian?

They outreach, soothe your feelings,
flaunting an ameliorating list
of what has been done for your uplift,
narrating still more alluring steps
to stitch the unifying social fabric
in the promised, yet eluding future.

Your deceived eyes flicker again,
when poll days come; trotting, galloping.
But as they recede, banners vanish,
slogans die down, the status quo returns.
A firm resolve rears its head: it’s a fight
to be waged alone for your own identity.

A.K. Das

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