Home > Archives (2006 on) > 2019 > The Socrates

Mainstream, VOL LVII No 34 New Delhi August 10, 2019

The Socrates

Sunday 11 August 2019, by Badri Raina

Dear mentor, these days I think

No end of your time in Athens.

We have the same little men today

Whose little brief authority spins

Self-evident truths into “treacherous” acts,

Letting loose the minions of state

On those whose angst on behalf of justice

Is met with the terrified shrapnel of hate.

I see you smile at the futile task

Of quelling the laser of the mind,

Since across centuries and the Aegean Sea

You notice how inevitably questions their answers find.

When you your assigned hemlock sipped,

Did you have then this certainty

That no tyrant’s falsehood may ever defeat

The posers that hold the key

To the career of the human mind

From the lesser to the greater truth,

Unstoppable by cruelty

And the machinations of the sleuth

Deployed by the day’s strutting don

To beguile ignorance into loyalty,

And label “enemies of the realm”

Those whose minds are unyielding, free?

Ah that the ages wake up late

To the treasures that they first decimate,

Which then become their legacies

Defended with a newer hate.

Dear Master, here is what we learn from you—

That although our questions may not end

In unraveling some final certainty,

Some truth which is transcendent,

Should we not question we would be

Complicit and deserving slaves

To some unconscionable certainty

Peddled by Time’s puissant knaves.

Badri Raina

Notice: The print edition of Mainstream Weekly is now discontinued & only an online edition is appearing. No subscriptions are being accepted