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Mainstream, VOL L, No 20, May 5, 2012

The Toilers

Sunday 13 May 2012

As I look around this dear old earth
I see the vast wave of common mass traversing by diverse ways
the endless track from life to death,
urged on by common human needs
from times immemorial.
It is they that row
and they that sit at the helm.
It is they that sow the seeds
and they that toil at the harvest.
They remain the same through ages
—the toilers.
The spectres snap,
the war-drums beat no more,
columns of victory
stand in stupid silence,
bloodshot eyes and bloodstained hands
hide in history’s pages.
But they toil on
at home and abroad,
by the sea and by the rivers,
here and there and everywhere.
Their million voices mingle in a song,
their grief and joy of everyday
harmonise in a mighty hymn to Life.
Empires have passsed away
and on their ashes and ruins
they ply their daily round
—the toilers.

1941 Rabindranath Tagore

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