Justice Katju's parody on Tagore's poem

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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Parody on Tagore's poem

Justice Katju's parody on Tagore's poem
Justice Katju's parody on Tagore's poem
By Justice Markandey Katju

The eminent Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote a famous poem in 1910 'Where the mind is without fear' (Chitto Jetha Bhayshunyo ), published as part of his collection of poems called 'Gitanjali', which is as follows:

''Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high

Where knowledge is free

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments

By narrow domestic walls

Where words come out from the depth of truth

Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way

Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit

Where the mind is led forward by thee

Into ever-widening thought and action

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake ''.

I have written a parody on it, given below. I hope the readers enjoy it :

''Where the mind is always in fear of being arrested on a trumped up sedition charge or under the Unlawful Activites Prevention Act, or losing one's job, or not being able to make two ends meet, and the head is stooped low

Where the politicians of the country of all parties, are shameless gangsters, crooks, looters, deceivers and gundas who have amassed fortunes, and who polarise society and incite caste and communal hatred among the people for getting votes

Where crony capitalists have cornered most of the country's wealth, while the masses live in abject poverty and misery

Where cows are worshipped, but humans treated like animals

Where atrocities are committed on minorities, who live in fear, and are thrashed if they do not say 'Jai Shri Ram', and sometimes lynched on false charges of cow slaughter

Where people raising their voice against oppression, exploitation and corruption are branded as anti nationals, urban naxals, tukde tukde gang, and what not, and promptly locked up.

Where bollywood, cricket, fashion parades etc are given to the poor masses as drugs, instead of food and jobs, the way the Roman Emperors gave circuses to the people.

Where the largely corrupt, sold out and shameless media has become servile, and kowtows, crawls and does shaashtang ( prostration ) before the party in power, and keeps diverting attention of the people from the real socio-economic issues like massive poverty, unemployment, child malnourishment, farmers suicides, lack of proper healthcare, etc to non issues like building the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, or the Gyanvapi 'dispute' in Varanasi, or the Shahi Masjid 'dispute' in Mathura.

Where every virtue has decayed and vanished, and honesty regarded as stupidity

Where wealth has replaced character and conduct, might has become right, and might alone determines dharma and justice.

Where trade and fraudulent practice have become synonymous.

Where the law favours only the rich, and has no regard for justice.

Where he that can curse and swear best is considered the finest orator and scholar.

Where poverty is sufficient cause to establish guilt in the eyes of the law, while wealth and ostentation have become indices of character.

Where he who maintains his family by the foulest means is considered most respectable.

Where dharma is observed only for exhibition.

Where whoever is crooked and daring becomes the political leader, and rules like a greedy lustful bandit, with plunder and rapine of the citizens

Where exhausted by skyrocketing prices, the people subsist on wild vegetation, roots, and leaves

Where people who demand bread are told, like Queen Marie Antoinette telling the French people, to eat cake, or like Minister Foulon ( before the French Revolution ) to eat grass , and every second child is malnourished, stunted and/or wasted.

Where the politicians of all parties seek only power and pelf, and men, driven by despair, poverty and unemployment become thieves, beggars, or suicides.

Where arrogance, hypocrisy, deception, dishonesty, cruelty, delusion, and terror rules everywhere

Where the vilest men become the foremost traders, making cheating and thievery the common practice of the marketplace.

Where the Constitution promulgated in 1950 has been flagrantly flouted, torn to shreds, and has been rendered a scarecrow, hollow and an empty shell, and now only acts as an instrument to deceive the people.

Where 7 Indians own wealth equal to the wealth of the bottom 50% of the 140 crore Indian people, who are abysmally poor, thus making Article 14 of the Constitution ( the provision guaranteeing equality ) a farce

Where a case filed in a court of law today will probably be decided finally ( after appeals/revisions etc ) after 25 years, if not more

Where there is record and rising unemployment, making Article 41 of the Constitution, which says that '' The state shall make effective provision for securing the right to work '' a farce, and makes the statement of our leader that if his party comes to power, he will ensure creation of 2 crore new jobs annually a mere 'jumla'

Where over 4 lac farmers have committed suicide, and the number is still rising

Where air and water pollution levels have reached record heights, and one finds it difficult to breathe safely even in the capital city Delhi

Where seated upon the sacred thrones of great and holy gurus of yore, babas that are masters only of vice expound dharma to the gullible populace, and teachers in colleges and universities teach bookish nonsense, and have casteism and communalism in their heads

Where deprived of food, employment, healthcare, etc, owning none of the bare necessities of life---proper homes, clothes, food and drink, etc. men seem more like bhutas and pishachas.

Into that hell of slavery, Father, let my country awake.''

(Justice Katju is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. These are his personal views.)

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