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 Poems
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MAHATMA GANDHI
KRISHAN KHULLAR
 

KRISHAN KHULLAR

MAHATMA GANDHI

Humanity incarnate,
Honest, ideal-the man,
Mahatma Gandhi;
I offer obeissances in bloom :
In the tremulous notes of this poem
Beats the heart of masses.

It seems but yesterday
When a beauty possessed my heart,
A portrait swam before my eyes-
That was the protrait of Mother India !
Cares dishevelled on shoulders
Manacles on cuffs !
Fetters on legs;

At that moment
Indian masses mocked
Made faces at you
And said :
Mahatma,
Renounce on the banks of Yamuna or Ganga
Like Tulsi, Nanak or Kabir;
Mounts of explosives confront us
War-planes zoom in the sky

Arms fire bullets all around
Sounding cannons
Each step of whites is a snare
Everyone in India is besieged
Like Abhimanyu.
A smal ! bit of bamboo,
A sheet, an underwear
Of no avail.

Independence is never taken
Nor begged
Independence is seized.
Frustrated eagle of non-violence
Will run into the British plane
And be lifeless.
Its feathers will scatter and hover
Like acacia in the sky.
All what you advise and preach
Is a cry in empty vault.

But you proved firm
Hummed your own
Played music before herds
Like a Jeweller
You continued testing
Gold of truth
On the touchstone of black destiny of India.

Indian masses stood before you
Like mike
Your voice echoed
Into the hearts of westerners.
They had seen
What meant war
And fury of man
What burns not in the blaze of violence?
Brother turns enemy
Enemy turns not brother.
Grenades scare the hearts
Never soothe.
From clouds of potash
Rains fire, pelt stones,
Showers no manna,
Each flower longs for a dew-drop.

They had seen
How skyscrapers turned into
The ruins of ages gone by,
And that too–
In the twinkling of an eye.
They had heard hues and cries,
Wails of the suffering itself.

They pondered, understood, scrutinized
And realised
The end of two gruesome wars !
Conflagration makes no homes–ruins them,
Spoils everything, reforms nothing !

Westerners stood like Ashoka
On the two-forked pathways.

Each Philosopher said,
Each poet proclaimed :
Cause of war no cause.
End of war proof-proof.

Their dreams were shattered
Vapours of their swelling aspirations
Rained from the clouds of potash
To flow down into the ocean of despair.

Their heartful glass brittled
At such a time, oh Gandhi,
The gemstone of your truth
Chiselled each bit into pearl of shine.

Simmering sound of their melancholy Reverberated against the Himalayas.
You were hailed in Inida
People listened to you,
Valued what you said,
In ovation they spread their eyes, their hearts,
For India of your dreams
They spread corpses,
Britain defied the wealth of India
Showered lilies of freedom on your feet.

Bravo, Gandhi,
You swallowed venom of violence
Like Neelkantha.
And hid the bullet of violence
Into your bosom
Foreover and ever
And attained martyrdom.

Who did not shed tears on your death?
Who did not lament?
Most bereaved were the westerners.
A Newspaper there headlined :
Today earth mourns !
They discovered the practical usage
Of theories of saints
Like Swami Ramtirtha and Vivekananda
In you, you alone.
Your truth became popular with the     westerners.
Truth prevailed in everyday life.

Each atom of human element
Was tempered in the nucleus of truth.
Their wild energy soaked
Into your tolerant cool.

Indian masses evaluated your title.
Took you for capital,
Even today your name
Is hoarded in lockers,
Your halo is the lustre
Of gold ornaments in the vaults.
Your works in red tape.
Are safe in the junk of libraries

False mask of usage on your real visage
As bubbling espresso over coffee.
As ledger of businessman
With double accounts–
One white, black the other
Your hallowed sanctity
Like the rose plucked off the shoot
Moon pale through the frost
Charm of a widow.

Bridges of your praise
Stant on airy columns of selfishness.
Even one who slips
Plays acrobat
On the circus-net of perks and privileges
And settles down on earth.

With the support of your name
Man today
Rides on the high rocket of your truth.
Enjoys merry experiences of self-stuffed     moon
Lands safe on the sea of luxury
While the towering idealism of yours
Full of heat unbearable

Gets sunk into the depths of infinity.

Who cares for commoners?
Even a modern poet,
Man of letters
Or a historian
Who covers the breathless ambitions
of masses
In the journalistic shrouds of white lies,
Uses oratory phraseology
In order to sing your praises.
He does so to represent himself,
Not the people.
His metaphoric terminology
Is overshadowed
By a malicious penance
In OEKOTAN
Of Rabindra Nath Tagore.

Masses groan, Mankind moans,
The voice of people is the voice of God.
Commoners may be inkling of history.
If it glitters
History gains prominence
To out-shine with golden frame all around.
If it revolts
Its blackness
Carbonates the faces of leaders
Whose names
Donot find a place
In the quiz for innocent primers even,
Such bladdered names
Are kicked off the goals
By the learned scholars.

Today shepherds of your lamb-like subjects
Publicise the light of your truth
In remote foreign lands
More fervently than
In Indian villages

History is witness :
Buddha appeared in India
Buddhism spread abroad
Far and wide.
On his twentyfifth centenary
His status were salvaged from ruins,
His sacred places were rehabilitated,
Wall of the world leaned towards India,
Leader of the age paid him homage.

History repeats itself.
India apieced your live portrait,
What regard her people will have
For your stone idols !

In times to come
A Sankracharya will appease the masses
Entitle you as Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
A Swami Ramtirtha will ask the children :-
Your religion?
Gandhi !
Who is Gandhi?
God !
And on your twentyfifth centenary
Your Samadhi will be rehabilitated
Popular leader of the age
Will offer you roses of faith,
Put the crown of thorns on your head.
On your forehead
Paint a mark

From the preserved blood
Of the innocent commones
Of today.

The people of that age too
Will sing in chorus :
Honest, ideal-the man,
Ishwar, Allah and Gandhi
Lead all kindly, the Almighty !