Convert us,
We’re adaptable
But we’re poor. We’re hungry too.

Passing by a temple, a man of god advised
“come on in, become Hindu, and be happy and wise.”
So, we put on the Hindu hats.
“Now close eyes to forget the hunger.”
“Meditate for transcendental wonder.”

Then a voice was delivered from a nearby mosque
“Become Muslims for glory to god,”
We emerged as Muslims from the sacred spot.
More cordial invites “come on in, become…”
Christians, Buddhists, and other religious faiths.

And we collected more badges in our divine sails.
We’re now multi-religious with multi-god beliefs.
Without any shelter or any relief.

A buzz was heard loud and clear “There is no god, my friends,”
“Come on in, in our progressive den.”
We followed another message, another thought
In the maze of many isms and multi-paths.

A few intelligent folks gave us the direction: “stay on the Left,”
Assuring food and shelter as well as vodka and rum,
But “seal your mouth and keep mum.”
Others pulled us to the Right, to be “great again”.
Affirming food, shelter, and wealth in the promising lane.

We’ve put on all the tags, walked all the treks.
We’re victims of conflicts, riots, and terror.
Risking lives in chopping waters and dingy boats,
Eyeing to land on safe and secure shores.
We knock on the doors for some welcome abodes.
In our run to seek safe spots,
There are hunts and chases of the security guards.

We are the victims of hunger and malnutrition.
We carry loads of bricks on our heads,
We raise the buildings but live in the sheds.
For some, the hapless one
The roof is the sky, the sidewalk is the bed.
To earn few coins, we’re pickers of rags, bottles, and cans.

We don’t have class, but inferior in our caste,
Working down the drain with suffering and pain.
Underpaid and underage, bonded helpless and muted slaves.

We’re the statistics for discussion and debate,
Agenda for conferences and data for references.
We’re the stories and challenge for poets, writers, and authors.

We are an assignment for researchers and experts
Who maneuver our grades to analyze our fate
From national poverty-line to international poverty-line,
From below-poverty-line to above-poverty-line.

But at the end of the line
We’re still poor
And we’re still hungry.

-by Promod Puri



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s