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  • kewal sethi

democracy redefined


joint secretary's message was loud and clear

it was the natural outcome of experience of years

it had been vouchsafed throughout by writers

that person will call the tune who pays the piper

we will call the shots 'cos we give you the bread

your duty is just to concur and nod your head

his anger was genuine, his tone was proper

he was indeed shocked by response improper

desperately the chief secretary tried to explain

we have since changed the rules of the game

gratitude is not the natural outcome of charity

subservience does not follow lack of parity

times have changed, poor are no longer meek

give them their due and then touch their feet

if you are giving something, it is our duty to give

if they take it, it is their right to accept the gift

under new rules you pay us, we spite you

you feed us the goodies, we bite you

it is really so simple, the result of new dispensation

you need us, not we you, that is the consideration

no one will blame you if all this appears crazy

this new farce goes by the name of democracy.

august 31, 1995

(i do not remember what was the provocation for this poem. i was the chief secretary of course and the joint secretary was an officer incensed by the comments of the local student leaders. the exact occasion is not recalled.)

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