We were there
In robes and prayer beads at Nalanda, Magadha
At Mes Aynak and Bamiyan
As Maya, Inca and Aztec in the Americas
Building nations and civilizations,
As First Nations People
Living in harmony with Nature and the Environment
Living with the sounds of water and wave in Oceania.
On each way of living
Our beliefs, customs and traditions were humiliated
Forcing us to abandon the treasures of knowledge built by our ancestors.
We were there as Dalits
Carrying the heavy dirty loads centuries after centuries
Only to be told gods and goddesses
Are responsible for our misery and humiliation.
We were there
During the Crusades of Beliefs
During the Wars decimating Europe and the world
In concentration camps of the Holocaust
In the miserability of Palestines
In the turmoils of the Middle East and in corners of Africa
In countless migrations from one burning fire to the next
In the discriminatory Acts of Exclusions, head-tax and internment camps
As pawns in experiments after experiments to devise ways to control and contain
As serfs in agricultural fields never to enjoy what were grown
As slaves in filthy crammed boat holes transported and traded like animals
As muslin craftsmen with a finger cut to prevent weaving the finest fabric
As indigo farmers trapped in never repayable loans.
We were there
In political earthquakes promising to change things
In lofty words of democracy, equality and respect
But in reality, lies after lies were repeated to make them popular and acceptable
Using media, propaganda and advertisements as tools promoting mendacity
By clever crafting and cooking up of things
By crooked theories and twisted insinuation of
Words and promises enough to fill the depths of world oceans.
We were told it was just the way of doing business,
But in reality, was nothing but a system designed to deprive
The system of treachery, hatred, malpractice and corruption
To build empires of wealth using our energy – taking every pie from our sweat.
We were told to change and adapt
But our changes meant nothing.
We were there
As plants and trees
As multiplicity of creatures on land, water and air
Living harmoniously together complementing one another
Mercilessly we have been destroyed
Letting the climate and our habitat to change beyond irreparable damage
Our cries were laughed at
We were told to give in, to yield to the way for development.
On each occasion, utterly asymmetric upslope events were created
To let things implode and explode
To take advantage of the chaos in amassing wealth and power
To make us pay the price
In countless instances – known and unknown, told and untold.
On each time, the travesty of violence and brutality
The hiding of wrongdoing in clouts of confidentiality
Pretensions of ignorance that any wrongdoing ever occurred
Defined our common fate.
Our families were torn apart
Our children were taken away to make them civilized
Only to be violated and abused.
Our tears continue to roll out
Time after time
From one place to another.
We are here in present times
Only to find that the strategy and tactic have changed
But the goal remained the same.
We have been targeted and used as scapegoats for failures of any sort
Driven deliberately to the requirement to prove again and again
To make us exhausted, lose confidence and self-respect.
Stupid, idiot and what not are the reserved words to describe us
All part of the clever ploys to prevent us from getting empowered.
In managing things by plethora of spams and scams
In victimizing innocents by armed and online terrorist acts
All perpetrated by coward actors of different affiliations.
We are told to change and adapt
Changes did occur but not to include us,
Silently we endured, and are putting up with.
Those who pretend to be our voice
Are just another piece of the same show.
Decimated and bruised, our dreams and aspirations are shattered
Hopelessness drags us through the breaths of life
Yet we continued to yearn for a shed of light
For changes to come – that never come.
Some of us reached the zenith of career and accomplishments
The contributions made the world richer.
We are told, our way of seeing things does not matter
Our activities hacked, privacy infringed to inflict damages
We generated lots of tax revenue
But was left to nothing when we needed to enjoy the benefit of labor.
We were told we are different
Must need to change
But nothing else changed to include us.
Why do we have to change all the time
Be the sacrificial goat
Not an equal partner in fairness to all.
We were told to be patient
To expect change when time comes
But that time never came – it never comes
Our heart cries
How long, how long does it take to include us
How long does it take not to play God
How long does it take to be awake
To be responsible – to feel accountable,
To own the wrongdoing.
How long does it take to realize the danger of luring the young to aggressiveness
By incessantly promoting violence through movies and media outlets.
How long does it take to realize the beauty in the balance of things
In the harmony of multiplicity in Nature and everything else
In the interdependence of Fluid, Solid and Life Systems on Earth.
How long does it take to define respect and dignity for all
Realizing that talent and intellect are no one’s monopoly.
How long does it take to wipe out mistrust
To have the rays of wisdom and empathy raise the spirit of conscience
That lives within all of us.
How long does it take to let the light shine brilliantly bright
To dispel the darkness of ignorance
To find ways to establish the tranquility of symmetry and stability
To see the necessity of collectiveness in happiness.
How long does it take to wipe out the tears of misery
How long do we have to cry
How long humanity has to cry.
This poetry piece is dedicated to commemorate the International Days in 2021 – the days of Nonviolence and Human Rights. They remind us to respect, and define the dignified rights of all humans – in the nourishing cradle of Nature and the Environment – not in lofty insinuation of words, but in sincere real actions. Let violence – in whatever forms and pretexts it comes – be wiped out from the face of the Earth – in the spirit of mutual respect, collective trust and friendship.
. . . . .
- by Dr. Dilip K. Barua, 19 October 2021