Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sab Maya hai !

My blog friend Umashankar Pandey, who is a banker, prolific writer, poet and photographer, recently visited Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh (India's most populous state), which for sometime now has been in the throes of ruling parties and politicians  going haywire promising the world to votebanks , particularly in the rural areas.  

Some of this has translated into massive tracts of land being dedicated to self worship, with an eye on posterity and a current perception of power by the ignorant voting classes.  Massive concrete domes , statues, lines of huge elephants  illuminated by a mindboggling wastage of electricity  is something done by the BSP political party , which was defeated in the recent elections.  The winning party, the SP, has its own agenda, and rumors of the entire concrete monstrocity being shortly subjected to bulldozing are rife.

Umashanker Pandey posted these photographs in his blogpost Mayan Ambition  , inspired by the planner of the concrete structures, previous CM, Mayawati.

In the meanwhile,  folks still arrive in the big city travelling on train tops, watch wide eyed ,  surprised at the resources not available to them, but flowing freely for some. Schools in some rural areas are somehow managed in sheds, with inadequate  space and sanitary arrangements, and many a smart girl , has had to stay home away from school, to keep away from a populace with prying eyes. 

The  current ruling party , the SP, is just alphabet away from the earlier BSP.  And the mess continues. 

after a traumatic trip,
atop a crowded train
just before the
Lucknow station.

Belongings tied up
with her hopes
in a piece of cloth
on her head
she waits on the footpath,
debating ,
if it is to be her home.

A long walk
by a grandly lighted place,
they tell her
it is Prateek Sthal,
a sign
she is allowed
to have aspirations now.

Her eyes
as wide
as the diameter
of the golden domes,
she feels miniaturized
in the presence
of an armada of elephants,
as she walks through.

 Someone pays obeisance
to the statue of a pointing man
and a lady with a purse,
and she too
does the same

 Shuffling through crowds,
she hears
someone say
that there is a plan
to flatten the place with bulldozers.

 Like her life and her mind,
by the wheels of
patriarchal tradition.

No education,
in a school
with a commemorative plaque
no simple sanitary conveniences for women,
and so she stays home
to keep away from prying eyes.

Really ,
nothing has changed.
“B”SP has changed to SP.
For her,
its a question of
To B or not to B......


  1. Didn't know capturing Mayan ambition would get me honoured at your blog! A million thanks to you! That said, those are strictly personal mementos Behen-ji has carved out of the empty stomachs of the very junta she claims to change. Your poem has captured that with a stunning precision.

  2. Suranga, how beautifully you write! How beautifully you speak from the eyes of the one who is left out! I wish that woman, those women could read what you wrote. If nothing else, at least their hearts would be happy that somebody understood!

  3. i must say you have described it well..