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Journeys Of The Mahatma

They shot him dead: Three rust-riveted bullets – Pierced a brave breast, a vulnerable heart. Who knew the old man had so much blood in him?   He died with
02 Oct 2016 18:06
Journeys Of The Mahatma
Mahatma Gandhi

They shot him dead:

Three rust-riveted bullets –

Pierced a brave breast, a vulnerable heart.

Who knew the old man had so much blood in him?

 

He died with palms folded

As he fell in the new garden of Gethsemane?

Two words, like two birds, escaped from his parched lips.

 

They said he died peacefully.

Really?

 

Then they ceased to kill

And the land that spilled his blood

Was still surfeited in its sorrow

Like a mother holding

Her dead child by any seashore.

 

When he went to England

They wanted to trap him?

Master-mahatma: What do you think of our civilization?

Not a bad idea, he said, whenever that happens.

 

That rather fat man of victory with a cigar

Fumed: How dare a half-naked fakir

Striding on the palace steps

To parley with the King-Emperor?

In those awful clothes: At best in a diaper,

a khadi shawl,

In the dead of winter, after the Fall.

 

The bright British journalist,

Ever searching for shallow answers :

Will you parley with the Emperor dressed thus, Mr Ghandi?

He looked at the young man

Making his career in Fleet street

And so fleet of tongue:

Oh, no worries, old chap,

The Emperor will be wearing enough for both of us!

 

This wasn’t a story of rags and riches.

It was a little more:

The sun set in its shame.

 

He adjusted his rough shawl

A burden on his bare shoulders,

His feet firmly on the ground

And turned around the other cheek.

 

Then they remembered the Salt March

To Dandi with a danda!

A 230-mile journey on  foot.

The sartorial semiotics was smart.

They mocked: how can you dismantle

The largest empire with a lathi?

 

But he marched: that was his art.

 

When he broke the Salt Laws

Remembering a sermon: Ye are the salt of the earth…

Feel blessed.

 

The Viceroy called him for tea

In golden cups with a single silver spoon

After all it was tea in the afternoon.

The lord asked :

Mr Ghandi, care for a spoon of sweetest sugar

Made by the toil, sweat, tears of your own people?

 

Gandhi glanced at the church steeple:

No , he smiled:

But a pinch of salt could do!

 

Between salt and sugar

A mighty empire fell:

India, like his soul, was broken into bits :

And the oldest mahatma

Was cremated among the dead.

 

His ashes were left to rust

In Delhi’s ruins and dust;

But a patch of green grass grew

On a river’s bank

Out of some ancient roots

As birds twittered, flew:

 

Three blood-red flowers in silence bloomed.

 

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj



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