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With empty stomachs and tattered clothes

With lifeless eyes devoid of all hopes

With dreams not daring to knock at your hearts

Is hatred the lifeline you are really looking for?

When the ‘accident of your birth’ decides your fate

And even for that the fault is laid down at your gate

When people look at you but do-not acknowledge your existence

Is hatred the lifeline you are really looking for?

 

When day after day you slog in the fields and the farms

When you raise your crops like your children, don’t let them come any harm

And the fruits of all these efforts you are not allowed to reap

Is hatred the lifeline you are really looking for?

When all that you desire at the end of the day

Is only a morsel of food in your child’s stomach and they say

“First tell us which caste you belong to?”

Is hatred the lifeline you are really looking for?

When you work in the gutters, clean the sewers and lift others’ dirt on your bare heads

And you are told it’s your fate and you don’t even need any special so that you don’t end up dead

And then when you are made to sit on thrones and your feet washed by the most powerful

Is hatred the lifeline you are really looking for?

 

When you fill the roadsides spreading your humble collections

In the hope that someone may choose to buy something after all the bargainings and selections

When your humble collections are then confiscated and hefty bribes you are forced to pay

Is hatred the lifeline you are really looking for?

When you have burnt the midnight oil for years

And think that you are now ready to outshine all your peers

When you are then told that there are no vacancies that may see the light of the day

Is hatred the lifeline you are really looking for?

 

When after years of toiling hard and being loyal to your employer

One fine day you are told that you are no longer required

When your children and your family then look at you for answers

Is hatred the lifeline you are really looking for?

 

When you are told that learning is synonymous with listening and complying

And if you open your mouth to question you are actually trying

To malign your nation, your elders, even God, and so you are nothing but monsters

Is hatred the lifeline you are really looking for?

When you are told that since you happen to belong to the wrong religion

You are lesser of a citizen in your own nation

You can stay here but only at someone else’s terms

Is hatred the lifeline you are really looking for?

When you are told that since you happen to belong to the wrong gender

You are lesser of a mortal unequal in every term

So in the journey of life don’t try to be anything more than a bystander

Is hatred the lifeline you are really looking for?

 

When you are told that since you are just an ordinary individual

Fooling you around is so simple that it shall become a daily fixture

When your mind, your dignity, your very existence is thus daily questioned

Is hatred the lifeline you are really looking for?

When the above scenarios confront you

And calls for hatred tempt you

Even then stay strong and don’t give in

For the path of hatred shall only further ruin you

It won’t give you food, neither shelter, nor clothing

Nor will it be able to give you a means of earning

It will not provide you with a different caste, or religion, or gender

What it will do is just lead you to meander

Through twists and turns and deceptions and then more lies

To keep alive that hatred because if it dies

You just may realize that it was all for nothing

Coz nothing changed for the better, all the issues in your life were still alive and burning

And the day you realize this may be the end of the road for all those

Who, in their hubris, forgot that you might just choose

Love and care and reason and empathy

And reject all the lies and the hatred and the values they chose to fancy

The day you make them reach this dead end

They shall be forced to take a bend

Towards the values that unite and keep alive

And who knows the human civilization may then just survive

The road may be long, the path difficult

Yet, do you really have a choice? This question is only for you to answer

Nivedita Dwivedi is a writer from Mumbai

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2 Comments

  1. Pratap Antony says:

    Good thinking. Good writing, Nivedita. Always like your work.