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The poem is based on a brief observational study done by my team and I on the Pirana landfill site in Ahmedabad. The poem is meant as a satirical take on the social and environmental repercussions of landfill sites, and our attempts to not acknowledge the same. It is intended not to preach, but provoke individuals to take cognizance of the cost of development – the proliferation of many such heaps in and around every city.

Through our neglect of the ecosystem of waste generation and management, we also relegate to obscurity the community that resides in and around the area. Thereby, we push the legitimate demands by these individuals, for basic necessities, to the back of our democratic debates. In this context, I wish to reiterate that the poem is not meant to malign any particular state/city but shine a light on the appalling disregard for this issue in every city, and every state. Furthermore, what might appear as a callous depiction of the less privileged is merely used as a literary tool, and in no way condones the inhuman treatment of these individuals.

Part I

One score and 3 way,

Yet a million miles apart;

As a city dreams of better days,

So, others must pay for our part.

 

For one, with the wind the trees gently sway,

For others, well where shall we start;

A thunderous roar brings an acidic spray,

The very air will make you smart.

 

In silence does their virtue lay,

Break their spirits through caste’s poisoned dart;

Keep distance!Our paths mustn’t lie that way,

We rational beings lead from the head and not the heart.

 

Their servitude is a small price to pay,

Forever peasants, so we may be upstarts;

Never to see better days,

Eternally is their destiny demarked.

 

Part II

 

Away from the bustle and the paved streets,

Does a magical realm lie;

Follow the crows – the winged beasts,

Devil knows, there our humanity dies.

 

They stare towards the lofty peaks,

Here they were born and here they shall die;

With their amber blood the ground shall reek,

With every breath they choke, and with every sip their insides fry.

 

The gloom is shattered by a laughing shriek,

In despair hope does lie;

They still see the light beyond the bleak,

Suppress them! We cannot let them dream of the sky.

 

(Our trip is done) We forget the destitute and the weak,

The moment they are out of sight;

For the project did our interest pique,

And a single tear we did cry.

 

Beyond the mound of garbage heap,

Does a magical realm lie;

For peculiar beasts reside in garbage knee-deep,

Enduring silently as the weight of our dreams on their shoulders resides

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are personal.

Anuvrat Chaturvedi is a student of IIM, Ahmedabad


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One Comment

  1. abubenadhem says:

    Thank you for your satirical poem and prose preface to it, which are welcome contributions to the movement to recognize the dead end of our current wasteful, polluting and destructive “civilizations,” which also suffer “caste’s poisoned dart” (and the poisoned dart of class outside of India). We need more of this protest–the more the better; but, far more we need street protests and other direct actions against “the system,” which pays little heed to words.