JNT (1991? / USA)

A University Library

The portraits of the former
Vice – chancellors
are hanging on the walls
with looks aghast
as the young scholars
are sitting on the chairs
like stones and idols
while in their minds
some girls who are Ph.Ds in foreign culture
are roaming like gleaming heroines.

Shakespeare and Kamban,
the Koran and the Bible,
the Kural and the Vedhas
the encyclopaedias
are dusty being unmoved from the racks
as the eyes of the boys
stick to have a good browse
at the smiling faces
passing through the gates
with cyclonic glances.

If the Christian priests saw this
they will shed tears
and immolate themselves
for the Bible treated as untouchable.
The clerics swearing ‘jehadi’
will fire at these unscrupulous young
who dare to ignore the Koran.
The Hindu erudites will fly
into a rage for the insult brought on
their ancient scriptures.
If some monks happen
to see this atrocious scene
they will go by walk
from Bodhgaya to Peking in remorse
or borrow arms from Ceylon
to wage war against the youths weak.

The sanctum of the scholars
is changed into a park for hollow heads.
Those with searching minds from far off Universities
are banned from browsing the theses.
And these sons of the soil don’t secrete books there
but stole them or their organs.
They don’t take hints straining their hands
or sharpening their minds.
There are Xerox machines to duplicate the whole books
and Internet to supply what they want.

by Rajendran Muthiah

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