When I was shaped into words with ink
by Ajit Das
on paper, my creator had a colour,
a religion by birth, but I had neither.
I spread far and wide, catching the eyes,
entering the hearts of countless masses,
resounding into the corners of a nation
enslaved, its body tattooed, soul scarred.
I transformed their passive dream
into a fiery articulation,
leading them on the long march
through the burning summer,
the dead of winter, the fury of stormy night,
keeping aflame their firm resolve.
I was on their lips, when they faced bullets,
climbed the gallows, laying down their lives
for the freedom of the country.
None then asked my whereabouts;
I was all pervasive, unbound.
Then gradually I became an antique,
taken out on rituals, dusted, polished,
put up on show. But suddenly now
I find myself in great demand -
a maddening rush to appropriate me,
sadly though with a dash of colour,
a tag of religion, too, reducing me
to a boundary from my limitless history.
*Vande Mataram (I praise thee, Mother) -
a hymn to Mother Land that played a vital role
in the Indian independence movement