October 19, 2020

 

Last Sleep

 
 
 

Last Sleep

They made steel.
Their nerves were also made
Of iron, as they said, "Enough
Is enough," and decided to
Walk back to their villages.
Miles away!

They chose train track to
Avoid police 'nakabandi' (vigil).

They walked through the
Night, down the tracks
And at daybreak, fatigued
Decided to take a break.

They were 20 in all.
While 17 slept on the
Railway track itself,
Three chose a plot
Of land by the track.

Their belongings now lie
Scattered on the track.
Their sleepers, their 'rotis' (handmade breads)
Lie strewn on the tracks.

Their three friends could
Spot the death rolling
Down the tracks and raised
An alarm, but they were too
Tired for their reflexes to
Work when asleep!

They, the 16 of them will
Never wake up again.

They need no home now.
They require no food
No clothes
No conveyance to go home
No rest
And
No sleepers

They have no demands.
Their voices to protest
Have been 'silenced'
For ever, as their body
Parts lie scattered on
The track that lulled
Them to sleep for
One last time!

II
Is this an accident?
"Not an accident, by any stretch,"
Cried a newspaper headline!

"They are the victims of government
Apathy." "A result of unplanned
Lockdown," Opposition leaders said.

Can a country treat nation-builders
Like this? A leader questioned.

III

Will anyone answer?




The link to newspaper article






Article © Pranab Ghosh. All rights reserved.
Published on 2020-05-11
Image(s) are public domain.


1 Reader Comments

Anonymous
05/14/2020
12:11:13 PM

A fitting tribute. Well said.

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By Pranab Ghosh: