Treasure Island

Jorebungley Darjeeling


An Uncanny Rebel: Lament of the tea garden worker

I see bushes full of tea grow, drowning our myriad sorrows
Uncomplaining we work, in the hopes for a better tomorrow;
For centuries and some more years yet, we have been cheated
We till the land with our sweat; our cause continues to be defeated.
We can toil on these gardens but can’t own the land,
Our fate, destiny and life controlled by some invisible hand;
“Oh! but the gardens are our life” or so others rationale
Desperately trying to uphold our falling morale.
For generations, we have tilled this land with sweat, labour and love
Yet those who’re in-charge continue to shove;
Shove us out and overlook our plights,
Call us criminals for demanding what’s right.
I refuse to be coerced and I refuse to keep quiet
I will speak out – LOUD and I will rewrite,
The destiny that I was forced to live
Because I believe! ! ! !
I can, I will and I must! !

Submitted: Monday, June 17, 2013
Edited: Monday, July 29, 2013

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

The poem is dedicated to the tea garden workers of Darjeeling hill region. Tea connoisseur across the world agree that Darjeeling is to Tea as Champagne is to wine - the best. However, unlike the Champagne produces, in Darjeeling the Tea garden owners are rich MNCs while the workers are bonded labourers who are only paid INR 95/day (US$ 1.8 per day) . The labourers do not own the right to land and the tea garden owners can ask any labourer to leave the garden despite having worked there for generations if the worker demands higher pay or better working conditions. In addition, Darjeeling Tea industry is the most feudalistic industry in the world which requires the tea garden labourers to send one person from each family to work in the tea gardens generation after generation if they want to continue living in the land their family might have worked with their sweat and blood for generations... But a rebel is born! ! and he vows to rewrite the destiny his forefather have had to live and was imposed on him.

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