A Politico Speaks Out (A Dramatic Monologue) - Poem by AtreyaSarma Uppaluri
For any malaise or malady, with no bar
You jump up and brush us with tar
Even as you are loath to take part
In the positive political art.
You kick up debates heated
In your drawing rooms sated
And banquet halls with yells
To high pitched decibels
With certitude -
You are alone pious and pure
All others are thugs ne’er to cure
Why don’t you, for a while,
Take a few minutes off
And place yourself with no scoff
In our unenviable profile?
That a politico has advantages
While in power, we don’t deny;
But it comes at a price -
A very high price to boot.
So here is the politico’s woeful tale
Please hear it with no prejudiced scale:
A politico has to keep in good humour
Every constituent and consumer.
He has to patiently receive, and hear
To redress their grievances with cheer;
Write out recommendations,
Make out and attest certificates
Sort out issues and disputes.
A politico has to be in, round the clock
Receive and answer every call and knock
Entertain every leader, follower and fan,
Every coeval, activist and worker with élan
Keep his kitchen and bar with stocks tight
And leave the doors open day and night.
A politico needs to be a jack of all trades
And up-to-date on every matter that rates
Be wary of his opponents’ subtle tricks
So of the Trojan horses’ clandestine kicks
And be in constant fright of the media
Who could cook up any scandalous idea.
A politico should always be on his toes
Remembering every occasion that goes
Reach out oft enough to the public and places
Get up meetings galore with tactical paces
And be in readiness to cater
On any popular matter.
A call from the high command even at an unearthly hour
He should travel posthaste without getting even a shower.
With all this unsettling scenario
No real time is left of a politico
To spare and fend for his family.
He just leaves his children willy-nilly
To the care of time and vagaries of fate.
Come the hustings, the position is still worse:
Caught in a cleft of disclosure of assets diverse
And glare of the taxman’s eagle eye that would chafe -
The politico has to strike a balance credible and safe.
He has everyone in the party echelons to please
And be in hot pursuit of a ticket for legislative lease;
Managing it with difficulty or with relative ease,
He has now his rivals within the party to appease.
He has to get ready to spend a fortune
On reams of posters and pamphlets opportune
On many a goody, bunting and festoon
On banners, flags, and mikes pretty too soon
On graffiti and media publicity like a typhoon.
He ought to schedule and reach out
Frenetically to each nook and cranny
And hold rallies and road shows about
Scores of marches and meetings canny -
Caring that he doesn’t cross the timeline
Or impulsively shoot off his mouth asinine
And into the EC’s threatening hands walk supine.
He has to pre-empt any criminal case
And manage to get out of it with no chase
While having to contend with his rivals face to face.
Oh the intelligentsia! You arraign
That we are corrupt and full of bane.
Just show a walk of life
Where venality isn’t rife.
Be honest and truthful, oh compatriot!
And tell us: Can you really keep quiet
If we choose at all not to be corrupt?
And could you please suggest us a way
How to lead a successful political career
Without sacrificing our domestic cheer
And without being devious, come what may?
A few of us are certainly honest and true
How many of them encouraging are you?
Instead of blaming us left, right and centre
For this, that and everything instanter
Why don’t you take to the political praxis
And be a paragon-like virtuous axis
A saint and a go-getter in the same taxis?
We’ve to do all this welter of thingamajigs -
Burning sun or dusty winds
Chilly squalls or pelting rains.
All the while, we’ve to entertain in a row
Our hordes of workers and followers
Who always stay with us like a shadow.
Where and how can a politico get all the money from
For all this bamboozling maze of impossible accounts?
Do we get it for free?
You charge that we would manage best
To get back our money with high interest.
Tell me the truth: Would there be any bloke
To dump his money to be stony broke?
And when a by-poll or midterm poll
Is forced, imagine the further toll
It’d take of our time and money
Sans an ulcer or stroke to accompany.
A politico is not an exclusive creature
He is just one from your midst
He could be from your own caste or class
From your own family or community.
Who says, a politico rolls on a bed of roses
Without being pricked by as many thorns?
A politico is more reviled than he is hailed;
He is more sinned against than sinning.
Vox populi vox Dei!
Finis coronat opus!
[May 03,2009: : Hyderabad - 500 056]
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