Countee Cullen

(30 May 1903 – 9 January 1946 / New York)

Karenge Ya Marenge - Poem by Countee Cullen

Wherein are words sublime or noble? What
Invests one speech with haloed eminence,
Makes it the sesame for all doors shut,
Yet in its like sees but impertinence?
Is it the hue? Is it the cast of eye,
The curve of lip or Asiatic breath,
Which mark a lesser place for Gandhi’s cry
Than “Give me liberty or give me death!”

Is Indian speech so quaint, so weak, so rude,
So like its land enslaved, denied, and crude,
That men who claim they fight for liberty
Can hear this battle-shout impassively,
Yet to their arms with high resolve have sprung
At those same words cried in the English tongue?

Comments about Karenge Ya Marenge by Countee Cullen

  • Rajnish Manga (6/24/2016 1:17:00 PM)

    Gandhi’s cry..... “Give me liberty or give me death! ” was a clarion call to the British colonial masters who did succumb to the pressure created by the masses hell bent of liberation. The words spoken in Hindi or Hindustani 'Karenge Ya Marenge' (meaning 'Do or Die) had the same magical influence, no less. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Monday, March 29, 2010

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