The Common Man - Poem by Ajit Das
A bony figure in tattered dress,
hair dry, unkempt, face unshaven,
but his eyes in the sockets burning –
is it the fire of hunger or rage?
His hut burns in summer,
the thatched roof leaks,
the mud floor feels icy in winter.
He has no land to till
nor knows enough of alphabet
to work in a factory or office.
He labours to eke out a living,
digging earth, cutting crops,
or carrying load, but his frail body
lacks strength and what he earns
fails to make both ends meet.
He struggles to exist, but is bullied,
battered, pushed over, as he stands
in the unending queue of life
to get his voice heard, needs met.
Only a number, he faces the danger
of being erased from the register.
Then, the day comes, when he finds
he has a voice, a choice to make
for his own claim to life
and promises galore showered on him.
But can he believe, clutching at hope
that his claim to life will be heard,
once the din of slogans dies down,
maze of banners, posters fades,
and empty, shrill rhetoric stops?
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