(To my father, on his birthday!)

What do I write on thee, words are at loss!

“Be a brave general and true servant”
And you “dedicated me to society”
It was ten, I remember I was then.
Never felt like asking you if that meant
I was going to be away from home and family.

Father, one lifetime is transient. Yours. And mine.
Not all your dreams will result, nor my immaturity.
Popular minds do not speak a tale, a tale of honesty
Stereotyping I did not know, for it was not thine.

No thought-control. No ideological pill.
You offered me from Gandhi to Lenin
A God who resides in hearts and yet one
I could defy, you said it matters little

And I saw the reflections of a struggle
Did not shelter in cheap history-texts
Your convictions that led you to prison cells
Your service for folks, oh so, were humble

Struggle is within a framework
Of an individual conscience and society rebuttals
One who stands for a just social cause
Often gets pricked by personal upheavals

Did you ever bow down to the law then
For the good, people cause to them
For the children who they think only their own
And the families they reaped, they have sown.

Never saw you giving into compromise
Never saw you owning a piece-of-land
Never watched you beg for favours
In a world, oh so, full of opportunists.

{“Be a brave general and true servant”
And you “dedicated me to society”
It was ten, I remember I was then.
Never felt like asking you if that meant}

I was going to be away from home and family.
I always looked beyond you, your ideals
Your convictions, your judgments
To be a man of my own reasonings
A person of my own makings

And I see you there, in my own reflections
But my struggles I have not yet possibly made
I feel your presence when I emulate
But that humble human I never made

Its been already a tiring journey for me, father
To match up to life’s demands and society’s needs
A bunch of easy comforts I possess
To divert the compulsions, it so seems

They do not make humans like you anymore
I never thought I could live up, either
But one more promise I must make
Shall not disappoint you, I must offer

You do not represent this world to me
A society you had dedicated me
To be the general and the servant
Of the humankind that’s gone so insane

Gandhi and Lenin lost the relevance
Long back for this content generation
A future based on war psychoses
And present on dependence to misinformation

You are not of this world and yet you are here
How do you feel, to witness the tears
Of your own which hardly has stopped
Since dreams squashed, comrades nowhere

Hopes you have kept still alive
Orissamatters still up and running
One-man’s army or one-man’s service
General or servant, you got to live

I do not need to turn to cheap history-books
A real example I have in life of yours
Do not know the relevance of revolutions
Causing violence or preaching against nukes

In your sixties, you dream of a century
Of yet unborn and raring to arrive
What do we have to offer them, you ask
‘Future will not forgive us if we survive’

Do not take the guilt, you have done no wrong
Convictions you lived to, when people had to fall
Courage you translated, amidst feet of clay
Fearlessly stood firm, when others had to crawl

Lines of comrades nowhere to be heard
I have seen ‘em all reaffirming their pledge
‘A world of freedom we shall all co-sign’
I heard them tell you and it did not amaze

Years of your struggles have brought some change.
A sustainable process though has just gone deranged
Money and muscle making inroads to progress
Where definition of progress stand to be altered.

Amidst these all, you have stood on your own
Convictions shall maybe redefine themselves
But they shall not affect your struggle for a better world
Where ‘better’ shall mean not more but equal access

In words, nothing much are contained
‘Convictions’, ‘faiths’, ‘beliefs’ can be modified
‘Progress’, ‘thoughts’, ‘equality’ will mean different
In a world on ransom, war on the weak will be solidified

Long after the world will realize its follies
Long after the revolution by the hungry masses
Long after people would have got equal access
I shall know only one thing to have been the success

Success will be yours, of your noble thoughts
Of the honest actions in life, to pay what you owe
Socrates was forced to die in debt to this world
You shall never, you shall never, you shall never

You have been paying back in unequal terms
Benefiting us in more ways than we deserve
At least that’s the way we are more indebted
A purpose we have, to refund what’s served

You are doing your duties, father, for sure, we shall carry out ours
This future shall make no more recessions, no more submissions
Belonging to the world and calling its my only country
My journey has well-begun, and I am on your missions

– Saswat Pattanayak, Peoples’ Poet


Author: Saswat Pattanayak

Journalist, Generalist, Atheist, Poet, Lover, Photographer, Communist, Third wave Feminist, LGBT ally, Black power comrade, Peacenik, Anti-capitalist, Critical media theorist, Radical film critic, Academic non-elite…

One thought on “Bapa

  1. An outstanding poet. I can feel the love deep in my hear.
    I can also link this blog with Orissamatters. Great job. Keep going until achieving your mission.

    Ranjan Kumar Sahoo

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