Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Amita Sarjit Ahluwalia writes

Fifty Two Homes Fifty Two Lanes
( A Morality Tale )

It was the time of pestilence

In the air
And in hearts and souls

There were 52 homes of which in one the son came home and was hidden
In his mother’s veil

Resting after long toil and travel
Who knows in how many others
Similar sons and daughters
Lay sleeping under mothers’ veils
After similar journeys
But there was a hue that marked that home and not the others
Their hues were different

There were 52 lanes with 5200 homes
And 7 places of worship
Where extradited migrants were sheltered
Transport being shut down
With a bare minimum of bed sheets on the cold ground they slept
With a bare minimum of water in one or two bathrooms they washed
With a bare minimum of bread and water they were fed
Who knows how many more such shelters in the town grew
As men became burdens and were discarded and sent away
With little thought of where they would go and how
And how they would earn or eat there
But one of those places of worship had a different hue
Recognisably different from the others

At first there were glances
Some glances met
Then there were whispers
Whispers grew
And soon the whole place
Sussurrated with whispers
Till they became a cry
And then many cries
And someone went and spoke to the headman
And the headman listened to the cries of the people
And they called the police
And the police came

From the House No 52, one young man
From the Place of Worship No 7, eleven people
Were rounded up by the police
And taken away
And some sat stunned
And some were satisfied
And some spoke loudly and righteously
About how they were all saved
By the timely information
By the quisling informers
By the jackbooted soldiers
What became of those who were unsaved
No one knew
Even the few helpless tears
Remained unshed
What duty of man is higher or more pious
Than that of keeping himself and his family

The dehumanising of man
Was complete

Perhaps a few lives were saved
Humanity died
Piously and self-righteously
Because Trust died
On both sides
Begot Betrayal

Would Trust
Have begot Trust?
Was Trust possible?

Who knows?
Is the Bitter Reality

If Man will not Save Man
God certainly will not

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