To have responsibility thrust on
Your shoulders is to pledge
Your solemn concern and care.
Patriotism isn’t just green and saffron
Stains on your cheek.
We have gained independence but
We aren’t free!
Oh, the irony!
We say we have freedom
But I see fear in a woman’s eyes
When she’s out, late at night.
I see children, younger than me
Still working in places
With smoke, bricks and chemicals.
I see people being ostracised
For loving who they want.
“My religion is greater than yours.”
“I won’t consider your sex unless you’re male or female.”
“My language is more fluent
And significant than yours.”
It’s like our blood thirsty ancestors gave
Birth to us, who get offended
With people of different opinions
And make the comment section on
Facebook and YouTube a kid’s play.
While cricket fans search for MSD
Kids illegally are doing LSD
A bunch of greedy people
Who wouldn’t give to charity
But slide pink notes under tables
To turn justice into injustice.
Where is our freedom?
I see no earnest responsibility
Having flags in our pockets chanting
“Bharat Mata Ki Jai”
But forcing abortion,
Because you thought about the weight of
Her marriage, even before she was born.
We aren’t bothered when
Men start wars against each other,
But lose our minds when
They fall in love with each other.
Prejudices run in our veins.
Give birth to a girl,
And the mother is blamed.
Give birth to a boy
And the whole family takes credit.
We’ve normalized abortion,
But stigmatized adoption.
Funny you killing your own blood,
But choosing to not father a child,
Unless he has your genes.
And we still have the audacity
To speak of unconditional love?
It’s all hypocrisy, simply hypocrisy,
Entering the very marrow of our bones.
I see what we’re doing.
We want freedom,
But don’t want to strive for it.
Responsibilities have become
Too hard a word
For us to fathom.
Responsibilities have become
Than the ultimate sense of freedom.
So before we put a show of patriotism,
Let us stop and think for a moment
About the weight of the word
And the meaning it carries.
You can’t tell me you love your country
If you still choose to litter publicly.
Or tell me you’re okay to see
Stains of acid on a woman’s skin.
And let us know to draw
A line between patriotism and chauvinism,
Because we don’t want those over patriotic fools
Who kill in the name of loyalty.
But let us grow in tolerance
Where we live in diversity,
To have the freedom to express
And the freedom to be.
Let us be intolerant
And give justice where it needs.
Say goodbye to corruption,
Prejudice and hypocrisy.
Welcome love, life and diversity;
Let Bharat Mata raise her head
For once with pride.
Let Mother India see
Her children in harmony.
Finally, let us not just talk about it,
Like I am right now,
But let us live responsibly,
Just as easily as
We breathe the air,
Because if actions can speak
Louder than words,
Our responsibilities can certainly
Speak a million times more
Than this poem ever will.
By Sharon Mary Eapen