Not the One but the Many

In his poems and articles, Badri Raina often reflects upon the social and political conditions in his native land, India. He knows how Hinduva’s fascist nationalists have hijacked the secular direction of the Indian polity which accorded full recognition to ethnoreligious diversity of the state after the end of the British colonial rule in 1947.

Many left-wing people also became convinced that India’s constitution will protect the minorities of India under an independent judiciary. But such hopes were shattered when the Hindutva emerged as a dominating force that had broad support in the Hindu population.

Badri Raina’s new poem is a reflection of his long-held views and struggles. However, the ideas he advances in this poem are also applicable to many countries where morbid rightists use the cover of religion and populist demagoguery to further their sectarian objectives.

—Nasir Khan

Not the One but the Many

By Badri Raina

May 24, 2020
One swallow does not a summer make,

Nor one race or caste a nation;

And no nation, however exceptional,

Tantamounts to creation.

What cruelties we perpetrate

To make one size fit all,

When various are our expressions,

And multifarious Nature’s call.

Think what calamity would ensue

If birds were just one bird,

And flowers all of a single hue,

And all humans just a herd.

God gave us variety,

We seek a domination

Of  the syllables that fell to us

As universal conversation,

The bird that sings a different tune,

And wears a different plume

We see as threat to our clime,–

An estrangement and doom.

The brain, one thought, would evolve

To embrace abundance;

Alas our blinkers are fortified

The more we advance.

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