The  Food Growers

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(For P. Sainath)


Remember how once we thumbed their nose,

And dubbed them a “sack of potatoes?”

Well, not any more;

The food growers knock at the republic’s door

When those that should have known better

Have lost the grit and the skill

To unravel the fetter

That so imprisons the conglomerate will

Of the land now sought to be ruled

By an iron hand.


The pulpit looks askance

At their knowledge of things

That it was thought only the think-tank

And the English language brings.

Marvel, marvel at the way in which

They press a giant intellect and food

To serve the deserted common good.


What violent hate and calumny

Was not thrown at them,

Inviting a like crassness of response;

For a whole calendar year now

How we  saw these vulgarities

Shamed and deflected by their sentient dance,

Till Big Brother, defeated in every advance,

Bowed to the republic’s body to squirm and say

“I apologise; you have won the day.”


Listen hard to what the food growers said:

“We are the people  whose heart and head

Is not Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or other;

We are the father, mother, sister, brother

Who feed your insatiate belly

Upon which you build your billionaire telly.”

To the cowering, covetous satraps their message is clear:

“should you lose your cringing bottom line

You lose but pickings at the toll;

Should you lose democracy

You lose your soul.

This is a time to join us to clean up the slick

Of polluting gumption and greed;

This is time to venture and save the republic.”

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