This poem was published in the January-March 1995 issue of the Indian P.E.N.
One day, this dhoti-clad chap
Borrowed somebody’s khadi cap,
Thought he was the only heir
To the country’s coveted chair.
He called a meeting of his boys,
Addressed them in an important voice.
Said, “It’s election time again;
So buck up all you saffron men.
Somehow we have to grab each vote,
Perhaps by shelling out a note.”
“But—protested one from the gang,
This idea will have to hang;
Because the leader from the opposition
Has already put forth that proposition.”
“Then, may be, we can feed them to their gills,
Distribute a few birth control pills?”
“No”, said another perky guy,
“That’ll make our finances dry.”
“What carrot do we dangle, then?
What can possibly lure those men?”
Said one, “Let’s pray to God the Great,
He’s been neglected too much of late.
Let’s pick this God, this good guy,
And build a temple for him, by and by.
Let’s take him back to his place of birth,
Let’s choose a suitable spot on earth.
Let’s destroy what comes our way.
This good God must have his day.”
“With God on our side,” he said with a chuckle,
The majority will have to buckle.
On a chariot, let’s spread the word,
Make sure it’s well heard.”
This God was watching a trifle amused.
He couldn’t help feeling used and abused.
He decided to spring a surprise
On this chap and his coloured guys.
Seething with anger, trembling with rage,
He shook hard this vote-seeking sage.
Said, “Who told you I need a home?
Which you plan to build by breaking a dome?
There certainly isn’t a dearth of space,
I happen to own this universe, this space.
So, before you use me as a pawn
In your game with tridents drawn,
I expect you to think twice.
Be ready to pay a heavy price.”
“I’ll leave you in the lurch,
Settle in a mosque or church.
To me, they are all the same
Call them by any name.
Fancy using good old me
For want of a better strategy!
Change your mind and mend your ways
If you want to see happier days.”
Shamed into silence, the politician cried
For the campaign that had just died.
He knew now what the score was.
He had to take up a genuine cause.
He was a sadder but wiser man,
And God had just won another fan.
– Archana Pai Kulkarni