Friday, April 16, 2010


On rooftops on hoardings bright,
In pages of coffeebooks
on tabletops of glass,
crying  little sad faces and
smiling happy ones,
yell out words heard
over a million times
“The birthright of every child-
The right to education”

So says the minister
Into any microphone,
That happens to come close
To his afterlunch mouth,
So too say the NGO and we,
 the well meaning citizen.

Ask the child’s parents
And a long list emerges
Of loans to repay
And a thatch to relay,
Of ailments to treat
And indentures to discreate.

In the tall shining hall
Where the grand banquet spread,
Long speeches and longer applauses,
A lone child stands on the podium,
Scrubbed and clothed
For today’s world presentation,
His utterance to help fill coffers
With grants and development offers.

In the spotlight he stands
A small fervent figure,
Eyes sparkle and dart,
Fingers worry a newfound button,
He opens his mouth
To mouth his saddened story
When in comes the first trolley
Heaped with every colour
Not just brown or white.

He opens his mouth
To mouth his saddened story,
His eyes fixed on the loaded trolley,
Hundreds of hours of story repeated
All forgotten with the passing trolley.

“ Birthright of every child….Education is…”

And out of his mouth
His rumbling stomach spoke,

 “I…need… food!”

© Nalini Hebbar/openmind/2009 - all rights reserved
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Vinita Apte said...

heart rendering...

The fact of today's modern times where politicians use such helpless victims to fill their coffers and the needy actually do not see the money coming their way.

My mom had helped our Maid's daughter with her education. Now the girl is standing on her feet and is educated. If each one of us lent a helping hand...we sure can overcome illiteracy. Each child deserves an Education.

Chapters From My Life said...

Very heart touching poem from you once again Nalini.. You write about our social issues so well that one day you are going to create a great awareness of this among your readers.. hats off to you.

Nalini Hebbar said...

Thank you Farila and L Pine...poverty and hunger hurt me real bad...we all need to contribute in kind and in small contribution in the form of a poem...towards the change I wish to see.

Karan Agrawal said...

Your contribution is commendable. It speaks a lot... the truth of the society, which is gripped by poverty and illness... eductaion is still a distant.

Loved the poem. A suggestion, you can nominate this poem for UN organisation. I dont know the process, but it would be worth trying!

Sneha said...

Hey I have tagged you

Do reply

bollywoodstylediaries said...

I agree with LP..if each one of us decides to teach one, I am sure it will go a loong way..The poem touches the core of the matter - hungry child cannot learn - I was bawling by the end..

Nalini Hebbar said...

@karan...thanks for the compliment

@BoStyDi....each heart needs to cry for the hungry for change to occur...thanks for feeling what I felt

Tarun Mitra said...

Spine Chilling..

Rajendra Raikwar said...