O India!

(I wrote this poem in 1980 when I was in 11th grade)

O India! Land of my mother
 And my motherland
 I see you on your knees
 In chains and fettered feet
 Who dared to shackle thee
 In these knots of bondage
 So, sleep not now or ever
 For fear others take advantage.

 From past ages to present times, kings stood vigil
 With flag of theirs flying high in unsullied native air
 Rivers flowed from on land into open seas
 With stags, doves, lions, tigers, and bears
 Living in tree-filled sun-free forests
 Gods, nymphs, and sages over the golden ages
 Chose this place where to make felt their presence
 Poets wrote, musicians sang, and philosophers debated
 Guided seemingly by an unknown divine hand
 Nature had made ours the reigning abode
 With fairest things given to feast our eyes upon.

 The king had all bowing to the might of his throne
 Unsatisfied with the existing calm waters of peace
 He threw stones and thus rose ripples of war
 Too much blood spilled and flowed
 Bathing valleys, plains, and plateaus
 Defeated king's crown adorned the victorious one
 Who formed another haloed circle of courtiers
 This king, too, his neighbour fought, a la his predecessor
 The war was neither won nor lost outside battlefields
 Yet was an unseen victory for the gleeful foreign man
 Who made his landing soft on our sands
 Not a dog barked nor was there a startled cry
 He made alliances and won wars thereupon
 Then came to rule the ruler and our rightful land.

 The beautifully sculpted idol of yesteryears
 Stood pitifully lame with no head atop
 Lighted by sun and watered when it did rain
 Traditions were cast with unwilling hands
 In the burning fires of foreign culture
 Luckily to our undiscerned advantage
 A few of those were foolish ones
 Yesterday was gone and with it our prized freedom.

 The foreigner from his pedestal of pride was toppled
 But only by another of his unwanted vainglorious kind
 This succession was ever an unending procession
 We now had no more interest in science and philosophy
 Only freedom set ablaze our already burning minds
 They knew our needs and modes of fulfillment
 Yet further enslaved us with added load
 Many lives entered death's domain with cheer
 Added as fuel to keep up the fire of freedom
 Burning inextinguishably from dusk to dawn
 These martyr deaths bore fruit on trees of hope.

 Like a flock of sheep, we bleated in unison
 Demanding rule by ourselves, at our whims
 "We shall do or die - but, let us freely decide"
 Was the freely let out clarion call
 Among us, a lion roared in awe-inspiring tone
 Defeaning the sounds of evil in our ears
 This coming told us in letters perfectly clear
 We no longer, of anybody, need be afraid
 Streaks of lightning were sighted across darkened skies
 We clenched our open hands into tight fists
 And let measured blows on Crown's head fall
 We rushed onward with breezing winds of bravery
 This surging spate of fight toppled all
 Foreigner fled and with him his chains of slavery
 Seen by all was our new resurrected state.

 The wake of a fresh dew-filled dawn
 The rise of a bright light-giving sun
 Stood undisturbed on the morning of our freedom
 Darkness lost all at once its momentary cinch
 As welcome light inked all along every inch
 In beaming faces, we glowed with joy
 Trekking our track to our living fate.

 O India! Land of my mother
 And my motherland
 Now I see you in a supreme stance
 With fettering chains helplessly broken at thy feet
 We of this immortal motherland dared
 To untie the unyielding knots of bondage
 With such freedom as by all sought
 You are awake to the daylight of happiness
 And others have no cover of darkness
 From which to attack
 So, sleep not now or ever
 For fear others let not thee awake.

 Hail, cheer and welcome freedom to our lovable abode
 And slavery stays banished from our land of light.

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