(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.