HAPPY DIWALI — Badri Raina


BADRI RAINA | Caravan Daily

Happy Diwali

Pyare Ram Ji, as you return to the Saryu,

You might consider the following few

Facts: not far from where you are,

A little girl of five died silently of hunger

Because she only had a Ration Card,

But no Aadhar. Just so that you know

Why she could not say happy Diwali to you.


Many a farmer, who never miss their

Puja, take to the hangman’s rope

Because those they feed  

Give them praise and promise

But little cause for hope that while

Small and big money-lenders shower

Fat-cat defaulters with gold, the only

Power the farmer has to overcome

His strife is to take his own life.


This other girl who looks dazed

Had joyous dreams of welcoming you

With sweets, lights, and trinkets,

Until she was gang-raped by four

Of her kin — good men of fame, devoted

To you, and willing to kill in your name.

The police told her what a bad girl she

Must have been to lure four good

Men to their unwanted sin.


The one per cent who roll out

The red carpet for you, as opposed

To millions who bear silent

Reverence for your coming, are

Men of heft and health; they

Possess sixty per cent of the

Nation’s wealth — an ugly fact

Which they fudge by loudly

Proclaiming Rama Raj.


Pyare Ram Ji, you have much

To do, beginning with chastising

Those unprincipled brokers who

Think nothing of peddling you.

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  1. What Badri Raina Stands For

    Nasir Khan, October 19, 2017

    Badri Raina’s poem ‘Happy Diwali’ depicts the social reality of India and stares right into the face of that deprivation and hopelessness that overshadows the lives of the poor and oppressed in India in a system where money and power talk and the rest is forgotten.

    Prof. Badri Raina, an Indian academic, poet and social activist, is a voice of the voiceless in an ocean of apathy and indifference. What he portrays in his prose and verse is equally applicable to many other countries of the subcontinent and beyond, such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma, Sri Lanka, etc. etc.

    He continues to write on many social and political issues, concentrating on how the right-wing politicians, the Hindutva reactionary forces and parties parties, and the capitalist overlords dominate and pervert the course of the formal Indian democracy.

    Raina has been an intrepid defender of the rights of the religious minorities of India. In this sphere, I should point to his numerous articles where he, over the years, has highlighted the condition of the marginalized Muslims, Christians, and the Dalits, the victims of the Indian caste system.

    There is much food for thought in what Raina has said and continues to say for thoughtful readers and political activists’ attention.


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