Friday, June 01, 2007

Half-happy with India turning into a trillion dollar economy

When half of my nation sleeps
with half-filled bellies, under the half-roofs,
with half-hopes of a mouthful tomorrow,

when half of my nation grows up,
with half-rights to education and employment,
with half-health produces babies and with a half-heart,
chokes herself before the stoves that burn wood,
and cook half-water curries made with half-salt,

when half-length men walk the streets,
half-naked, willing to work for half-wages,
half-grown women slip into beds at half-price,

when half-sane leaders pocket half-funds,
and divide the nation into halves that fight,
(haves and not-haves all half-fooled)
when half-castes organize into brigands,
and seek half-reservation for half-intellect,

when half of the news is of rapes, riots, extortions,
half-nation worries about Naxalists, Maoists, terrorists,
half-resolved cases haunt the courts,
where victims of the crime wait half-lives
for half-compensations,

when half-history is distorted or concocted,
sacrifices of men like Gandhi half-known, half-respected,
when half-heritage is lying like wreckage, and half-religions
have pocketed half-faith and finished the better half,

when half-talented sportsmen cloud TV with ads,
half-naked woman talk of modernism with half-minds,
half-cultured men, hypocrites, type half-lies into their
tax returns, and half-acknowledge their sexual slights,

when half of my nation cannot even read or hear my voice,
and other half will ignore it by their own choice,
and half-close their eyes to see half-blessed dreams
of half-American lives.

11:30 am, June 1, 2007


N said...

Great poem; loved it. Read a fewother posts too; you sound like a creative intellectual and thats fascinating! The thought that struck me was "hey are you a bachelor?" LOL

Vivek said...

Thanks for visiting N.

On a lighter note (though its convoluted note)

I hope the posts were not more fascinating as they originated from a bachelor; for in that case, once I become a married man my creative writing would cease, and since "I must write" is a necessary condition, that premise would cause me to bachelor forever, and I am sure I won't be leading a life of abstinence (though I might never show that in open), so anything would become possible, and then I could lose my moral judgment, which some would say would make me Wilde, some say it will turn me into Dickens, some argue a condition so Byronesque could only lead to a certain suicide (maybe by the victim, and maybe victim won't be me), and in all events, either this way or that, my bachelorhood should not be the necessary condition for my bloom, nor should it be made a reason for my doom, and my lady, you shall enjoy your presence here, with A Cup of Tea, and slice of GraduateStudentKind comedy, and maybe guaranteed male humor that springs from thong or just some short stories, and return unmistakably for words words words words words words words

Vivek said...


Vivek Sharma comments: on 3 Jun 07 08:58:00 AM
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Bingo Truthbetold!

The sting of my argument was in stating that I am half-happy with progress done so far, as I think it is only half-population that has benefited. In reality, the proportion of have-nots is higher than half (I used half for the rhyme scheme required half).

Of course, nothing ever gets done by mere daydreaming. Even poems (in spite of popular perception) never rain on daydreamers. Yet what I wished to attract attention to (and if I go by the hits on sulekha, I got very little success in that) is to the tendency we have of forgetting that India turning into a trillion dollar economy may not solve our nation's problems, if wealth is confined to the few rich.

It is likely that the have-nots will organize themselves into groups that will seek redistribution of wealth either by coaxing or by force: socialism, naxalism, Maosim, popular uprisings or revolutions may seem as public outcry against the government or King that existed then, but a closer study will reveal, that these arrive because the mob, the crowd seeks to destroy existing system and have redistribution of power, property and paisa (money). So the only way to progress well, is to plan in a way, where more and more wealth reaches the have-nots, where they have a dream or hope of getting richer keeping them busy. Revolutions are fueled by empty stomachs, and my nation has too many of those.

Truthbetold3 comments: on 2 Jun 07 20:19:00 PM
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Take a practical look. Rome is not built in a day. India made significant progress between 1947 and 1990. 15 to 20% f population was living a reasonable life. The rapid progress started. Now according to you 50% iof population is living reasonable life. If India continues to grow, pretty soon, rest of the population will get better life. It needs human action. You can contribute positively.

However, whatever length of time one waits, one will not see the fruits of success unless one gets down to real work instead of day dreaming.

Vivek Sharma comments: on 2 Jun 07 18:03:00 PM
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The other half will stay happy with its own dreams and possessions.

Until a revolution, a mutiny arrives and stirs them into action. It has happened before, and it shall continue to happen.

vandana1982 comments: on 2 Jun 07 00:30:00 AM
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But when thes half people will meet they will make a full fledged nation and will surely take India to greater heights:)

Vivek said...

from again

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Vivek Sharma comments: on 3 Jun 07 10:43:00 AM
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Thanks Bakbakiya and Enigma.... The state of affairs in India is better than ever before, and yet it is nowhere close to what it should be. The first thing is for us to notice that someone is amiss here, and then we must organize ourselves to do something about it.

A billion dollar house for a person in a trillion dollar economy is I guess representative of growth. My writings may argue for a holistic growth, I maybe fighting for social change and economic reforms, but I am against distribution of wealth or employment "without providing the education, ability and skill to the person to make best use of it". Like reservation policy, distribution of money, leads to have-nots becoming more efficient and the haves losing motivation to perform as well as they must.

A socio-political change is required which stirs common man into belief that he can accomplish something, then comes education reforms where irrespective of where he studies, he becomes capable of competing with everyone based on his intellect and skill set, and then we need a economic set-up, with proper infrastructure, which can absorb people into employment and thus provide them a means of livelihood. Seems too idealistic, but all it requires is rational education policy and maybe less corrupt leader, so that their efforts don't fill their own pockets, but get directed towards shepherding (yes, we, the crowd, are like sheep) the common will and whim towards greener pastures, growth, and what could be better than having intelligent sheep, and enough pastures?

Bakbakiya comments: on 3 Jun 07 09:39:00 AM
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Freedom at midnight,
So no one could see what happened till dawn,
Its a dark tunnel yet ,
A billion mutinies now,
Functioning anarchy,
Largest democracy,
Four thousand communities,
An experiment of continental proportions,
Global warming,peak oil,
Half a hope,
Of the world still there, when the sun rises.

E_N_I_G_M_A comments: on 3 Jun 07 09:12:00 AM
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Mr. Sharma:

An Indian wealthy, Mukesh Ambani is reportedly building a billion dollar (not Rupees) home in Mumbai. here's the link to that story in BBC web site:

Could he have spent only "half" a billion on his own home and spent the other "half" for the millions of homeless in Mumbai surviving in the sordid squalors of the city?

Your poem is extremely poignant, truthful......almost had tears in my eyes. Alas, not everyone views the world from your perspective. To quote you: "even poetry doesn't bring rainfall." Nor do dreams and rainbows become a reality for the "halfs!"

Pity, isn't it.........?

Vivek said...


Aditi Nadkarni
June 2, 2007
07:22 PM

Beautiful and intense all at the same time, Vivek.

It seems to have somewhat of a delicious Tupac Shakur flavor :)

Half poignant social significance and half technically and figuratively free (/freeing?) verse! Enjoyed it quite a bit.

Die Hard
June 4, 2007
02:17 AM

Vivek, Your anguish is most apparent in the last stanza "when half of my nation cannot even read or hear my voice,
and other half will ignore it by their own choice,.."

You have hit the nail and no half measures there!

June 4, 2007
07:37 AM

Thanks Aditi and Die Hard.

What you call my anguish though is my stating mere facts, and that my friend, scares me. While we read a lot about big bucks that people are making due to Software industry, we do not follow the details of how Pradhan Mantri Rozgar Yojna for example is working. The Press covers what sells, or what is not censored by government, and we intelligentsia have to create a market, a hunger for the news and the views that can make the modernization and the economic development of India, something more than a half-reality it is now.

Aditi, the technical flaws are usually present in first drafts of the poems, my apologies for posting the first draft itself. We poets type away stuff with some emotion, and we edit with emotionless bravado later, but this poem carries half-labor, and hence only passion.

Vivek said...

more from

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Vivek Sharma comments: on 5 Jun 07 11:28:00 AM
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Thanks Joshuatree and Denice.

Yes Denice, I realized later that the poem (it being first draft) has grammatical glitches. I will fix those in revised version. I hope the message is still conveyed though.

Joshuaatree comments: on 4 Jun 07 22:57:00 PM
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That ode is certainly a great one... Wow!!

denice _menace comments: on 3 Jun 07 10:51:00 AM
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I half- heartedly agree for your half-spun poem on how half-souled we are shud it be halve? doesn't sound grammatical..hmm

wunderful poem..

Vivek said...

from dud sea scrawls:

Thu, 2007-06-07 11:53 — Vivek New
things will half-change

I think it keeps one half happier if the other half is in misery.

so changing basic human nature is tough (I just read Man and Superman by GB Shaw, he argues we are the way we are for we are Men. To become any better, we need a species of Supermen, and this was before the advent of Superman as we know him)

But the killing thing about the two lines you pointed out is 1) women are as responsible for other women’s misery as men 2) modernism has arrived in India with cable tv driven ignorance of literature and news and history, and what seems like progress on some fronts has actually been a decay in some sense.

(I reserve my ire for my novel and verses)

* edit
* reply

Wed, 2007-06-06 16:13 — La Louve
half-grown women slip into

half-grown women slip into beds at half-price


half-naked woman talk of modernism with half-minds

interesting thoughts vivek. let’s still keep hoping that things will change.

Vivek Sharma said...

Also appeared in The New Verse News in July 2008