Modern Man

He doesn’t see or hear so well,
But when he trots his walking staff,
The whole of Harichandanpur
Gets up and bows itself in half.

At eighty-five, he daily walks
About seven kilometres
To temple rock (and back again)
To bless the daily visitors.

He is no priest, no mountain sage,
No hermit wandering alone.
They call him now the “Modern Man”:
Was first to buy a telephone.

Was first to buy computers too,
Was first to buy a broadband net,
Was first to buy some barren land
And have on it a temple set.

Was first to make the temple teach
Vocational diploma course,
So women could now get to learn
And that too safely out their doors.

Was first to make the temple house
Refrigerated megacrates,
So farmers could now store produce,
Which earlier would go to waste.

Was first to give employment
To people from the lower caste,
Was first to print the local lore
To chronicle the oral past.

To him, these things are obvious.
To voted leaders, out of line.
To all of Harichandanpur,
His work is simply too divine.

You’ll find him, tired on afternoons,
Lamenting on his painted porch,
“They’ll worship statues of me here,
Forget to carry on the torch.”

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