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(October 22,1972 / Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India)

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Banned Artist

I am glad you banned my books,
you made me a hero overnight -
till last year no one knew my name
today my name is being taken in
the same breath as Rushdie, Nasreen.

Publishers are a bit upset though,
the ban has actually done them in -
pumped good money into the printing,
but one feels happy for photo-copiers,
they also have a right to living.

Ah, you removed my poems from the school textbooks
they won't be reading them in classrooms anymore;
but yesterday while walking behind the dumping grounds
I think I heard those naked kids recite a few lines
from my banned poems – where did they pick up the lines?
from neighbourhood gossips? from the local fish market
or from local trains’ chatter as they crossed the lines?

Nah, I was not happy when you first banned my books.
Now I don’t mind at all, rather I am quietly grateful
for the little bit of fame you brought me overnight –
You don't mind a bit of fame, do you, if it comes free?

I know you will soon ban my pens, my shoes
my glasses, my pajamas, my little funny tools
with which I plied my trade, made my living.
Soon you will also ban them from doing
anything that I did - not to walk like me
talk like me, sing like me, whisper like me -
for my whispers are of the most suspicious kind
the kind of thing that fuels disturbances
earthquakes, hurricanes, blizzards, tsunamis.

It'll be a good thing if you also banned the sun,
the moon, the sky, the sea, the caged bird
and the free bird also of whom I have sung
for that will make people take more notice
of the sun, moon, the caged bird and free bird
of which world has become a bit forgetful lately.

     *******

Submitted: Thursday, August 22, 2013
Edited: Saturday, February 08, 2014


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Comments about this poem (Give Me That Promotion, Sir! by Dr Tapan Kumar Pradhan )

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  • Snehith Kumbla (2/7/2014 7:16:00 AM)

    The last six lines add lustre to the rest, loved reading it, deserves revisiting.

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Kalpana Shah (11/19/2013 2:31:00 AM)

    nyce write... njy reading u

  • Chitrangdha K (10/17/2013 10:45:00 AM)

    i was reading Joseph Anton by Salman Rushdie.. seems to be gist of those 600 pages! ! What more should i say...

    well done! !

  • Patricia Grantham (9/5/2013 8:23:00 PM)

    Banned but not forgotten, banished but not alone.
    Cast down but not forsaken. Keep on penning. Please
    read some of my works when you find time.

  • Akshaya Pawasker (8/22/2013 8:20:00 AM)

    simply beautiful write sir.

  • Gajanan Mishra (8/22/2013 8:14:00 AM)

    wonderful writing, i like it, thanks.

Read all 6 comments »

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