O Great Man
Those who strewed thorns in your path
today offer you flowers
and sing your praises
– now this is really too much –
During the dark procession of time
you lit the flowers of light
but these imposters, these villians
crushed, extinguished those flowers.
Today those flowers have turned into a wildfire
and those villains are fanning that wildfire
– oh now this is too much–
Like an elephant ramming a gate
you pounded on the temple door
the stones of the temple shook.
Under the holy name of religion
they long ago enslaved the gods
Your honest painful claim
of the right to see the gods
was crushed, thrown out of the village.
Now they decorate the great tree
that sprouted on that spot
–now this is really too much–
It is clear that nature belongs to all
but these people bought that too.
Every drop of water in Chawdar Tank
was stamped with their name,
the alert watchman of this culture
guarded the imprisoned water.
They feared that your touch
would poison the water and
they anointed you with your blood
when you were dying of thirst.
And now they pour water
into the mouth of your stone effigy
–oh now this is really too much–
Hira Bansode's Marathi poem Mahapurusa was first published in Sakal in 1980. Source: Images of Maharastrian women in literature and religion. Edited by Anne Feldhaus.