Like everyone has his own mother
everyone has his own statue too
The statue in the village belongs to the village
The statue in the wada belongs to the wada
The village has a name and a voice
and a lifestyle,
The wada lacks air, water
and food to eat.
Look at the statue in the village
it wears only a loin cloth
Behold! The statue in the wada
sports a suit and shoes like a saahib!
A poor soul in front of the mansion
and royal splendour beside the hut
The agraharam sulked
while the slum beamed
Gruel filled the silver plate
while milk flowed in the begging bowl
A cane and sandals for the statue in the village
While the statue in the wada got a new pen and books
This strange phenomenon in every village
Why does the statue in the village exhibit humility?
Why does the statue in the wada display pride?
Those who had nothing.
Questioned the two statues.
Sacrifice, answered the statue with toothless smiles in the village
Justice, said the statue of fiery speech in the wada
The statue in the village said, 'I do not want
what you do not have'
The village maids wore many splendid silks
and expensive secret garments
While the mothers in the wada
covered their breasts with coarse cloth
The village lord
flaunted fancy dhotis and kanDuvas*
The poor father in the village
was satisfied with just a loin cloth
Stripped of his clothes
the village statue was a sorry, skinny figure..
While the statue in the wada
shone in garments the wada parents never knew
The whole village was startled
The wada sang its wisdom:
The village idealises giving up what it owns
The wada dares to dream of what it doesn't have
The statue in the village said: here's the wheel, spin it
The statue in the wada said: here's the state, rule it!
*kanDuva: an upper garment worn by men, like the angavastram.
Translation of Satish Chandar's Telugu poem 'renDu bommala dESam!', first published in 'soorya' newspaper on 10th March, 2008, and featured in the collection of poetry, Kavita 2008. Translated by Naren Bedide.