Oh, say, where you there by the Nile that Arab Spring,
When they threw out a military dictatorship?
Or, in Prague by Dubcek’s side at the Velvet Revolution of 89?
Did you see the little guy then with his funny white cap?
The aam aadmi was there.
Were you there in the coffee club with the Jacobins
When they decided to throw out the Sun King’s throne?
He was there as well.
Where were you when the English levellers
Challenged the God-given right of Charles the First?
The aam aadmi was among those who stood up against the king –
You can see him in some paintings of those times.
You can see him among the leather-coated Bolsheviks
When on a hundred grams of bread a day
They saved their country that October day in 1917.
The aam aadmi walked down from Yenan to Peking, and from Hanoi to Saigon,
He stepped off the Granma that New Year’s Day of 59
To save Cuba from the Yanks, and he was with the Yanks
When they threw the tea chests into Boston Harbour.
He has worked for your cause ever since that distant day
When Spartacus with his handful opposed the might of Rome,
And the Rani of Jhansi drew her sword against the power of England.
He was all that Gandhiji ever had, or Nelson Mandela.
Thanks to him we need no longer fear the corrupt bunglers
In the dustbin of history, though they don’t know it yet.
Do you know who he is?
Look in the mirror, sister, he is YOU!
Madras Courier originally ran as a broadsheet with a poetry section. It was a time when readers felt comfortable sharing glimpses of their lives through verse. If you too have a poem you’d like to submit, do email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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