[Translator’s note: This song of Rabindranath Tagore came to my mind almost immediately after I witnessed on live TV and the internet the desecration of the sacred symbols of the Indian Republic at the hands of various thugs on Republic Day, the 26th of January 2021. Reflecting upon this most unfortunate turn of events, I was faced with the following question in the recesses of my conscience: what, after all, is the meaning of all the pomp and show in celebrating the Republic Day of India, if the state we pay our taxes to, if the government we democratically elect and lend our support to, cannot even protect our Country’s glory and the sacredness of Her institutions? Tagore had written this song when some acquaintance pressed him on, despite the poet’s fervent protests, to join a Congress session back in 1886. The words have taken on a new meaning for me on this day, after the abject disgracing of our nation by the anarchists and terrorists, led by the Communists and various other Leftist fronts.]
Ask me not to sing, ask me not!
Is this just game and laughter, an amusing fair – is this just a lie and guile?
These are the tears from the eyes, the breath of despair, the words of disgrace, the hope of the poor!
This is the pain of a heart-rending woe, wailings suppressed in the chest!
Do you take this to be just game and laughter, an amusing fair – is this just a lie and guile?
Have I come here begging for glory?
To pick up rounds of applause by weaving words?
Only false words, false fame, spending nights doing false work!
Who will wake up today, who will work? Whoever wants to rid the Mother of Her shame?
Who will cry and groan in pain, who will give at the feet of the Mother all the desires of his life?
Do you think this is just game and laughter, an amusing fair – is this just a lie and guile?