Citizenship (A Poem)
Trans. Roshan Koirala
Give it, please!
Just the citizenship
Give my people’s citizenship.
What will you take?
Take as you choose:
Gwalior’s cloth for shirt and pants,
Bata’s shoes and slippers,
Umbrella of Chaudhary brand,
Imported leather jacket-
Take anything you desire!
Say, this godown of rice is yours.
Your Mt Everest won’t shield you from cold, I know-
So take this quilt to keep you warm!
Take this rainbow-colored bed sheet!
You can’t walk, so take this vehicle!
It will help with the driving-
Take this Mobil too.
This pitched road you walk on-
We have made,
The school your kid studies at-
We’ve built it.
The ambulance that takes your missus to the hospital-
We’ve given it.
I’m your well-wishing friend of old
Please! Give my people’s citizenship.
Nothing else will I ask of you
You keep the land you have to yourself
You keep the home you have all to yourself
It will come to your only use- keep your mountains!
The rivers, whatever, you keep for yourself!
I won’t ask for your wealth!
Only you give my people’s citizenship.
You have to do nothing
Our men will clean your toilet!
Your clothes- our people will stitch!
Your beards and hair- our people will tend to!
Your country shall our people run?!
Please, give only my people’s citizenship!
Yes, take truncheons for your security,
You worry of nothing-
Only take rest.
From your rivers and streams
We will generate electricity-
You warm yourself on electricity and feed on air!
What’s it but a mere piece of paper!
We will give you paper
We will give you ink
Only, you give my people’s citizenship!
Translated from Nepali by Roshan Koirala