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Save us Lord, From the Tyranny of Greatness

Krishnaraj Rao

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high,

Into that heaven of freedom, my father,

Let my country awaken.

THE NIGHTMARE OF A GROWING GIRL is the benignly smiling relative – the great man whose reputation is beyond questioning. No matter what he does with you in his private moments, nobody believes a word against him — not even your mother.

THE NIGHTMARE OF A MARRIED WOMAN is the family guru – the great man with credentials that cannot be dented. What he says becomes the law. For decades he exploits your family, but his every word is regarded as golden truth.

THE NIGHTMARE OF AN HONEST WORKER is the charismatic boss – the great man to whom all credit gravitates. He takes credit for your work, while you carry the blame for his failings. And you hide your rage behind words of praise for his astute management, and smile when your colleagues smile.

THE NIGHTMARE OF A JUSTICE-SEEKER is the judge whose mask of unquestionable authority hides a haughty and unreasoning mind. When we stand before judges who have forgotten that their work is a humble service to society, we all are victims whether we win or lose.

THE NIGHTMARE OF A CITIZEN is the emperor who wears no clothes, but acts as though he wears robes of spun gold. Nay, the nightmare of a citizen is his own neighbours who will not speak the truth. If you should dare to say, “Your majesty, you are naked”, you will be a village fool and an outcast. But behind everybody’s back, they will come to you one by one and say, “Well done, well said, you are right. The emperor is indeed naked, and he knows it full well.”

SAVE US, LORD, FROM THE TYRANNY OF GREATNESS.  Save us from those who have greatness conferred upon them by slavish, unquestioning people.

SAVE US FROM THE TYRANNY OF SYCOPHANTS who surround and poison all leaders with their convincing lies. Like a poisonous slime, they corrode the body and soul of our nation.

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high,

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit,

Into that heaven of freedom, my father, let my country awaken.

LET IT BE, LORD, THAT EACH OF US MUST EARN OUR REPUTATIONS EVERY DAY BY GENUINE ACTIONS. Let no man’s reputation stand like a fortress on the glories of yesteryears. Let each of us stand scrutiny in the questioning eyes of our fellow man. Give us the humility to be called to answer for our actions every day.

IF WE ERR, WE MUST FALL; BY OUR ACTIONS ALONE, WE MUST RISE AGAIN. Bless us, Lord, that there are no exceptions; no one is too mighty to fall; no one is too condemned to rise again.

LET NO ONE BE MISLED BY GREAT PEOPLE whose love of gold, comfort and power hides behind genteel mannerisms, carefully practiced expressions and the fortresses of reputations built by slavish followers. Give us the eyes to see beyond.

LET NOT THE UGLINESS OF POVERTY HIDE ANYONE’S ESSENTIAL GOODNESS. Give us the eyes to see beyond. Let every man, woman and child get from us what they deserve; bless us Lord, that our hands do not withhold what must be given, and our tongues do not withhold the truth.

WHEN WE LOOK IN THE MIRROR, LORD, BLESS US THAT WE SEE OUR TRUE FACES. Give us the eyes to see what we do not wish to see. Help us recognize our own subtle lies and duplicity.

GIVE US THE STRENGTH TO WOUND OURSELVES. Steady our hands and help us cut the falsehood from our beating hearts. And help us, Lord, to heal and become whole again. Help us to love and accept ourselves again.

WE – EACH ONE OF US — ARE THE WORST AND THE BEST IN THIS NATION. I am the worst, the most downtrodden, the sickest of them all. And I am the best, the most glorious. I am all of it, my nation beats with a living heart within my body of flesh and blood. My father, help me heal my body. Make me whole again.

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high,

Into that heaven of freedom, my father,

Let my nation awaken.

(Krishnaraj Rao is a prominent Right-to-Information activist and journalist based in Mumbai. He can be reached at thebravepedestrian@gmail.com)

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