The Best of all the New Year's Messages I have received

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Amongst all the New Year’s messages I received this year, the first one was from Power and Information Minister Mr. Arun Kumar Sahoo, which, like the previous year, bears in poetic form his dialectic sojourn between the village and the Town.

When Orissa played host to the 74th session of Indian History Congress in 2013, the Card from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, with his wishes for 2014, has come with a picture of a stone sculpture from Orissa’s historic Buddhist monument, the Konark Temple, befitting to the occasion.

Yet, better than the many is the Card from my dear friend and elder brother, Journalist Barendra Krushna Dhal. Receiving his New Year’s Greetings every year has become a part of my life. In that, included are wishes from Bhauja, his beloved wife Snehalata Dhal (and the family). He makes it special by writing in his own hand my name, despite the nice printing. And, to tell the truth, every year I wait anxiously for his Card to arrive.

But the ‘Best’ amongst all that I have received this year, is the one from my son Saswat Pattanayak. Like all other years, his message is in his poetry written for the entire mankind. I share it here with the esteemed visitors to this site.

Unlock the New Year: Let Ourselves Prevail

“Where the mind is without fear”
and whistleblowers roam free
Prisons abolished; die with them,
values all reactionary

Where the world exults in differences, 
amidst sheer diversity
Supremacism ends; cease with it,
any collective adversity

Where ideas spring from 
challenged truths, broken promises
Perfection wound up; sought after 
no more are divine images

Where faith is exposed as 
a hopeless quest, of oppressed states
Reason, power and strength too 
seen as elite privileged quests     

Where rape no longer a metaphor, 
nor millionaires act commoners
Celebrities awaken the conscience, 
not as profiteers, accumulators 

Where the admired do not endorse wars, 
nor dwell in charities 
Corporate czars get caught 
faking empathies, moralist vanities

Where the homeless are not recruited
to clean nuclear mess
Working class emphatically organizes,
not rescued under duress

Where marginalized empowered, 
seeking no solace in a pope
Into such a year of radical possibilities,
immense in its scope

To undo, to unlearn, to find right here – 
both heaven and the hell
To end holy patriarchies and capitalism, 
let ourselves prevail.

– Saswat Pattanayak, peoples’ poet.

(the above verse is inspired by Tagore’s poem from Gitanjali ).

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