March 16, 2010

To the children of Varanasi

Oh Akash,
you work for your father in electronics
instead of going to school
Oh Pujina
you sell postcards to tourists
but you cannot read or write
Oh Rahini
you sell flowers
all night long
class is not important
Oh children of Varanasi
Your families rely on your labor
Do they see the value in literacy?
Or does the income from these tiny sales suffice?
You will only become as good as your parents
You can only follow in their footsteps
They know not how to stray from this path
Oh mother and father
Why not give them the tools to be better than you?
Maybe I am ignorant
I do not understand what it is like to support your family
Isn't it fair?
He is part of the family so he must work
Children are able
We need that income
But listen!
Postcards, flowers, tourists and commissions,
These may provide some change for food
But never the enlightenment
Of real knowledge
Never the power of education
Oh child,
Won't you please come to school?

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