Palaniappan Of Theni

Palaniappan herds cows in the hills near Theni;
school he is enrolled in does not have a teacher,
windows gaping holes that offer entry to goats,
their pellets under tables still soft,
bulbs hang from exposed wires,
toilet is the bush beyond the banyan tree.
His father insists that he sits a few hours
at school with the children of the village –
mass of oily heads, sweaty bodies, loud vocal cords.
The day at school is done,
Murugan who owns the street corner tea shop
comes to ring the bell, in the belt
that holds his lungi at waist is the Tamil Daily
rolled tight as a baton to swat flies,
the Daily carries this headline:
Right to Education Bill effective from April.

Read Write Poem NaPoWriMo # 29

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9 thoughts on “Palaniappan Of Theni

  1. Loved the ending.The newspaper used as a fly swatter.Your poem makes me feel more than sad that those children are not being educated . I only hope these children are happy in their daily lives. Affluence has had the opposite oeffect on ours.

  2. i wonder what exactly is the sort of education we require to make progress? to know a language to understand the way of the wind… i cannot help but to question these things as i read thru the beauty of this poem… it is just as rich an education as the lines of his newspaper… uma, it is been a wonder to pass by thru your garden during the rwp napowrimo hopefully we shall pass again during other weekly prompts… a life in the day

  3. reflects the true state of affairs in this country. we are great at enacting laws but nobody follows through on their implementation. ur poem reflects the reality in many villages in the country.good, stark, down to earth, very real. good work.

  4. This does have beautiful, rich detail, Uma and helps make us realise that all of life is an education, even if not in the formal sense. But an entitlement to education is a great thing and every Palaniappan must ensure they receive it.

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