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Poem: O pillars of democracy save our health save our people

Poet’s Note: This poem was written following a recent recommendation of a parliamentary committee to limit pictorial warning on tobacco products to just 50%. I think this is an atrocious recommendation, which needs to be rolled back.

Dr Shridhar Dwivedi
Dr Shridhar Dwivedi

O pillars of democracy save our health save our people

It is said,
Democracy is for the people of the people by the people,
Then how come despite current ravaging pandemic,
Heart attack high blood pressure stroke cancer,
Diabetes debilitating lung diseases obesity so rampant I

Thanks to cruel hand of tobacco and smoking,
Custodian of welfare democracy and republic,
Feigned ignorance recommended shockingly,
Reducing pictorial warning just fifty percent I

Entire world knows tobacco is a silent killer,
Have four thousand toxins in its fold,
Poisons each cell ignites lethal oxidants,
Throws heart’s powerful pump out of gear I

Genesis of oral cancer instils mortal fear,
Lungs pant for breath smoker left in tears,
Young become cripple due to this lethal spear,
Turned speechless helpless stroke in his share I

Our saviour vanguard of billion plus people,
Why destroy the health of this great nation,
Don’t play havoc fulfil your dream electoral promises,
Nation first not tobacco baron strings or pushes I

How will country stand on its feet with sickness all around,
Painful agonizing beholders of this great country so unsound,
Parliamentarians press mass media opinion makers stars abound,
Advocating supporting advertising surreptitiously poison so profound I

What a travesty of democracy and truth,
People are fighting on streets campuses and courts,
Charade of ‘Azadi’ but no ‘Azadi’ from this real villain,
Maiming thousands in slums villages street and lane I

Come on my countrymen leaders law makers who enjoy public goodwill,
Lead from the front wage a war a crusade against this deadly evil,
Remember pictorial warning a proven weapon to fight this mammoth peril,
All pillars of democracy save our health our people rein this devil I

Dr S Dwivedi
Senior Consultant Cardiologist
National Heart Institute, New Delhi

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