Walking barefoot, On the scorching-searing road
Melting in the heat of the sun, Carrying their bundle of hunger and thirst
Both have set out from the Big City, To return to their small house in their small village
The house, That is far, far beyond. The strength of their feet, And the resolve in their heart
Who knows how far away? When the gates of the factory
Were shut in their faces, When the contractor
Threw them out of a partly constructed building.
Who was there to look after them? There was no hope on any path
The city was deserted, Every building seemed as though a stranger
All the houses and shops, Had their eyes closed
And in that city, Where they had toiled for years
These two, Were aliens. Even the Houses of all the Gods were locked, Where could one go to beg?
Only a silence echoed all around, Even those loudspeakers were silent now
That would tell them till yesterday, Who they were
And what their true and complete identity was, Listen to us, they would say, and understand:
They are the sons of Babur, And you are the son of a Maharana
Your history is different from theirs, Your values are different from theirs
Your faith is different from theirs, And those loudspeakers too were silent now
That used to say: They are the worshippers of idols
And you are the soldiers of Ghazni, You are the steadfast walkers on the true path
Your belief is different from theirs, Your hopes are different from theirs
Even your destination is different from theirs, Your paths, too, are different
All the loudspeakers dispensing such wisdom and knowledge
Are silent now, And the two of them can see
Their path is the same, Walking barefoot
On the scorching-searing road, Melting in the heat of the sun
Carrying their bundle of hunger and thirst, They have been walking like this for centuries
Both burning alive from the fire in their bellies, Now, both have realised
There are only two castes in the world: Rich and poor
All else are lies.
Javed Akhtar has written the scripts of several well-loved Hindi films, penned lyrics that have won him five National Awards and is a former Member of the Rajya Sabha. He received the Padma Bhushan in 2007.