The common man

Hmmm – who is the actual common man?

It seems to be RK Laxman’s pseudonym.

The image that jumps to mind is the person

in the checked coat and specs – remember him?

 

Moving ahead from cartoons and political satire,

how can we define the common man?

Which strata of society does he fall under?

And why don’t we talk about a woman?

 

Is he part of the minority that pays taxes?

IS he the one who goes to offices to work?

You know, the software engineer, the manufacturing industry employee,

the accountant, the manager, the peon or the clerk?

 

Or has he fallen a tad lower?

Does he belong to the group that cannot afford food?

Or does he form part of that increasing tribe of people,

who set out to do something good?

 

Is he the follower or the fan club member of a superstar?

Is he the cobbler, the greengrocer or the small shop keeper?

Is he the drunkard and the idler who beats his wife?

Is he the bargainer wanting to get things cheaper?

 

Is he the small-time farmer toiling in the fields?

Is he the agricultural laborer or the milkman?

Or does he belong to the petty criminals?

You know the ones who conned you and ran?

 

Actually, you know it really doesn’t matter

what he does or what he earns.

Whether he is a millionaire thrice over

or doesn’t earn enough to file his income tax returns.

 

So long as he is a citizen of the country,

he has a social conscience to boot.

He raises his voice against injustice,

his convictions have strong roots.

 

It would be really wonderful

if the might of the common man is harnessed.

to attack corruption, petty crime and bribery.

Then India can really progress.

 

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