He gazed at the ebony sky, his eyes glowing like magical stars with a desire to learn,
He was encapsulated by aspirations, for knowledge he had an insatiable yearn,
He lived amid a jungle, in the thick Amazon– yet his dreams were wild,
He dreamt of friends, blackboards and all that he had read in books- the fantasy of a child,
He closed his eyes to find himself in a school, surrounded by fun and frolic,
He didn’t find himself amidst riches nor in a majestic palace.
She stared into a window of her village shop that sold coloured bangles each day,
Her eyes were full of glee for she could go to her village school-she had earned enough today,
She lived in a coastal town of Pakistan– yet dreamed of a journey to the zenith and beyond,
She dreamt of the pursuit of knowledge-not princesses, palaces or a magic wand,
She sold utensils in the day, studied under the night light-many times under the moon,
Her textbooks were her best friends-they were her solace, her only boon.
Two parents with folded hands sat in front of the headteacher- “Please” they pleaded,
“Let our children study in this school, we have nowhere else to go”-they repeated,
He said- “They can’t study here anymore-this school is for the elite castes.”
Two children in India-their shoulders drooping as they walked out of the school gates,
They dreamt of a school where they wouldn’t need to sit apart from the others,
A school where they would be treated as equal, not inferior to their brothers.
An empty classroom, children but no teachers-somewhere teachers but no children too,
Hollowness like in the middle of the desert-chalks, classrooms, pens-all so few,
Somewhere a girl child restricted from achieving her potential-being treated like a slave,
Another country-some miles away black children can’t attend school for they were sold into trade,
Another city-a specially-abled little boy in his wheel chair-hopeless and ceased by despair,
His life, his education, his knowledge-constrained by the limits of his small wheelchair.
196 countries, thousands of children-they all deserve to be educated and make their living,
They all have the right to strive for zenith, and to hold books, from the very beginning,
One teacher, one student, one pen, one pencil and one book- that’s all to make a start,
The passport to the eradication of poverty, oppression and discrimination, lies within our hearts,
If the world comes together, we all stand to educate, we will make the world a paradise,
Chart the most extraordinary destiny of each ordinary child’s life.
This poem was first published as a part of the ‘Takthe Voice of Views.’