A Prince may not bring dishonour to his kingdom
In times of strive for the sake of Christendom;
If he seeks spurious honours to feather his nest
And alienates a people who die for freedom.
A King is he who in high danger opts for sacrifice
Like Kattabomman seeking no excuse nor artifice
Met the East India Company’s Collector all alone
And fought his valiant way through gunfire malice.
The history of Tamil kingdoms in all ages gone by
Teaches us the same lesson made proverbial by
An Ettappan who in his insatiable envy of grandeur
Caused the ultimate Tamil Prince to hang high.
We live in a world where politicians are the real Princes
Who wear no crowns but their ministerial pince-nez;
Yet other captains struggle against such fait accompli
And in jungles forge a human bulwark of chances.
It’s not the cherry on the icing that makes a cake
If underneath the slender icing over a lake
Wild worms bore at the crust raised in protection,
Won’t people then take a Kshastriya for a fake.
If you want to be king then let your voice be true
Renounce all wish to be ordained a true blue;
Let the people choose what they want for a crown
If they need you, will they not call upon you.
Uneasy the head which wears the realm’s crown
While the people fret and fume and frown;
See how caretaker John usurps the Lion-Heart’s throne:
Uneasier the head become the butt of a clown.
Lay aside all thought of fame
In the quest for a feudal name;
He who assumes an ancient title
Must prove worthy of the same.
© T.Wignesan March 2006 – Paris, France (from the sequence/collection: Words for a Lost Sub-Continent )