Black Man, Black Man.. won’t you cry for me?


Black Man, Black Man… won’t you cry for me?

Tell me how can I sleep tonight? 

This is a picture that appeared in the Indian Express a week ago. A political figure of sorts (the speech writer of a previous Prime Minister) had his face blackened in Bombay, because he dared (oh, what sacrilege…) to host a Pakistani gentleman and to launch his book. His face was blackened by a mob-like party, the Shiv Sena. He said, ‘bugger you’ to them, and he sat through the book launch with his face blackened.

He had courage.

After his face was blackened, the ruling party’s people suddenly woke up, and started to talk against the rising tide of intolerance in India. When a man was killed in Dadri, they were quiet and the Prime Minister commented that such murders have nothing to do with the Central Government, and were a state matter.

When the face of of their own was blackened, they changed their tune.

Our Father in the Heaven’s so bright

Is smirking and smiling all night

Sadly, there is an old racial stereotype in all this, and India alone is not guilty of this racial stereotype. Blackening a face is supposed to bring shame.

The bogeyman was always black.

Yet, whether you are white, black, yellow, brown, green or blue – it is your actions that define you, not the colour of your skin. However, stereotypes live on.

The Devil is in the world we like

Taking all that we have to give.

Subsequent to this, another gentleman’s face was blackened, because he dared to have beef. Another person was beaten and tied to a tree, because he was suspected of carrying ox-hide.

Girls are raped, our reputation is in tatters, and yet the mad men run amok.

We worship him, who gives us greed

We think it’s all we need

Ghulam Ali, the renowned Pakistani singer has now declined to sing in India, and we in Delhi are the poorer for this.

An Australian was beaten, taken to a police station, and asked to write a written apology for having the tattoo of a Goddess on his ankle.

We lie, we kill, we cheat and still

We think we have a clean bill.

Is this KaliYug, the Age of Darkness, or the last days of it?

Religion, all religions, teach us love and respect for one another. Where did it vanish?

On this, Dussehra day, the forces of evil were said to be vanquished, long long ago, in the days of the Ramayana.

I wonder. I wonder. I wonder.

Black Man, Back Man…. won’t you cry for me?

Tell me how can I sleep tonight.


  1. Politics should work for the benefit of all and not be the mouthpiece of religious factions. The freedom of speech should be enshrined in every constitution. Those politicians who seek to impose their religious viewpoint on everyone should be censured. In India all men are not yet equal and women are not fully emancipated. This is sad for the world’s largest democracy. Intolerance is the bedfellow of too many politicians.
    Well done Rajiv.

    1. Thanks a lot! Yes. We mess up a lot when it comes to religion. Maybe, I have reached the age of cynicism where I believe that religion is arrogated and twisted by men & women in power for their own ends

  2. Wonderful post, Rajiv. I love the poem you have interspersed throughout your post. Did you write it? You have questioned the role of religion brilliantly here and how we as a society have fallen short of its ideals.

    1. Hi Patti… Yes, I wrote that little bit of doggerel. It was inspired, in a large part, by Long John Baldry’s song called “Black Girl”..

      1. You have to agree!
        I decided to postpone my “Journey To Hell” Project to 2016… Also, The Fables Of The Shah Of Blah

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