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The Barefoot Saviour (poem)

The Barefoot Saviour

by Bashabi Fraser
In honour of Dr Binayak Sen, a doctor and human rights activist jailed in India

The metalled road peters out
Where the dirt track begins
Its joyless journey to the villages
Where unlighted lives spend
Listless nights undisturbed
By a country boasting of a boom
Which has not penetrated millions.
This is where a barefoot doctor
Laboured against the lack of sanitation
And drinking water, opportunity
And change, bringing succour
To survivors of famished farmlands.
He and his unarmed troops strove to
Treat all who sought him out,
Deliberately blind to the differences
Of class, caste and party colour
But staunchly loyal to the Hippocratic Oath
 To protect his patients’ sanctity. 
Unbending now in the face of incarceration
In a monastic cell, he is doomed 
Like the people he sought to save, 
To oblivion, languishing
As the law evades him in a violation
That curbs his freedom to heal.

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