My Lords, “Rajas” and “Chaudhrys”
How you tire in your claims?
Born to “nobles” “lineages” high
your’s is ‘nobility’ supremely entrenched!
Of past glories, “Jaghirs”,
of providence unchecked
You accept your fate with elated breath
But what good are titles of ancient fiefs?
When your wards of providence have to earn their keep!
In dirty mills, on rickety legs,
they make cause to share their spoilt beds.
As you expend your labour for servitude’s sake
Their hues blackened by England’s sooty roots
Is this your ‘nobility’?
Then surely the nobles are dead!?
And in their courts, on their cushions,
sit egos bloated of dubious breeds.
Like shepherds galore waylaid by bony sheep.
And still you sing the old hymns in paupers’ drapes
In full glare of your “Kammis”, your dues are due, in toil shared
But you are our “Earls” and you are our “Dukes”?
In whose memory many defile the path of nobility and grace
and so I marvel in bemusement and despair,
Oh the shame it would take for you to feel the whip of one flippant quip?
As you crack wise jokes about the ‘bereft’ and their ‘muddled’ ways!
Ennobled “menials”, ennobled “serfs”,
What are we but orphans of an age long gone?
As highborn or low, with riches or none,
Flattery indeed is the ‘honour’ we feign
For the ‘Realm’ we left and her ‘Poverty’ we fled,
They call us immigrant “Pakis” in this land of Blighty!
‘Rajas’/‘Chaudhrys’; titles of an Indian nobility class belonging to a patronage system; ‘Jaghirs’; fiefs’/landed estates; ‘Nawabs’; Noblemen; ‘Durbars’; court; ‘Gaddees’; cushions/thrones; ‘Kammis’; low born/bereft (offensive); ‘Ghulams’; slaves
Read related article; Understanding titles of nobility and our culture of dispossession by Reiss Haidar