Holi Fire

“...the police had registered a case against a resident, Sanjay, who, according to eyewitnesses, was mainly responsible for the crime...However, Sanjay is yet to be arrested ...”
Hindustan Times - 12th March 2009

In mythic time, when Gods walked on the Earth
Hiranyakashipu, the King of Demons,
Ordered the death of his wayward son.
Holika, daughter of the demon King,
walked her brother into a flaming pyre
(she was protected by a magic shawl).
Her brother, Prahlada, had no shawl, just faith
in holy Vishnu, who held back the flames.
Holika, her shawl blown away, was killed.
We celebrate her roasting as Holi.

This year a Dalit boy was set alight,
thrown onto our celebrations bonfire.
His crime? A birth too low, and too dark skin.
Rajesh, aged 12, like Prahlada, lived. This time.

Kaspalita is a novice monk in the Order of Amida Buddha. Ususally based in the UK, he's just spent six weeks in Delhi, teaching Buddhism to Dalit children, and running services for their parents.

(author retains copyright)