Is Delhi a she city,
I think not
It's a city that has enshrined the ghosts
Of several male conquerors in interstices,
Delhi has waited
For its feminine liberators
They will come
From places you have imagined
They will be different people
Smelling of the pristine Bhagirathi
And we will count, count below zero
For their arrival
On Jaffna, the then a war-zone in Sri Lanka, Rao wrote in 2005:
Minefields and vegetable patches punctuate
The tinkling of bicycle bells of young women
Hair braided with red ribbons
Overriding the spoor of men with guns
Everyone a hero or heroine
Never mind which side you're on
Only the red badge of red to
Pin on your breast
Where everything else is red, pulverized dusts
Interestingly, another diplomat and 1981 batch IFS Amarendra Khatua represents a rare combo of poetry, diplomacy and trade negotiation expertise. His Ek Kavi Ka Khamosh Ho Jana was widely appreciated in the poetry circle. Excerpts from one of his poems:
One’s own silence pesters wayward motives
to branch out and emote in a
stabilised world of unfamiliar shadows.
Say it again, the familiar human touch
can be so monotonous that one will
prefer to stay back, at least knowing that
shadows are after all shadows, if
once can get hurt by absent images,
then knowledge have not reached yet
regarding what harms these harmless
shadows can bring upon.
For 1995 batch Odisha cadre IAS officer Bishnupada Sethi, poetry is a passion. His book, "My World of Words" is a collection of poems with an underlining theme that words are central to human existence.
Lying quietly on a wooden cot,
kept on the verandah of a mud hut,
I move my eyes slowly
like the rare waves
in the cool waters of a static lake.
You may wonder about me-
Relating to people like you,
while knowing that I do not have any name,
like other old members of the tribe
as naming was never our old tradition.
That was from a Sethi poem, titled “An Unknown Tribal”.
Other bureaucrat-poets include 1985 batch Haryana cadre IAS Vajai Vardhan whose “Ibadat - the breath of my soul” is a collection of haikus which is a form of Japanese poetry. Earlier, he had penned “Beyond the Great Beyond”.
Another Haryana bureaucrat and 1990 batch IAS Sumita Misra Singh was writing poems to herself till she was advised by author Khushwant Singh that she should allow others to appreciate her literary mind. Her poetry book is “A Light of Life”.