Today's Beautiful Gem:     `Democracy' by Langston Hughes.

                Langston Hughes was perhaps one of the first Afro-American poets
who was widely recognised in the US for his literary talents. In his days,
he used to make good money too! Recent elections in India was a great
exercise in the tradition of democracy. The populace cast its franchise
and expressed its free will. It is another story that it ended in a
stalemate. Whereas fiscal reforms increase the wealth of the country, its
distribution depends upon the policies of the government. However, if there
is too much inequity, the dispossessed populace raises its voice. The
following poem by Hughes belongs to that genre:

"Democracy will not come
Today, this year
       Nor ever
Through compromise and fear.

"I have as much right
As the other fellow has
       To stand
On my two feet
And own the land.

"I tire so of hearing people say,
Let things take their course.
Tomorrow is another day.
I do not need my freedom when I'm dead.
I cannot live on tomorrow's bread.

Is a strong seed
In a great need.
I live here, too.
I want freedom
Just as you."

Om s'aantih: Peace! - J. K. Mohana Rao