A social critique by Saadia Asad


I live in the city. I see all the blitz and glitz, tall, lighted buildings, wide roads carrying blazing, honking cars, shops keeping busy the buyers in filling their spacious bags……. I see it,  I see  it all…………..

Men leaving, lumbering for a day’s hard work, women waking up to daily chores, I watch it,  I watch  it all………….

Children…… all my thoughts come to a screeching halt…everything gets frozen……..   Children, all uniformed up for schools accompanied by their scrumptious lunchboxes, bags and parents……     I observe it…… I observe it all…………….

Who am I?  I am none of the above, yet I am a child. I am the rag boy , the same who wipes tables with a rag at roadside eateries, I am the rag boy who shines shoes with a rag at footpaths, I am the rag boy who cleans the dust off windscreens with a rag at traffic lights………….

Who am I? I am a child who crawls with bugs on wastes, I scavenge with stray dogs at dumpsters, I sleep out at night in the open with drugees………the night! Oh the terrible, terrifying nights. The nights with their gnawing, creeping, clutching hands, invading my privacy, depriving me of my decency………only leaving me to carry on with my work with the piece of rag. I endure it, I endure it all………

Where is the food for me?  Where are the clothes, the books for me? Where is the HOME for me? I am at the listening end of unfulfilled promises and receiving end of abuses. I bear it, I bear it all.

Look at me while I am wiping your windshields, shining your shoes, clearing away your left over food…… look into my eyes and answer it all:

I question, I question it all !

Saadia Asad


2 thoughts on “I AM A RAG BOY …….

  1. This beautiful expression captures in words the thought and emotion of Saadia that reach to the heart of human experience. Everyone who has an appreciation of the power of poetry, an art that reaffirms the soul, would find a blend of intimate feelings of friendship with life and grief of human misery.

  2. When reality of struggle is embedded with poetry it brings all the suffering on the surface. How well and how deep we are moved is not the answer. The truth is what are we going to do to bring a change in the lives of thousands or yet millions of rag boys. Each one of us has a challenge to combat this awful tragedy. Saddia has jolted us all. Keep up the good work.

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