Don’t we have more shrines than we need?

Don’t we have more shrines than we need?

If Faith truly in hearts resides…
Why raise walls to profess your creed?
If Faith, beyond four walls abides…
Don’t we have more shrines than we need?

Amid the grime, on each streetside…
Festooned sheds are as shrines decreed!
While street kids are their roof denied…
Don’t we have more shrines than we need?

Uncared, unsung heritage sites,
We’ll lose if we now pay no heed!
Let’s save Art, which neglect now blights!
Don’t we have more shrines than we need?

By our free nation’s Laws’ charter…
Freedom of worship’s guaranteed!
Why scream this through bricks and mortar?
Don’t we have more shrines than we need?

More wealthy shrines, studded and gilt?
Such excess seems wasteful indeed!
A nation’s waiting to be built!
Don’t we have more shrines than we need?

-Arvind Iyer
22nd September 2010