Did I once suffer, Subhas, at your hands?

Your patriot heart is stilled, I would forget!

Let me recall but this, that while as yet

The Raj that you once challenged in your land

Was mighty; Icarus-like your courage planned

To mount the skies, and storm in battle set

The ramparts of High Heaven, to claim the debt

Of freedom owed, on plain and rude demand.

High Heaven yielded, but in dignity

Like Icarus, you sped towards the sea.

 

Oaten was a school teacher of Subhas Chandra Bose. He is said to be a racial person. Once when he offended the students and when he refused to apologize, a group of students under Subhas Bose thrashed him one day in school. It is not known whether Bose thrashed his teacher, but what is known is that he refused to name those who thrashed him. That almost ended his education career. This thrashing created a new word in English – oatenize, meaning to thrash your teacher. We don’t know why Oaten wrote this poem on Bose and what was the chemistry between them, but this poem saw light years after the incident.

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