The new Mildewed Millennium

When the foetus was murdered

None felt her quiver of voiceless protest

When the witch was slaughtered

Her intense raucous cries were just grotesque

Between the female foetus and the witch

Falls the shadow of the woman

Her anointed conditioned reflexes too narcotized to resist

Marinated in cruel tradition and custom, as they insist.

Though tribal Dopdi flings off her sari in disdain

Though Mrinal and Satyabati break off their chains

Yet Roop Kunwar did burn in helpless rage

As jubilant eye witnesses eagerly gazed.

Daring Taslima had to leave her home

In sad strange places now she roams.

Even now alas. the mined terrain explodes

As she turns into that avenue unexplored

Not just breasts, vagina and uterus she

Fact, figures and fiction all agree

Yet the unwept tears of the foetus

The wild outcry of the witch

Rage through time’s corridors

As deaf he-man sneers behind closed doors.


Dopdi –main woman character in Mahasweta Devi’s short story, ’Draupadl’ Mrinal — woman character in Rabindranath Tagore’s short story, “Streer Patra”,”The Wife’s Letter”. She leaves her marital home after fifteen years of marriage.

Satyabati — main roman character In Ashapurna Devi’s novel Pratham Pratisruti, The First Promise. She leaves her marital home after thirty years of marriage

Roop Kanwar — burnt alive as sati on her husband’s funeral pyre in

Rajasthan on Septemtber 4, 1987

Taslima – Tasllma Nasreen, the exiled Bangladeshi woman writer.


On my seventeenth birthday

My mother gave me a silk saree

The soft swish of the silken pleats

The shimmering, seducing cloth

Caressingly clung to my lissom limbs

Shielded my ripening bosom from hungry stares.

The saree folded me with care

I folded myself into the saree

Till years later I suddenly saw

My legs were lost alas!

Shrouded in five metres of graceful cloth

Draupadi’s textile trap!

“ Shame” is the glutinous lotion

Clogging the woman’s breathless pores

Stepping out of textiles

Stripping to be herself at last

She is the sky-clad dusky Kali

Shining rapier in uplifted arm.

A garland of skulls round her neck

The dark woman warrior

In tempestuous rage

Flings off the shame-shielding textile

Night-shawled Kali on the kill–

Woman Terminator annihilating shame — enforcing demons.

Where, oh, where are my legs

Those strong, long limbs

That made me race through the fields

Playing with the gusty spring wind

Climbing guava trees

Perching in the comforting hollow of a banyan tree.

Now enfolded, slowed, shackled in cloth

Lifelong imprisonment of shameful vulgar limbs

I hide and seek lifelong

Saree shackled woman

Crippled but with limbs intact-

Waits and waits and waits

For that midnight hour

Of metamorphosis-

I am now stark dark Kali

With flying tresses


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