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
I am now stark dark Kali
With flying tresses