Poet – Anushna Jha
When she came into this world
She was cursed, her family blamed their stars
The atmosphere was that of gloom, not joy
The day was one of mourning, not celebration
Her mother silently prayed that she remained healthy
And then prayed along with her family that it should be a boy next time.
When she started speaking
She was told girls don’t laugh aloud
Her brother was told boys don’t cry aloud
She was told to learn to obey
He was told to learn to command.
When she wanted to go out and play
She was told that with her lay the respect of her house, that must stay within the threshold
She was taken to the kitchen, not to the classroom
She was taught how to clean, not to write
She was taught the values of sacrifice, politeness, and respect
Her brother was taught to imbibe valour, strength, and authority.
When she was made to succumb to the lewd fancies of that man
She was asked to shut up and forget
She was warned not to mention about it to anyone
She was told she’d lost her face, her honor, her respect
She silently asked, “When did I have honor and respect?”
She was physically viled by that man, but emotionally stripped off by her own family.
When she was forcibly made to take those seven rounds around the fire
She was basically gotten rid off, with a heavy price
She was sent to what they told her was her new home
If only they could realize that she had never ever felt ‘at home’ since she was born
She was told to take responsibility of the family that was now hers
Which essentially meant to cook, wash, care, and satiate the desires of her husband.
When she was tortured for more dowry
She was made to go back to her parents’ and ask them for money
She was sent to the jewelers and sell her gold for cash
After all this too, she was inflicted with multiple injuries on her body, soul, and mind
She was called by names she despised
She was cursed for reasons anonymous, yet well-known.
When she sold into prostitution by her husband
She was devoid of any feelings or emotions
She was saturated in every was she could be
She was pained enough and exhausted
She was done with her life
And this saw the end of that tormented, humiliated, oppressed woman.
What did this look like?
A story of an aggrieved woman? A narrative of a ‘bechari aurat’?
A story of a gradual death of humanity? A narrative of poor socialization?
Before this woman ceased to breathe, she wrote a new chapter of her life
She fought the forces of domination and tyranny
She raised her voice, loud enough to be heard
She demanded equality, and commanded respect
She met suppression with determination
She responded to chauvinism with rationality
And she succeeded, she won, she triumphed
Because in the hundred deaths they gave her, she sought her own life.