I’m a woman in hijab
I’m sometimes a Devi, at others just shabab
The bondage of the sendur, the suppression of a Naqab.
The moment I want to shed, you shudder and you cringe,
Yet me and mine for centuries, have been on fringe.
You tell me I should know my place and have grace
You tell me 50 percent of humanity, this world has no space
For me and mine, unless we succumb
To your rule, and stay under your thumb.
A ‘chinki’ from Assam, A ‘chikni kudi’ from punjaab
You barely even recognize us as individuals,
what to say of our names and identities junaab?
By the way, could you call your sister ‘maal’
Or maybe your mother ‘chhinaal’?
Which by the way means ‘object’ and ‘slut’ like you call us all.
You can’t call your sister or mother that
But wait, isn’t that for your Jiju and dad?
To call them these names while all of you together,
Look at me and mine from these frames?
You laugh it off, sometimes participative, rarely apologetic,
mostly a spectator of the game.
You, yes you. You my friend drive the culture of abuse,
the culture of silence, and the culture of shame!
WHAT are you so afraid of?
WHY are you so keen?
On holding on to a past
That has long ONCE been.
Why does my freedom scare you?
Why does my freedom scare you,
My freedom in body, mind and soul?
Why does it scare you?
Why does it scare you,
Me being perfect, complete and whole.
© Anupama Garg 2019