“The pallbearers of Hathras: Indian patriarchy”
by a UP ki Bahu, if not Beti.
Dousing my shamed mortal remains with petrol
in the dead of night, without my family in sight;
witnessed by a lone orange marigold garland —
was it to appease my already incinerated body
ravaged by four men’s devastating lustful hate,
in which my soul was savagely sabotaged,
as in a rapid, sustained firing by machine guns.
Wasn’t this hurried attempt to light my pyre
in the hours when the ghouls feed, at 2am —
by police who are pillars of our tyrannical culture:
so much in line with societal norms to douse a soul
who might have endangered patriarchal honour;
to hide more shame she’ll bring on male pride!
The police act is unjustified to you, me, the world,
political parties, media gunning for them in turn;
but looked at in perspective of Indian values
of hypocrisy in blanketing female shame —
perceived to be a flag of honourable name,
whether of a family’s, village’s, clan’s reputation
that incites males to easily butcher on a whim,
then perhaps lament and cry the loss of their kin.
Why then wouldn’t the recent Hathras rape case
in a small remote village of Uttar Pradesh —
with the highest incidences of patriarchal clout:
not be the sincere attempt by police pallbearers
to have acted on behalf of the victim’s family
that in abject poverty and Dalit classlessness —
hasn’t considered age old repercussions
to ones family, village, and it’s own surname!
Aren’t the police also the upholders of patriarchy
that’s so entrenched in our misogynistic society,
even if we see it through coloured glasses —
of politics: then go raving mad and dispel rioting, and demonstrate our upbeat media theatrics
seeking to glorify women in paying for male sins,
that cannot be proven even if she cries hoarse
she has been assaulted — unless she dies of it:
Then bury her soul, as it’s stench is devastating!
— Shuvashree Chowdhury
PS: My upcoming new book that’s awaiting ISBN now, has Banaras in UP, as its main theme with 20 poems that include a lot of introspection on life, death, it’s culture and rituals. All with a fresh and may I say open minded, wise perspective, male or female notwithstanding.
More than that, I happen to be a UP ki bahu, from Kanpur…so I had to make and record my comments on such a case as that in Hathras.
Details of the new book…
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PS: Two days back when I wrote and posted the above poem, mentioning my intuitions and wisdom, with the possibility of honour killing as a cause, little did I know that this news in the link below will emerge so soon!
But with all the politics around this horrific situation and the media drama, to which you can add the alleged TRP scam, what can one really believe anymore and who knows what else will emerge! 🙁