Today, 12 October, is International Girl Child Day . There’s been too much in the news recently for me not to write this piece. Not Fit To Be Born is not a poem (I can’t write poetry). It’s just something that flowed out of the anguish I feel each time I read about some fresh hell that a young girl or a woman has been put through in India and abroad.
Not Fit To Be Born
Is that what we’ve been reduced to?
Not fit to be born – we’re slaughtered in the womb.
If allowed to be born
Then we’re a curse.
Best kept at home –
Another pair of hands to work
To serve father, brother, uncle
Sometimes serving their baser needs.
If allowed to be educated
Then we must be eternally grateful.
To school and back must we go
Not allowed to venture far
Because it’s not safe.
Not allowed higher education
Because ‘what’s the use, when she gets married?’
If we’re allowed a higher education
Then it’s best that we choose ‘safe’ careers
Work in an office or a school
A 9 to 5 job is best.
But we’re not safe in these places either.
We’re not even safe in convents
Where we can be raped by Bishops!
If we get married, it must to someone of our family’s choice
Same religion, the same caste
If not, it’s open season:
You can hack our spouse in front of us
You can cut off our arms
You can tie us to a tree and beat us senseless …..
After all, what are we but pawns in your hands…..
You do not spare us
Child, young girl, adult or old woman
We’re fodder for your abuse – verbal, physical, sexual and emotional.
You even rape us with your words and with your looks
And always we’re to blame
For dressing in a certain way
For behaving provocatively
For turning you on!
And should we dare to rise up,
Should we venture to share our stories
You are quick to silence us
To mock us and shut us up.
It’s open season for you
To troll us and harass us…
For we are merely pawns
Victims of your patriarchy.
But there comes a time
When victims can’t take anymore
When they rise up in revolt
And topple kings and queens
When they question practices
And start to demolish systems.
Our time has come
Better late than ever
We’ll take on patriarchy
In all its forms
Together we’ll fight
And together we’ll win
In October, I started writing a series called 31 Days about Living A Principle Driven Life. Since I wasn’t able to complete it then, I’m doing so now. You can follow my posts here.