Thursday, March 12, 2009

11:18 AM - 1 comment


This is Vinita Deshmukh's editorial published in the March 6 issue of Intelligent Pune weekly tabloid. It's about the futility of celebrating International Women's Day against the backdrop of female foeticide which is prevalant even in educationally and culturally rich cities like Pune.

Do you want to kill me, Mamma?

When God sculpted you, he fell short of mud
So, you were born a baby girl!
They sulked, they baulked at such bad luck
No one rejoiced when you came into this world

They were in a hurry to give you a brother
Not because you needed company, but to mend their bruised ego
But when you got a sister instead
No one rejoiced when she came into the world.

Then they decided to fight God, nature, injustice, law
To ensure it is a brother, the next time round
When invasive tests proved you would get a sister again
They said to kill her even before she was born.

I am sorry but after that, there were two more murders
For again your would-be-sisters were hacked in my womb
Once more they avariciously said – this time luck would favour
And lo behold, it was a male foetus – allowed to flourish in my womb.

Now, they say ours is a happy and complete family
As a heir has finally been born to savour the legacy.
My girls, you would now be showered with more affection
As you have a brother to boast of in the family.

I don’t want to kill you child, but in birth your torture has begun
They only say education and prosperity has brought woman power
But the undercurrents of discrimination are overpowering
Save for oasis of appreciation, your achievements are a cropper.

Your fraternity has invaded male bastions and emerged triumphant
But that’s just a miniscule number, which too is fraught with contempt
If you are not a superwoman, and do not soothe the male ego
You are accused of high-handedness, arrogance, encroachment.

For the many of you, who have been tireless homemakers
Relentlessly working towards making a family and a warm home
Your acknowledgement reflects in taunts, sarcasm and belittling.
Sorry, no one rejoices, cherishes your contribution to this world.

Kalpana Sharma may have conquered space
Rani Jhansi may have been the epitome of valour
Such instances are thrown on your face like boiling water
To highlight your ineptitude of being similarly capable

If achieve you must, then YOU must muster courage
IF achieve you must, then YOU must sacrifice
If achieve you must, then YOU must be humble
IF achieve you must, then it CANNOT be at the expense of family.

This is not to take away credit from remarkable men
Who have let their wives/daughters blossom with magnanimity
Girl, it is just to tell you
That Woman’s Day celebration is a mere formality.

Until each one of us rejoices at your birth
Until each one of us reject and object to sex determination tests
Until such time my girl
Our existence is only `wanted’ to producing male heirs.

Until then my girl, we are only fooling ourselves
About equality between men and women
For, that does not come in the clothes you wear
…but in the embodiment of a fair spirit.

Very touching and so true. We urban women who have to bear lesser brunt of the burn should do something for empowering the lesser fortunate.