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Pradnya Bhim Sindhu

‘They’ decided to send ‘Us’ to a procession,

It was against the Police, they had beaten a ‘minor girl’,

‘We’ reached there with partial information —

It was an issue of a ‘minor-married girl’, she was gang-raped by the ‘priests’

She was beaten black and blue, by the police.

A newly married girl, her in-laws had rejected her after the incident

Police were claiming that her complaint was false,

‘We’ were then sent to the Hospital to bring her to the procession

And to console her and her family;

She was not given space in the hospital, she wasn’t treated

‘We’ were surprised to see her neutral, serene and quiet

It was shocking (for me)… how she can be so quiet?

But there was no way to seek the answer for my question

‘We’ along with a thousand others were shouting and raising slogans against the state and police

She was with ‘Us’ till the end of the procession…

She was simply walking; with the same expressions, she was still neutral

My questions were rising…..

Her attitude was making me enormously anxious

Some of ‘Us’ stood on stage, talked about the state retreat, abused it

But her eyes disturbed me, as if this procession was not for her.

Next day the news came… ‘She had burnt herself alive… she was dead’

I started getting answers for myself:

She could have set on fire to everyone who had raped her

She could have beaten the Police who had beaten her

She herself could have left behind those who had rejected her

She could have insisted the Doctors to treat her

She could have even killed those thousands who had come to the procession making

her the Victim, who had glorified her presence..!

In her last note she wrote ‘I’m peaceful now, I’m leading my own procession, I have asked for a war, because I’m problematizing my existence’

All my answers were rooted in her last note….

But now it was late to receive her message- ‘Problematizing my existence’!


Pradnya Bhim Sindhu: I wrote this free verse after an incident which I encountered in my fieldwork, 3 years ago. I was just 18 years old and had no ability to understand the situation. The organization where I was placed works on Atrocities against Dalits and especially with Dalit women, and there was a case of a minor Dalit girl who was gang raped. My poem gives an account of my experiences that followed this incident.

The state of confusion that I faced was because of my limited orientation about our world then. Who was I in the organization, who were the organizers, how do I relate to the girl, a girl from my community, what were all these terms that were being used, ‘We’, ‘Us’? As I started analyzing I started drawing connections with all the incidences that happens around our women, and started locating myself in it.
Frankly, I really cannot explain my position through this poem, but it just came out from my disagreement with the intense objectification and victimization of her and (us).


4 Responses to Problematizing My Existence!

  1. neerav patel says:

    Pradnya, a dalit girl who is minor and married is gang-raped by the priests, you say. and you say the system is not on the side of the victim but is supporting the oppressor. then your caption is poetic enough, but are you satisfied with such poetic justice? will your further poetry voice demand for real justice? the justice that can be done only by destroying the present social system of oppression and exploitation of the dalits and by establishing the new one free of them in its place?

    • Cynthia says:

      Neerav, your rhetorical questions need some concrete ideas. How does one go about destroying the system? Who will set the norms for the ‘new’ system of justice? How? Do not ask these questions of someone who is already saying she does not know. TO promote constructive forward movement, some workable solutions, even if short-term, are needed, and I think you must come up with them since you are asking the question.

  2. Geeta Charusivam says:

    Your poem is very raw and powerful Pradnya. And as you say, there are no simple answers. I have deeply felt this inclusion/exclusion politics in several groups that I have worked with. The subtle and covert ‘othering’ that takes place in supposedly safe spaces! It is very problematic, to say the least.

  3. Kanika says:

    Hi Pradnya,
    My name is Kanika Meshram and I am part of Ambedkar Mission from Australia. I am a lecturer from Melbourne University, Australia. I cant write more in this page but we are trying to get in touch with your. Can please give me your contact number or email.

    Kind regards

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