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).