To The Dalit Girl From Hathras

I’m sorry that you came into a world,
a barbaric state which helped raise savarna boys
to think it was okay to rape.
And use rape as a tool of political oppression.
I’m sorry that you were born in a country
where Dalit lives don’t matter.
And that of a woman, definitely not!

I never personally knew you
but something broke inside
when I read about you.

Legs shaking,
beads of perspiration
goosebumps engulfing me –
I cannot imagine your lived sufferings,
but can relate to at least a fraction of it
to my own experiences and inhibitions as a girl.

How despite this confident woman
I may appear to be on the surface,
every time I step beyond the limitations
of where or what I’m supposed to be,
I fear those beasts will come
and grab me as they did to you
and no matter what, they will not be human.
They will do anything and everything they want
and leave me alone to die, as they did to you.

You were too loud, you protested,
is that why they cut your tongue?
Because in your screams echoed their guilt,
the last shred of humanity left in them,
urging them to stop?

And while you lay there,
your spinal cord and neck damaged,
your paralysis spoke
of the paralysis of an entire system,
deadened by its orthodox beliefs,
ingrained prejudices, ineffective action
and lack of stringent laws in place.
Have we been silenced, too,
by our oppressors and the games they play?

I can only envision with horror and numbness,
the countless rapes, murders and cremations.
Though not all were bestowed
to become the focal point
of political propaganda like you were.

I’m sorry that you were let down
by the country you were born in,
by the very people who were employed
to safeguard you.
I’m sorry that I let you down
and I’m sorry that humanity let you down.

There are candle marches
being organised for you right now,
people are protesting for you.
But don’t get your hopes high,
it will all be gone tomorrow.
And there will be a long silence,
until of course the next You
makes it to the headlines.

Annanya Chaturvedi, an English Lit major from Lady Shri Ram is a shrewd overthinker and sardonic scribbler, trying to make sense of the world through penning down her soul. You’ll find her satiate her artistic self by indulging in photography or poetry in her spare time.

Featured image credit: Thomas Mühl/Pixabay