We, the Women of Our Land

Thus came the judgement,
the Supreme Commandment—
go back, you woman,
you delicate soul—
we were told,
go back to where you belong;
the home and the hearth,
for it’s chilly outside,
the vagaries of winter,
you may not be able to bear—
is this becoming of a respectable woman—
the lord asked.

Your labour is unrecognised,
your lament unheard,
your lore forgotten;
even cattle have more clout than you;
how dare you march in mutiny?

(Voices in chorus)

We will not toil without yield,
we will not shed tears of pain,
we will not bow our head in submission,
we will not look downwards;
we rise, revolt, reaffirm—
we will raise slogans
that will speak a thousand times,
their golden words
will defy the crop of silence overrated,
we, the women of the land—
with no ownership written in law
but in blood, grime and lullabies—
will tread the soil on the Singhu border.

It’s not the freezing night
that sends shiver down our spine
but the ruthless, cold whip
of the liberalisation policy
that is set to drive away us,
the small and the marginal
from the land we till, the fruits
of our labour—
to endless cycles of deprivation
and indignity,
of the spine-chilling statistics
that grace bulletins as farmers’ suicide.

For it is us women—
daughters, wives and mothers—
whose food, clothes, sanitary napkins,
hunger, sleep, happiness,
get cut;
neglect and abuse
rise in a shrill crescendo
as lonely nights ring in desperation.

So, how is not our battle against
the mighty lords, the corporate bogey?

We are not meek,
ignorant or incoherent,
we wear our badge of revolt,
the yellows of our dupattas,
the reds of our caps, the greens of our kameez,
are unapologetic,
we are battered and bruised,
From Tikri to Red Fort—
we are bound in an
invisible circle of sisterhood,
making history,
performing stories to be told to
our grandchildren.

Patrilineal laws have wronged us much,
but here we are to reclaim the
space of public protest,
to make us visible,
As we are the unsung heroes—
Across Punjab and Haryana—
our stories are engraved in kitchens,
courtyards and fields,
stories of caring, cooking, cleaning,
stories of tilling, ploughing, sowing,
stories of raising generations,
stories of strength and resilience.

This is the fight for our soil,
a revolution for our rights,
a demand for our dignity,
a resolution for our future;
We, the women of our land,
it’s a battle for our men,
it’s a battle for us women,
We are rewriting imagination—
For a farmer is also a woman.


We are not mellow,
coy, or uncouth,
the cracks of our heels,
the grit on our lips,
the lines on our foreheads,
the sweat on our palms,
are but witnesses to our
but we don’t cry in sorrow,
as we demand what is ours.

Sanhati Banerjee is a Kolkata-based independent journalist.

Featured image credit: PTI