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Mainstream, VOL 61 No 32, August 5, 2023

Women Of Manipur | Sagari Chhabra

Saturday 5 August 2023, by Sagari Chhabra


To strip women,
parade them naked
and then assault;
was this the civilization
that brought the Empire to a halt
by making salt?

In Manipur, the Ima market
led solely by women,
dressed in lungis:
red, blue and green,
had been the cynosure of all eyes;
who created the divide, o fie,
between Meiteis and Kuki Zos;
who turned neighbours
into warring foes?

Is it the greed of minerals
and malachite,
buried in this land,
that propelled the powers
to occupy and mine;
but first the tribals must move
from a land so fine.

Who instigated peace-loving people
to shoot, rape, kill, maim;
a land blessed by the gods
is now crying in shame.

When the game of politics subsides
who really survives;
how does one assuage a child
clinging to a kitten for warmth,
at a refugee camp;
who snuffed out the lamp of her eyes,
who will heal a trauma of this size?

Stop the violence
her eyes seem to beseech,
but she is met with a deafening silence
amidst an endless siege.

Sagari Chhabra
27 July ‘23

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