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Mainstream, VOL LVI No 1 New Delhi December 23, 2017 - Annual Number

The Battle Must Go On!

Sunday 24 December 2017

by Aishwarya Bhuta

Padmavati says—
It does not matter
Whether I was a queen
Or a figment of someone’s imagination.
They did not let me live.
Neither in dreams
Nor in reality.
 
Hadiya says—
But I am alive!
I voluntarily adopted another religion
And loved someone who followed it too.
They did not listen to me.
They labelled me as emotionally unstable
And imprisoned me.
 
Padmavati says—
Yes, you are imprisoned
And so am I.
The only difference is
You are in a house
While I was in a palace.
I was meant to be veiled.
 
Hadiya screams—
I want justice!
I want to go with my husband!
I want to study
I want to live as per my own choice!
The court annulled my marriage
And my father locked me up in my own house!
 
Padmavati sadly replies—
You can at least fight your battle!
For the world, I was a queen
But I was a slave indeed...
Always veiled; a princess and then a queen
I had no identity.
Jauhar1was my ultimate fate.
 
But you must not sacrifice yourself for your honour.
Do not back off; no matter how much they threaten you.
Mighty warrior! Keep the flames burning!
You are living for yourself; do not die for them!

Footnote

1. Jauhar— self-immolation performed by Rajput women in order to protect their honour; to avoid being captured or raped, when it was certain that their husbands would be defeated by invaders.

Aishwarya Bhuta is a recent graduate in the social sciences. This is a translation of her own poem ‘Ladaai jaari rakhna’ originally written in Hindi.

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