by Zeenath Jahan
Dedicated to all the girls slaughtered at their fathers and brothers false ‘honour’.
I call out in the peopled emptiness
Mouthing my words to the hearing deaf,
Shaking the babbling mute to speak up,
For each sordid crime against a woman;
Deafening silence, greets my plea
“Won’t you love your female child?”
The girl born to your house that night
The mewling helpless little babe
Reaching out in faith and trust
Not seeing the gun hid behind your back!
Do you remember her joyous, high-pitched squeals,
When you threw her in the air in play?
And did her shrieks not rend your heart
When she prayed for her life that fateful day?
Do you remember her first lisped word, ‘Baba’
While looking at you with love in her eye?
And were not those eyes dark and puzzled,
When you lifted the gun, against the darkening sky?
Do you remember the warm little hand in yours
When you took her to the fair to add to her joy?
Did she raise that hand in prayer that day
When you took her life in such a blinding rage!
And why did you do such a horrible deed?
And how do you sleep in your bed each night
Warm and soft and full of ease
While your daughter fills a hole in the ground,
Unmourned, unloved and unmissed?
What was the crime she paid for so dearly?
What excuse do you have for this hour so darkly?
She had chosen her mate the day they first met!
Dreaming happy dreams, she had hummed all day
Never thinking this day she would live to regret
Never knowing Love was such a dire threat
She never wanted the one you marked for her
(A stranger she did not even like!)
But you denied the choice she proclaimed
Putting a bullet through a heart filled with Love.
Whoever thought Love would be the sad crime
The crime that she suffered for so cruelly
In blood and sorrow, tears and shame
For you believed your ‘honor’ betrayed!