BILKIS YAKUB RASOOL

BILKIS YAKUB RASOOL

 

1

Bilkis! you are not  Lucrece

you have no lily hand

or rosy cheek and your

eyes are not marigolds,

hair not golden threads either

or skin snow white.

2

and why not?

you are harmless

you are a pure woman.

and you are marauded

not in feather-bed

but on a fleeing highway truck,

not by king Tarquin

but by a gang of lecherous, leprous poltroons

and the site of sacrilege is not Ardea

it is Dahod.

3

truck seized

and gale of carnage begins.

men murdered

and children smashed to death.

blood spilled over your frightened face,

You were mere nineteen then

‘wrapped and confounded in a thousand fears’

and your child groans in pain

in your bruised belly.

for how many hours?

who knows?

storm rages and ravages

crows and jackals feast on

the  remnant entrails.

and you swoon stark  naked,

hands and legs blackened

body hauled, mauled  by foul usurpers’

crooked  beaks.

4

you too plead as Lucrece does:

‘Thyself art mighty; for thine own sake leave me:
Myself a weakling; do not then ensnare me:
………………………………………..
My sighs, like whirlwinds, labour hence to heave thee:
If ever man were moved with woman moans,
Be moved with my tears, my sighs, my groans:’

but prayers fall deaf to the ears

of the falcons

who bound and harm

you  in their hated noose.

they leave you dead,

for then you hardly breathe ,

but by miracle or god’s bless

you find a home

under a nearby tribal shade.

5

you are not Lucrece

you never mourn,

bold and fearless you are.

you are a saga of our cruel time.

you are a lighthouse

which signals thousand

storm-tossed ships

to a safer harbour of earned solitude.

Lucrece welcomes Tarquin

and he threatens her

either to give her body

or be a witness to her dishonour

and against her will

Tarquin rapes her.

but lousy lepers

are not your wooers

they are  fomented parasites,

and with the aid of leaping flames

they are always fit  to  go berserk

and cause mayhem and kill

either for a drop of  a coin

or to prove their insouciant mettle

6

are you not Lucrece?

have you no Collatine

to wreak vengeance on the wrongdoers?

these questions are irrelevant.

Yakub can not be  Collatine

for he is not king’s man,

a bare  cattle-trader,

and there is no Brutus

to accompany him either.

7

but sister you alone outweigh

thousand Collatines

and outshine all of us.

you avoid self-immolation,

bear onslaughts of poisonous fangs

and alone at dark nights writhe in pain.

you are a woman born to flourish

and your leafy leaves will spread

ever to the unsullied sun.

you fight for your embryo

and for your race for long fifteen years

and withstand countless calls of threats,

blemish you bear till last breath

and honour too,

and you are more beautiful

than  thousand Lucreces.

shameless we are!

The ‘sivilized’ torch-bearers

who write poetry

on moons and flowers

and high ideals of life too,

if not at your cost

but your sisters and children

living in ghettoes or slums or fleshy areas.

8

nameless, disfigured, mutilated

you are a site of resistance ,

a symbol of power and honour due

you are more than Brecht’s Mother Courage

you are not a tradeswoman

but you too sing in Mother’s voice

‘The blood they spill for you is red, sir.

What fires that blood is my red meat.

For meat and soup and jam and jelly

In this old cart (truck) of mine are found:’

and your flesh eaters are not men of war,

they are rioters, a mob of rootless and

ignoble moribund descendants

of a great old and rich CULTURE

we are proud of.

9

you are not a mere rape-riot-survivor,

you are a living legend,

far more nobler

far more gracious than

all the living idols

we worship and waste!

you bear thousand scars

of mutilations in faith and fortitude,

and with sheer determination

you knock hundred doors

for justice.

you will not be awarded

for your brave deeds,

And the peace keeping agencies

of the world are wary

and the upholders of law  quarrel

in compensatory calculations.

10

the Romans show Lucrece’s

bleeding body through Rome

to publish Tarquin’s foul offence

and they eternally banish him.

but you hardly need one

to show your bruised soul,

you are stubborn and rigid,

and never do you lament,

you calmly bear your wounds

through all these odd years

and there lies your strength

and singularity.

Hey! Pure woman!

you deface us

and mow our towering heads

by each stroke of our clocks.

you are blackened

and with you we too.

and I know with my words

i never reach to the depths of your agony

houses burnt, dear ones killed,

before your blood-sodden eyes.

only the first hand sufferers

across the afflicted, ravaged lands

of our beautiful earth

can stare at your lusterless eyes.

we have no courage,

sorry! dear sister.

11

you are not a name

you are an imperishable

symbol of protest

against thousand ills

we daily manufacture.

if our walls be pasted with pictures

for our girls’ endurance

only one picture is enough,

and that is yours.

can a day be named,

after Bilkis Yakub Rasool?

preposterous!

i know.

my friends,

you have the power of knowledge,

and you know many a light year better.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Tremendous

  2. Sir, I’m mum going through your article. Methink it’s, of course, a mirror which brings the oppresssion and suppression of women to light of present wretched plight of our globe. Nowadays woman harassment has become daily and occasional agenda of mass media. And matter of deep concern that innumerable writers and social workers are showing their insouciance, indifferent and care free attitude towards this type of unavoidable happenings. But you did that, you hold your fervent pen. Hat’s off sir!

    1. thank you brother for elaborating and commenting so meticulously on the poem. stay blessed.

  3. A timely letter to the conscience of the keyboard poets, an evocation of the classical myth with the 21st century saga.

    1. humbled dear sir. grateful for your brilliant comment.

  4. Wonderful sir!

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