By Amrita De
I am done scavenging around for the flimsy morsel of reassurance that the authorities promise. Only in words – with a careless wave of their many pronged selves. False, beguiling words, that would never bleed any ink on paper or move a muscle.
Ligaments and tissues tendentiously entwined together, they stand as one irresolute mass. Encouraging degenerate practices with a smile, and a message of justice playing on their lips. Human rights officers they call themselves, while robbing men, women and children alike of their right to love, right to exist, right to breathe. Tearing them apart – strand by strand, tissue by tissue.
This body which has known evil at its basest and most exalted form will not see the clear light of the day. This body will unleash war.
I am tired of having to go through the same routine, day after day. Silently waiting at their offices, hours on an end. Waiting. Forever waiting. Waiting for them to hear my plea for justice. And what was my crime? That I dared to love outside their will, outside their jurisdiction!
I, an upper caste woman, had dared to fall in love with a Dalit woman. Dismantling the carefully constructed narrative of what is permissible and what is not under their fascist regime. At least, I still had access to their office. The right to plead my case while my lover had to go into hiding, scared to come out into the public. There was an angry mob baying for her blood. A price riding on her head. How dare she transgress the carefully demarcated territory of her existence and infringe on a space that has always been systematically and institutionally denied to people like her? How dare she dream of such an impossible dream? I could still be pardoned but her offence was unpardonable.
Slowly and surely, I stepped onto a stool, strategically positioning myself under the ceiling fan. I placed the noose securely around my neck and adjusted the length from the ceiling fan. The ending would be fast and painless but it would be a necessary ending. In order to usher in a new wave of change, the old must die. My death would become the stepping stone for new reforms. There shall be no such deaths again. There would be angry protest marches and frenzied sloganeering. Only then there shall be some movement. For a muscle to move, there has to be some sort of sacrifice. I had already premeditated the consequences. My body will act as the torch, which would unleash the fire that would burn them down, rob them of their rhetoric and false sense of glory. Older Gods shall be dismantled and newer ones shall be uplifted.
Or so I thought. This is how I wanted to be remembered in my death – through the shallow artifice of my embellished narrative that held the promise of some semblance of glory, at my death.
And then entwine. I kicked the chair away from my feet. Within seconds, I had drifted into a painless state of stasis.
The newspapers next day reported my death, as another failed instance of a fragile attempt by an upper caste emancipator to voice the suffering of the ‘need to be emancipated’ Dalit woman. There were no protest marches or fevered sloganeering.
No tears were bled. No muscles moved in the bodies that mattered. Only a few op-eds by self-fashioned liberals and aspiring emancipators wallowing in their echo chambers.
Just empty prose flickered in the humid sky, as the last light of the setting sun danced off from the dying embers of my charred body in the burning ghat.
Amrita De is currently a doctoral student at SUNY Binghamton. Her dissertation focuses on a critical examination of Indian hegemonic masculinities in literary fiction from the time of partition to recent envisionments of neoliberal India. She also thinks of herself as a many headed Hydra, perpetually in a state of transit between multiple differently textured worlds.
Cafe Dissensus Everyday is the blog of Cafe Dissensus magazine, based in New York City, USA. All materials on the site are protected under Creative Commons License.
Read the latest issue of Cafe Dissensus Magazine on ‘Muslim Life in West Bengal’, edited by Mosarrap H. Khan & Mursed Alam, Gour College, West Bengal, India.