The Blog of Cafe Dissensus Magazine – we DISSENT

Poem: For Asma Jahangir

Photo: Harvard

By Rimli Bhattacharya

“Only sixty six. That cannot be true,” I said.
I saw her;
She stood like a glaring lioness.
She said to me, “Timid woman, get up and fight your battles.”

“I cannot, I am alone,” I whimpered.
She did not reply.
I hid behind her shadow;
She was penning words.

“Don’t you step out of your house,” I asked.
She looked up and said, “I am under house arrest.”
“For how long,” I persisted.
“Till infinity.” She kept writing.

She screamed, “Justice, I need justice.”
“For whom,” I asked.
“For women like you,” she said.
“But I was beaten by an iron rod; he broke my spine.” I sobbed.
She did not reply; she kept writing.

She removed her flesh,
I saw scars inflicted by those autocrats.
“Why do you do this,” I asked.
She did not reply; she kept writing.

“Do you know human rights?” she asked.
I did not reply but cried.
“You are a coward,” she yelled.
“No, I am not,” I retaliated.
“Then fight,” she stormed.

“But I have no hands,” I sobbed.
“Take up your pen and write,” she said.
I did not reply as I saw –

“You are famous, so you speak like that.” I mocked.
She smiled. “So now you know the trick.”
“I need an iron hammer,” I said.
“You have it, use it,” she said.

She walked away with her note book.
“Wait, do not go,” I begged.
“They have called me.” She smiled softly.

I saw her heart;
Blood oozed from her shredded arteries;
They were red like mine.

I am scared, she is not;
I cried, she laughed;
I was beaten, so was she;
I broke down, she stood up.

She left me –
She left us.

“Don’t cry. I did not leave; I did not die.
I live in you. Take your hammer,
Follow me,
I did not die, I did not leave.
People love the dead;
Now I am dead; I am full of life.”

Then Asma disappeared.

Rimli Bhattacharya 
completed Mechanical Engineering from National Institute of Technology. After obtaining an MBA, she worked in the corporate sector. Rimli is a trained Indian classical dancer, based out of Mumbai, India. She tweets at: @rimli76


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Read the latest issue of Cafe Dissensus Magazine on ‘Digital Archiving in the 21st Century’, edited by Md Intaj Ali, PhD Research Scholar, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, India.

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