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  • “Frida To Sharanya”

    Sleep wherever is most convenient for you.
    Whoever and whatever is left in the morning,
    take home. Be kind. All the world is yours for
    the taking, long as you know that your little heart is
    theirs for the breaking. Leave lipstick on their
    china and on your letters. Make sure they know
    that you’re a mariposa, blue as copper sulphate,
    or blue as the sea, blue as a baby stilled too soon,
    darling wench, and you never really intend to leave.
    Set love free like a boat with neither oars nor anchors.
    Trust it. Don’t trust yourself. Accept every familiar
    that comes, even if one happens to be a goat. Forgive
    less of people. Remember that things come in triptychs.
    Be magnificent, like Coatlicue. You only owe it to me,
    but break a mirror now and then, if you can afford it.
    Kiss as much as you want to, and as few. Be difficult.
    It will make you more desirable. If it will help you to
    let him go, cut off your hands. They will grow back.
    You don’t need them. You don’t need him. The older
    you grow, the more you will amputate. Dance on stumps
    if you have to, but don’t stop. Wear one item of red
    every Wednesday and when death comes for you,
    you will go as his bride. Burn every bridge you ever
    built, and build as many as you possibly can. The one
    that takes you home will be the last one standing.
    Sing over the bones. Go slow.
    Don’t forget me.

    Continue reading

    Dangerous Dalit Women and Witch-Hunters

    Meena KandasamyON MARCH 28, Lalpari Devi, a 45-year-old Dalit woman was accused of being a witch by caste-Hindu, feudal villagers in Bihar who mercilessly beat her up, paraded her through the streets, tied her to a palm tree, cut her hair and smeared her face with limestone paste. She was saved from certain death by the timely arrival of the police. Lalpari somehow managed to survive the ordeal of social censure and hysteric, mob-driven humiliation. Many of her sisters have not been that lucky.

    According to conservative (official, and outdated) estimates, 2,556 women were branded as witches and killed in India between 1987 and 2003. From 1991 to 2000, over 522 cases of witch-hunting have been registered in Bihar alone. Continue reading

    The Woman, the Witch and the Goddess

    THIS STORY is both old and new, traditional and modern. The scapegoating, finger-pointing and name-calling of those who are different, those who threaten the social order, those who happen to have a female face. In the past two months, there have been at least two instances of witch lynching in India reported in the mainstream media; I wonder how many more have gone unnoticed. The most recent one was in Bihar. A 60-year old tribal woman was accused by villagers in Bihar of practicing witchcraft and beaten to death by them. Apparently, her ’spells’ couldn’t cure their mindsets. Continue reading