Shakti Cries:

I wrote this poem after the brutal gang-rape and subsequent death of a 23-year-old in Delhi.  Yes, India is a land of paradoxes but no where it is felt more than in our treatment towards women. We pray to God and Goddess for sons. We celebrate our Goddesses only to ill-treat our women. Agreed not everyone is like that, agreed that not all families think of women as burden but by and large in India women are second citizens. I wrote this keeping our own prejudices in mind. Shakti in Hindu mythology is the personification of the great creative power. She is the great divine mother; the epitome of cosmic power and sacred force. She is revered and feared in equal measures. I imagined a place where even Shakti is crying because her daughters are abused and made to feel inferior in every step. I’ve tried to reflect this through this poem.

With her beatific smile and eighteen arms

Carrying many weapons and riding a tiger

Tall and proud.

She is the supreme goddess;

The slayer of all demons and evil.

The Mahadevi, she inspires fear.

People throng to pray to her.

To absolve their sins.

Spending hours singing her glory.

They beat their chests.

Cry hoarse.

For her kindness.

Her Gentleness.

The invincible answers

Smiling enigmatically.

But today the smile is gone.

Throwing her weapons.

A tear falls.

She is crying a silent cry.

For her daughters

who are attacked

their dignity taken.

Their gender treated

as a curse.

Teased and taunted.

Battered and raped.

Demeaned and killed

by the same men who

pray to her.

Yes.  Shakti cries

Hoping and praying

for her darling daughters’

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