On Rape


A goat
A sacrificial lamb
Halal meat
Her blood runs dry at the bottom of a river
Cleansing the land

Sri Lanka
The tip of my soul

New Delhi
Anandpur Sahib
My constellation of stars

Drip drip dripping
Blood seeps into earth
One quick slice from the neck
Less painful that way
More fertile that way
Mothers, sisters, daughters
We bury red splashes
Virgin ground

I step into bare earth
Glass shackles
My fate I cannot escape
Someone else’s territory
A prisoner of war
My body the battlefield
A game of russian roulette in my vagina
Who will be next
A sexual slave
The world my cage

If I am not a slut
I am a religious object
If I am not a religious object
I am not religious enough
If I breathe deeply into the sun
My bare shoulders touching the sky
You do not see me
You see an opening between my legs

Never human
Never loved
Never forgiven
Never protected
Always forgotten

1984 I make my homage to you
1947 I cut my body in half and give it to you
India born by death of women raped

1957 my mother born
Protect me, dear mother
Hold me again in your womb
A rainbow
A river
Where life and death merge
I will meet you there
Together we will reemerge


A note from the author: In the name of God, the most kind, the most compassionate.  I mourn the loss of innocent bloodlife in light of recent events in India that have reached public attention.  As a Sikh woman, such tragedies come as no surprise. India has been no friend to Sikhs, women and other minorities for centuries. The rape of our identity, the Punjab and the impunity with which Sikhs have historically been treated opened our eyes to the case of Jyoti Singh Pandey long before it happened. Sikhs have always known this side of India.  The count of rape against Sikh women has yet to be fully acknowledged for its massive role in political, religious, economic and environmental oppression in Punjab.  The epidemic disease  of violence against women and gender inequality is pervasive in the Sikh Punjabi community in the diaspora and beyond and remains unspoken in our homes and gurdwaras.  The entire international community is complicit in this violence.  I hope we will rise to the challenge to fight injustice from its systemic roots in our daily lives, not symptomatic incidents.

Originally published on The Langar Hall website on January 16, 2013



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