By Farheen Sahban
If I were to lie
I would chew the truth and bury it deep inside my womb
Albeit I would groan in pain
When the seed of truth sprouts
But when my burden becomes heavier
And my now enceinte belly would no longer bear the pain
While I involuntary gasp for breath
Stoically would I drink a glass of cognizance that women like me were made to bear pain by being reticent.
While their silence coughed their lungs out
And their eyes though numb burned in sufferance; slow
Howbeit if the pain becomes unendurable
I would then bear the affliction of delivering a son of truth
One who was nurtured by the seed of truth.
This time I would teach him about the impending catastrophe
When a woman adopts silence as her response
I will teach him that women like Phoolan Devi, Neerja Bhanot, and Zubeidaa Begum need no title for their glorification.
Women like them fight valiantly on and off the field.
When the history of every indomitable woman becomes clear to him
I will bring him to my side
And educate him about women like me who fight with their hands, bare.
A soldier woman fights in proxy of her husband supposedly dead, but she responds to his call of duty
A woman down the street fights against her schizophrenia
And laments the death of her seven unborn children.
Yet she finds her means to live in things: small and sky: blue, which smiles back at her.
An eighteen-year-old girl strives for life at the hospital bed
She reads Ghalib and quotes
“Ishrat-e-qatra hai dariya mai fana ho jana
Dard ka had se guzarna hai dawa ho jana.”
If he trembles then, I will ask him to muffle up his swelling emotions.
And tell him how a resilient woman like me is armed with a pen
So if the next generation believes that women are abiders and defenceless
They know we are armed, we always were.
Farheen Sahban is a student of Literature at Aligarh Muslim University. Poetry speaks to her; for her, when people don’t. She believes that artists, through their art, can bring the much needed change.