Mallika Sengupta Poems

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Tell Us Marx

She who spun rhymes, wove blankets
The Dravidian woman who sowed wheat
In the Aryan man’s fields, reared his kids
If she isn’t worker, then what is work?

The Husband's Black Hands

The moment she tucks in the mosquito net and goes
to bed, her husband's black hands fumble after


The drumroll of centuries —
our hearts beat
with hopes and fears.

The Girl On The Sunlit Road

As the shadows of Minto Park shifted
They too moved away from the sun's heat,
The two creatures who had left the dreadful house
Two storm-tossed birds - daughter and mother.

Khanaa's Song

Listen o listen:
Hark this tale of Khanaa
In Bengal in the Middle Ages

A Girl In Gujarat Genocide

Gujarat was a land of violet, red and green
But colors deceived like lizards

Insignia Of Blood

Man, I've never raised my arms against you

Slitting the hair-parting the day you drew the insignia of blood
I felt pain, I didn't tell you


Today, on our Computer Day
Come let's place our hand on the button
This very own history of women
From illiteracy to

Once upon a time from this woman
You snatched the chance of reading the Vedas
All of you said women were just housewives
Men had the right to Sanskrit
Women's language, the language of the Sudras was different.

After a thousand years when the girl
Prepared herself for a girls' school
Bethune and Vidyasagar stood by her
All of you said
Women who read and write
Are bound to become widows.

Then when the woman entered the office space
Mother-in-law's sullen face, and the husband was suspicious
All of you said
What's the use of a family run with a wife's money?
The woman had to fight the storms and tempests.

Inch by inch in the thousand years the woman
Has earned knowledge and power
Inside a fiery heart, tranquil outwardly
Today half the sky is in the woman's palm

The world is an amlaki held in the woman's fist
Just a touch of a button
One day you who had denied her knowledge of alphabets
In her hand today is the computer world.


Man, I've never raised my arms against you

Slitting the hair-parting the day you drew the insignia of blood
I felt pain, I didn't tell you

On dry soil no rose blooms, no peacock dances
Yet digging the sandy terrain we drew water
With son on the lap have watched glow-worms, pointed out Orion.

We know earth is woman, the sky primal man
Then why have you chained my arms?
Why didn't you let me see the sun for a thousand years?

Don't insult the earth that holds you
Man, I've never raised my arms against you.


In man's body an extra limb
Invested with eternal power, earth's ownership
According to Mr Freud for lack of it woman is inferior
As an underling she envies man's virility

Nature is uncaring
Man is uncaring
Children are uncaring
Only Freud cares for women!

Who cares for compassion! Chitrangada? Joan of Arc?
Simone de Beauvoir or dark Draupadi!

"Penis-envy" is a term
Introduced by Mr. Freud
That extra which only man possesses
That's what diminishes woman
So she is uncertain in childhood
Decorates the Shivalinga with flowers at girlhood
Her playroom is full of dolls and utensils
For it's said that she is her mother's replica.

Whereas Rohit rehearses for war
American soldiers in fatigues in his room
Machineguns fusillade tra-ra-ra
As man's aggressiveness grows in him
If he claws cheeks with sharp nails
Man-child's extra prowess makes grandmothers beam
That extra bit in his body, that's the licence
Which will make him the world's owner.

Rohit will be the owner of which world?
Where Rohita is his partner! Inferior sex!
On galloping horseback with drawn sword
Emperor Rohit will set out to conquer the world
And he will be decked for war by mother, sister, wife
This is just what you wanted, Mr Freud!
If a woman warrior arrives from the opposite side
Will he abandon arms like Bhishma -
"I will not take up arms against women"
Implying woman won't be allowed to acquire arms -

This is primal man's sexual politics
Freud, because you belong to the extra-limb group
You assume women are inferior and hence envious!

During my childhood I felt no penis-envy
My identity was complete
Even today I'm a confident, complete woman,
A sensitive dark girl of the Third World
Shall stand against you from today
Who is inferior, who superior, which is more or less -
Who has given you the duty of solving
Such a political debate Mr Freud!!

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