The Dalit Woman Speaks Poem by Bijay Kant Dubey

The Dalit Woman Speaks

A Dalit woman
I was born
In a hamlet
Made from bamboo and mud walls
So small and dingy
Just to cover up,
Thatched with straw
And haystacks and dry palm leaves.

When a girl,
I used to go half-fed, half-clothed
In a country raked by
Heat and dust, summer and winter
With the heat wave taking a toll,
Cold wave shivering us with,
Under the cool tree shade
We used to pass time,
Used to take water from the water body.

A Dalit woman I,
I used to see the father coming drunk,
Having taken spurious wine
And other extracts,
Without food, without room,
Without books and hair oil and others
A Dalit woman I
Saw I the poor country
When grew I up.

Food was not,
Water not,
Pots and utensils were earthen,
The oven too was earthen
Made burn with dry leaves
Smoking badly
And you tired of puffing into a blaze,
Nothing to eat,
Nothing to drink,
Even the sling bamboo cot was not.

Slept I on the muddy floor
Sometimes made way into
Or encroached upon by the scorpion
And the vipers
And taking the name of
The Snake God and the Goddess
We used to sleep
Without the fan and the light,
The dingy hut without ventilation.

In the morning
Before the sun flashing
We used to awake and arise
And go to the pond or the riverside
And after coming from,
We used to clean the muddy floor
With water, mud and dung mixed paste
And there was nothing as tea,
Even the stale food was not in our fate.

A poor girl of a poor father,
A Dalit girl from some Dalit house,
I saw poverty, underdevelopment,
Illiteracy, witch-hunting,
Backwardness, superstition
From close quarters,
How did they go about for witch-hunting,
Telling of ghosts and witchcrafts
And ostracizing?

At dawn break we used to leave for the fields
Taking the cattle to,
Driving away hens,
Sheep and small cows if any
To graze them,
With nothing to support
In an agrarian India,
Rural and rustic India
Of villagerly people,
Blind and superstitious people.

There was no provision for food
To be made at night
As the light was not,
We had the date-leaf mat to sleep on,
Living in a cottage
Under the sun and the moon
In the midst of Nature
And the men villagerly
With the blunt and foolish people
As village elders opining.

My life
After helping my mother,
Making the younger brtothers and sisters
Grow up
From my early childhood,
Where have I not worked,
As a farm woman, a dung collector,
A house cleaner, a care taker?

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