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Verses of Resistence

“Not for 200 years merely, but from the beginning of time, women have had less intellectual freedom than the sons of Athenian slaves. women have not had a dog’s chance of writing poetry.”

-Virginia Woolf

The following list of poems of Indian Women Writers is by no means exhaustive and does not provide an adequate representation. These poems are merely my favourite ones that reflect the way women are treated in the society through lucid, hard hitting lines.

‘How can you be modest’ by Akka Mahadevi


male and female,

blush when a cloth covering their shame

comes loose

When the lord of lives

lives drowned without a face

in the world, how can you be modest?

When all the world is the eye of the lord,

onlooking everywhere, what can you

cover and conceal?

‘The River of Girls’ by Tishani Doshi

i.m. India’s missing girls

This is not really myth or secret.

This murmur in the mouth

of the mountain where the sound

of rain is born. This surging

past pilgrim town and village well.

This coin-thin vagina

and acid stain of bone.

This doctor with his rusty tools,

this street cleaner, this mother

laying down the bloody offerings

of birth. This is not the cry

of a beginning, or a river

buried in the bowels of the earth.

This is the sound of ten million girls

singing of a time in the universe

when they were born with tigers

breathing between their thighs;

when they set out for battle

with all three eyes on fire,

their golden breasts held high

like weapons to the sky.

‘The Looking Glass’ by Kamala Das

Getting a man to love you is easy

Only be honest about your wants as

Woman. Stand nude before the glass with him

So that he sees himself the stronger one

And believes it so, and you so much more

Softer, younger, lovelier. Admit your

Admiration. Notice the perfection

Of his limbs, his eyes reddening under

The shower, the shy walk across the bathroom floor,

Dropping towels, and the jerky way he

Urinates. All the fond details that make

Him male and your only man. Gift him all,

Gift him what makes you woman, the scent of

Long hair, the musk of sweat between the breasts,

The warm shock of menstrual blood, and all your

Endless female hungers. Oh yes, getting

A man to love is easy, but living

Without him afterwards may have to be

Faced. A living without life when you move

Around, meeting strangers, with your eyes that

Gave up their search, with ears that hear only

His last voice calling out your name and your

Body which once under his touch had gleamed

Like burnished brass, now drab and destitute.

‘Marriages are Made’ by Euince deSouza

My cousin Elena

is to be married

The formalities

have been completed:

her family history examined

for T.B. and madness

her father declared solvent

her eyes examined for squints

her teeth for cavities

her stools for the possible

non-Brahmin worm.

She’s not quite tall enough

and not quite full enough

(children will take care of that)

Her complexion it was decided

would compensate, being just about

the right shade

of rightness

to do justice to

Francisco X. Noronha Prabhu

good son of Mother Church.

‘Becoming a Brahmin’ by Meena Kandasamy

Algorithm for converting a Shudra into a Brahmin


Step 1: Take a beautiful Shudra girl.

Step 2: Make her marry a Brahmin.

Step 3: Let her give birth to his female child.

Step 4: Let this child marry a Brahmin.

Step 5: Repeat steps 3-4 six times.

Step 6: Display the end product. It is a Brahmin.


Algorithm advocated by Father of the Nation at Tirupur.

Documented by Periyar on 20-09-1947.

Algorithm for converting a pariah into a Brahmin.

Awaiting another Father of the Nation

to produce this algorithm.

Inconvenience caused due to inadvertent delay

is sincerely regretted.

Curated by: Anandha Lekshmi Nair

#art #women #poetry #artist #poem

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