This is a poem Vivi sent me some weeks ago. It was written in 1985 by an Indian feminist economist named Bina Agarwal.
Sita, speak your side of the story,
We know the other too well.
Your father married you to a prince,
Told you to be pliable as the bow
In your husband’s hand.
Didn’t you note Ram broke the magic bow?
They say you-the ideal daughter –
Bowed your head in obedience
As you were sent away
With your husband you chose exile
Suffered privation, abduction
And then the rejection –
The chastity test on the scorching flames The victim twice victimised.
Could those flames turn to flowers without Searing the soul?
They say you were the ideal wife
You questioned him not
And let him have his way
The poets who wrote your story
Said: a woman is not worthy of hearing the Ramayana; like a beast she is fit only For being beaten Could such poetry ever bring you glory?
Yet, they spoke their verses without challenge and With such falsehoods got away.
You who could lift the magic bow and play With one hand Who could command the earth with a wordHow did they silence you?
(Bina Agarwal 1985)