India

To My Sister, Delta Meghwal

delta

My loving sister Delta,

I write this letter to you, with swollen eyes plunged in tears after your murder, knowing the fact that you will never read this. I am also sad that I could not write a letter to you before and remained lost into my own world of suffering. I am also sad that I could not inquire about your suffering.

My young sister Delta, I know that you had never blamed me for the sheer ignorance that I showed to you. I also know that you never complained about your suffering and pain caused to you and never expressed anything except the desire to study in the school, except that you also wanted to have a little circle of friends, except to see a new place like school as you were imprisoned in house like many others in the past centuries, except that you wanted to know the world apart from the narrow kitchen and few rooms, except read those words that were kept away from you for centuries, except that you wanted to know about what school is, except learn some poems.

My younger sister, I know why you wanted to go to school so that you can write the songs that you sang along with mother while cooking, washing and working all alone and we worked in the land listening your songs in your mellifluous voice. I know that you just wanted to learn to write those words which came in your songs, the song of seasons, the song of harvest, the song of birth, the song of adolescence, the song of love and the song of pain. I also remember that you had told me to write everything as how afraid you always felt of those people in the village who stared at your feminine with the vultures’ eyes while you had to go alone to fields from the morning to evening. I remember you told me several times as how you were frequently chased by dominant people belonging to dominant castes of the village while coming back alone bringing the log of wood on your head and you remained frightened for many days and it had become a nightmare for you. I remember that you wanted to study so that you can fight with these kind of people staying in every village of this country outraging and frightening many little girls and women.

My sweet Delta, I knew that your desire to fight back all kinds of oppression had taken the shape of lifelong commitment. I had seen the fire burning in your eyes against the humiliation that you were made to suffer everyday and you had felt the pain of millions of such girls and women in the heart at such a tender age. But my dear sister, I am sorry I could not tell you before I sent you at hostile place called ‘school’ these days. Sorry, I did not tell you that going to school for us has always been like going to the wild forest where animals have turned themselves into humans and their thirsty for the blood of the human heart. I forgot to tell you that all of us had always desired to go to school and study but we were historically kept aside.

Our ancestral brother Eklavya who had learnt on his own without going to any school or teacher had to pay the heavy price for something he had never got at all. I know I missed to remind you that you were not just a girl rather a dalit girl who was never allowed to attend school and know the reasons of their multiple oppression of patriarchy. I thought it was too big a topic to have discussed with you. I was wrong. I am ashamed of myself that I also behaved to same way as others did while underestimating your understanding. I forgot that your name was Delta which stood to be the land of highly fertile soil. The soil where new plants grow where new life begins and new hope arises.

But my darling, if you were alive you should have understood that I had not still come out of the shock that we all had received after the institutional murder of our elder brother Rohith Vemula. You know that how much love Rohith Bhaiya had for education and how did he always remain adamant to send you to school where you can play and learn and study. After the death of Rohith Bhaiya, we could not gather senses so fast as to warn you of dangers ahead in your path of education which was the only way to fight against the century old subjugation.

My loving sister, I am in so much unbearable pain after you have been killed that I happen to shiver out of fear when I see little girls going to school everyday. But remembering your courage and devotion, I take pledge that I shall never in future think even once to keep you away from school rather we will remain vigilant as what is happening with rest of our brothers and sisters all around the world.

My dear sister, I want to tell you at end that you were never a reason of shame to us because you got brutally raped and murdered. Rather I think that you as a girl died while fighting a kind of historical war which has been going against the girl child from womb to the menstruating women who are giving birth to new hopes everyday in the world of male dominated rotten societies. We all are at war and your killing has once again appeared as a reminder of this age-old war against patriarchy. And we shall valiantly fight till our last breath to smash patriarchy and this can be the only sincere tribute to your sacrifice.

Your Brother…

Dharmaraj Kumar 

(The author is pursuing Ph.D from Jawaharlal Nehru University,New Delhi. He may be contacted at dmaxrule@gmail.com)

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