Honour, In the name of

Picture courtesy: https://unsplash.com/@syda

Have you wondered why women are fettered and lead subservient lives in the patriarchal subcontinent, while men enjoy the freedom of a domineering position? Could it be because women pose a threat to the patriarchal society through their ability to reproduce? Is that why the construct of honour and shame? To allow men a say in her reproductive choice?

The burden of shame for being born a girl is so heavy, that when girls become mothers, they place a great value on sons and themselves propound the notions of honour and shame that allow men to control their wives, sisters, mothers.

Honour, In the name of

The fortress of
Is a feudal castle
This I should know /
I grew up there
Walled behind traditions
Veiled in custom /
Shrouded in morality
That was only mine to uphold /
And because
I was allowed
To be born
Despite my scorned gender /
I lived gratefully
Mute / Eyes downcast
Mute As girls are expected to be /
Never stepping
The radius
Of my life
That they defined for me /
Without a question
That I embodied
Their honour /
They repeated
It over and over
Until I believed
That there was no other purpose
To my life
Than to do my duty
And keep their names shining
In gold /
All these men
Who run my life
Who have impounded
My womb
A seed
Not of their choosing
Sprout inside me /
And so they
Put fetters on my feet
Pulled a noose through my nose
Amputated my dreams
And shackled my soul /
When they found the stranger
That fitted their bill
They handed me over
Along with the price
He named
For transferring
The burden
Of my responsibility
From my father to him /
And as I sat there
And swaddled in blood red
My mother whispered
That once she had heard
And could never
Forget /
Uphold the honour of your husband
So the tribe
May praise your father too /
Do not
Bring more shame upon me
Having given birth to you /
Don’t you look back
When you cross
The threshold of this house
There never was
Any one for you here /
Remember that /
I will think of you
When I am all alone
Even the wind should never hear
The longing of a mother for her child
Not if it’s a girl who should have been born a son /

Jyotsna Atre
April 09, 2021

This post is a part of the Blogchatter A2Z challenge

4 thoughts on “Honour, In the name of

  1. Such a touching poem.
    Agree with you.
    We are supposed to uphold the “honour” & stay within “lakshman rekha”.
    Shackles will continue till we allow them. No matter what we do, we are to be blamed.
    One can’t please all the people all the time!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Another brilliant composition. I learnt recently while doing a course on gender that women’s bodies have been the culture bearers which is why the honour of men is hidden there. So any harm that comes to the body is a cause of dishonour. You have brought that out so well in your poem.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Yes. It is a bit like being in the animal kingdom, although it passes under the garb of culture, traditions, izzat etc. etc. The male needs to be sure that the child born of his female partner will carry his genes further. A new alpha male will do so by killing the babies in the pack. Humans will do it by targetting and controlling the woman. And if she ‘strays’, dire consequences await.

    Liked by 1 person

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