Rape Nation: Meena Kandaswamy’s poem on Hathras Horror that trembles one’s soul

rape representational image

Once again India is horrified with the brutal gang rape and death of a 20-year-old Dalit girl in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh. To add to the nation’s dismay, after she passed away the state police cremated her remains without allowing her family to see her for the last time.

Recent reports have further buried the case with claims of no assault being done. Politicians who showed concern were manhandled and arrested.

The world is now talking about how the lower castes and largely women are undermined in our country. Besides women, anti-caste and Dalit activists have been urging people to use the victim’s name while protesting, in order to highlight her caste activity.

The same was picked by poet Meena Kandaswamy, also known for her book on domestic violence – When I Hit You. A Ph.D. holder in literature, Kandaswamy irks her readers to delve into the pain of lower castes in our country. She stresses on the fact that the ostracization and oppression will never end. A novelist, translator, and rebel of a woman, Meena’s words have shaken the entire nation.

Below is her poem.


In Hathras, cops barricade a raped woman’s home,

hijack her corpse, set it afire on a murderous night,

deaf to her mother’s howling pain. In a land where

Dalits cannot rule, they cannot rage, or even mourn.

This has happened before, this will happen again.

What does that fire remember? The screams of satis

dragged to their husband’s pyres and brides burnt alive;

the wails of caste-crossed lovers put to death,

the tongue-chopped shrieking of raped women.

This has happened before, this will happen again.

Manu said once, so his regiment repeat today:

all women are harlots, all women are base;

all women seek is sex, all they shall have is rape.

Manu gives men a license plate, such rape-mandate.

This has happened before, this will happen again.

This has happened before, this will happen again.

Sanatana, the only law of the land that’s in force,

Sanatana, where nothing, nothing ever will change.

Always, always a victim-blaming slut-template,

a rapist-shielding police-state, a caste-denying fourth estate.

This has happened before, this will happen again.

She tweeted the same on her twitter profile.

Netizens have been sharing the poem over social media and stirred by her words.