Thursday, September 26, 2019

Beautiful Woman - Lalsangliani Ralte

Beautiful woman,

It torments me deep inside to know that I cannot call you by your name because people would then know of the secret that has been gnawing at your heart for so long. It breaks my heart that yours is a story of a six year old girl violated by a man when he should have been protecting her instead.

It bothers my conscience to no end knowing I am a part of a society that imposes silence on victims; silence imposed through prejudices and judgments. We are taught of the dignity of silence, but what good is silence if it does not bring justice? What good is silence if a victim has to live alone with memories that haunt her every day, forcing her to live a life of shame and sense of worthlessness?

Sometimes I wonder how different things might have been for you had you spoken out against him. Perhaps you would have found freedom from the clutches of your past. But how were you supposed to know that you did not have to be silent? How were you supposed to know you were not to be touched by a grown man the way you were? How were you to know no man’s hands have the passport to travel across your body without your consent? Claiming to understand what you have been through would be an injustice to you. I was not there when you were terrorized over and over again. Nobody was there when you felt alone and frightened. Nobody was there to tell you that not all men are like him, and that you need not fear all men.

But I wish I have words that could make you accept that what he did to you does not make you all the horrible names you call yourself. You are not defined by what somebody else does to you. Your future is not destroyed; you do not have to let it be. You are not in any way a lesser woman or a human being. You are still the beautiful woman God created you to be, as pure as any woman could be. You can only be defined by the strength, wisdom and grace with which you face every new day, and for that you are a beautiful woman.

This powerful, beautifully written piece comes from this blog. It is something new in Mizo writing in English - a first person narrative voicing pain, guilt and sorrow, addressing in poetic prose an issue again not often seen in our genre. Perhaps it is a happy indicator of how Mizo writing in English is slowly coming of age.