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Her Hand by Jayanta Mahapatra

The little girl's hand is made of darkness
How will I hold it?

The streetlamps hang like decapitated heads 
Blood opens that terrible door between us 

The wide mouth of the country is clamped in pain
while its body writhes on its bed of nails 

This little girl has just her raped body
for me to reach her 

The weight of my guilt is unable
to overcome my resistance to hug her

We do not know what does the poet mean to say it here? But something sombre and untoward engages us when he talks about the little girl and her poor destiny fraught with misery, pity and pathos. What did she imagine it about and what did we give to her? The little girl, the poor country girl is the protagonist of the poem whose pitiable pen portrait the poet is drawing here in this poem. Her hand is but a girl’s hand, a poor girl’s hand, as because the girl is always poor, whatever say you on this point will not be acceptable. How to say what it may befall one? We have already the gruesome experiences of the heart-rending Sati, the inhuman purdah system and the vehemently disturbing child marriage. The poem brings to our memory the poor plight of the rape victims. The evils of the gender bias, how to tell them? Our blatant sexuality, where is it leading to? Why not to be softer to the feminine self? Can we be so cruel and callous? What to say about the beaten body?  Why to beat it anymore? The bruised body? Domestic violence has already bruised it black and blue with the blood clots visible over. Is woman not a human being? How long shall we go humbling her down?

The little girl's hand is made of darkness and how will he hold it? This is the thing with which the poet starts the poem and thinks it within what it to do with. How to view the girl? How to give psychological and moral support to her? The streetlamps hang like decapitated heads and blood opens that terrible door between us. Here the poet means to say how crimes are committed and how we turn into animals of some sort. But can the guilt of Macbeth be hidden under? Even if he cleans the knife and smears the kingly bodyguards’ clothes with blood, the whispering walls and guilty conscience leave it not so easily and if they  say it not, stars have seen him definitely committing the  crime which but cannot go unheeded. So is the case here as Keki N. Daruwalla too says it in The Unrest of Desire. The wide mouth of the country is clamped in pain while its body writhes on its bed of nails. This little girl has just her raped body for him to reach her. The weight of his guilt is unable to overcome his resistance to hug her. The country is abuzz with the news. But the pain of the girl she knows it the best. She has but the raped body to dread and horrify it. So nasty and dirty the heinous act, the crime committed, the dastardliest one, so gory and ghastly. It would have claimed her life. But the people lie in disturbing herself poor self already fraught with tragedy.

The pain and pity which it inflicts, the trouble, tribulation and trauma, how to narrate it into words which but only a victim can say and feel it? The body subjected to torture, forcible coercion, violence with fear, suspense and suspicion doing the rounds and her mental state during and after the trauma surviving the attempt is but a saga of pain and pathos telling of psychological repercussion and upheaval.

People generally leave out the rape victims to their poor destitute, letting them to die in harness.  But rather than being cruel to we should try to be human and sympathetic. Can we be not philanthropic and charitable for her? We should change our narrow mentality and older mind-set. She is not at all a bad girl, but we ourselves are bad in our thought and idea. Have we at least tried to feel it? Who is not sinful? Whose activity is not?

Her Hand is but a pathetic poem and here lies it the pain of life and living. What one thinks and what it happens of which the little girl is an example of that. How the tale of the poor and frail body? The situations of life, how to say it about sometimes compelling upon forcibly? How will it be the conditions which a small girl cannot comprehend? How to talk about the animal emotions? How to come to terms with the tragedy, accident, stress and trauma is the thing, how to endure the pain exerted upon is the thing of concern. The horror and terror still take over the poor self of the little girl and she shudders to think of it just like a nightmare seen. The tragedy of her life and living words fail to describe it, but to lose the battle is give away. Her feeling even though macabre it must be chastized and sanitized.

When we read the poem, the poor rape victims and their images conjure upon the mind’s plane and we feel agony, discomfort and annoyance in grappling with such imagery. God, forbid such an incident! The rape victims are not for to die nor can they be abandoned and admonished. Only through survival strategies they can cope up with adapting to a healthy way of living and thinking. Holistic healing, meditation, proper medication and counselling can bring back their lost happiness which we want to see on their distressed faces. They need to smile it again with so much so innocence and simplicity. The joy of living is in smiles and they must smile forgetting their horrible past.


More by :  Bijay Kant Dubey

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