I am the Indian girl child,
I am my father's pride;
I wash, I mend, I blow the hearth,
While my brothers go seek and hide.

As the nation forges far ahead,
I scrub the country's floor;
I pray, I fast, I long to see
My brothers eat more and more.

When viral burns my well-fed frame,
I require no tablet,
For my brother needs that I mother be
While he learns his alphabet.

I am sent to another house,
For labour is scarce;
Should my dowry unpleasing be,
I gladly assume the hearse.

Thus, all in all, I rule the roost,
I am goddess everywhere;
I suffer worship and abuse
With matchless wear and tear.

But all that I have said above
Depends upon the help
That sex-test probe kills me not
First in the womb itself!

Dr. Badri Raina, Professor of English at the Delhi University, writes on cultural and political issues.










Background image by Kabir Kashyap Web graphics and design by Smita Maitra