Feminism in India
This is from "Women Writing In India" Edited by Susie Tharu and K. Lalita.
Sumangalamata (Pali - 6th Century (600) B.C)
[A Woman well set free! How free I am]
A woman well set free! How free I am,
How wonderfully free, from kitchen drudgery.
Free from the harsh grip of hunger,
And from empty cooking pots,
Free to of that unscrupulous man,
The weaver of sunshades.
Calm now, and serene I am,
All lust and hatred purged.
To the shade of the spreading trees I go
And contemplate my happiness.
(Translated by Uma Chakravarti and Kumkum Roy)
Janabai (1298-1350), Marathi
[Cast of All Shame]
Cast of all shame,
and sell yourself
in the marketplace;
can you hope
to reach the Lord.
Cymbals in hand,
a *veena* upon my shoulder,
I go about;
who dares to stop me?
The *pallav* of my sari
falls away (A Scandal!);
yet will I enter
the crowded marketplace
without a thought.
Jani says, My Lord,
I have become a slut
to reach Your home.
(Translated by Vilas Sarang)
Sanciya Honnamma (late 17th century) -Kannada
From Garathiya Haadu
(Song of a married woman)
[Wasn't it woman who bore them]
Wasn't it woman who bore them,
Wasn't it woman who raised them,
Then why do they always blame woman,
These boors, these blind ones.
In the womb they're the same
When they're growing they're the same
Later the girl will take, with love, what's giveb
The boy will take his share by force.
For money's sake, for trust
And friendship's sake
Don't give a girl to a walking corpse
Bereft of virtue, youth and looks.
Don't say, "We're poor people, where
Can we get jewels from?"
Instead on spending on yourself
Provide your daughters with clothes and ornaments.
(Translated by Tejaswani Niranjana)