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Image by Hasan Almasi

The courageous, the spineless and the indifferent

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She twirls as the crowd cheers...

And rhythmically gets close to the fire.

Courage and conviction make a revolutionary brew,

stirred by thousands like her.

She then flings her hijab into the flames,

The crowd erupts into a deafening shout,

A shout that will scare the daylights out of a dictator,

And send shivers down the spines of the spineless men,

who crush, quell and murder in the name of honor.

In the name of an invisible, omnipresent, benevolent God,

And miles away in another land and another time,

Her sister wears the proscribed garment.

She then marches willfully towards the gate,

heckled and jeered...she continues to walk,

defiantly calling out the name of the greatest one.

The protector of the weak.

The omnipresent and most benevolent.

He chooses to remain invisible,

and act like he always has,

In mysterious ways...

Maybe if he was a woman he would act,

and do what an all-powerful God should.


Poets' note: The protests against Hijab in Iran made headlines here. Women defying the moral police was rousing. In southern India women were heckled and shamed for covering up. In both extremes it was the woman's choice which was ignored and trampled.


Richa Joshi Pant is a teacher in Welham’s Girls’ School, Dehradun (India)

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