Yamini Pathak: “Manifesto for the Indian Widow Who Needs to Dwell”



Manifesto for the Indian Widow Who Needs to Dwell

from A Historical past of The Care & Therapy of Unnatural Beasts


1. You might be hereby awarded the honorary title of Khasma-nu-khaani. Husband-Eater.

2. Your late husband’s household might make use of this salutation as a type of handle/taunt/curse at their pleasure.

three. You belong to that uncommon order of cannibals who devour their destined mates as a vital supply of protein [ref. Praying-Mantis].

four. The ladies of your husband’s family shall bleach all proof of matrimony out of your physique. This dictates that you simply:

four.1. molt the plumage of all coloured clothes: change into the un-feathered beast / greatest flightless.

four.2  sheath your self in white apparel for the remainder of your days.

four.three. nevermore jangle glass bangles / silver toe-rings / or fingers sundown with henna.

5.  Your hair shall be shorn to the pores and skin of your cranium.

6.  The pink solar within the middle of your brow obliterated.

7.  Maternal standing:

7.1. If you’re a mom: You might be allowed to mate with a male member of your husband’s household, however this isn’t   assured.

7.2  If you’re childless: your ill-Omen rating is doubled, you could be deserted on the shores of the river Ganga to cut price physique for all times.

eight.  Submerge your sins within the holy river.

9.  All who die within the metropolis by the sacred waters are assured a free move to heaven.

10.  Unite with river dolphin / freshwater shark / corpse-eating crocodile: make your self into a brand new breed of monster.


First revealed in Kweli. Reprinted with permission of the poet.
Hear the poem learn by the poet right here.
Learn extra work by Yamini Pathak right here and right here.


Yamini Pathak is a former software program engineer-turned-poet and freelance author. She was born and raised in India and now lives in New Jersey together with her household. Her poetry and nonfiction have appeared in Waxwing, Anomaly, The Kenyon Reviewblog, Rattle, The Hindu newspaper, and elsewhere. Her poems are forthcoming in Rise Like a Wave: Anthology of poems by Asian American Girls Poets, edited by Alycia Pirmohamed and Christine Kitano, and Fried Eggs and Rice: An Anthology of Meals-related Fiction, Non-fiction, Poetry, and Recipes by Writers of Coloration, edited by Angelique Imani Rodriguez. A Geraldine Dodge Basis Poet within the Faculties, she reads poetry for The Nashville Evaluate. Yamini is an alumnus of VONA/Voices (Voices of Our Nations Arts Basis) and the Group of Writers at Squaw Valley.


Poet’s Observe:

I used to be impressed to put in writing this poem by the widows in my household and my husband’s household. My grandmother was widowed very younger, and though she was cared for by her household, she skilled many macro- and micro-aggressions. As an example, as a baby, I by no means questioned that my grandmother didn’t put on vibrant colours or put on the sacred mark (bindi) on her brow. If a rule e book for the normal remedy of widows in Indian society existed, I think about it could appear like this poem.


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