Women in Chains

Women in Chains Today – India

Women in chains, children in chains, men in chains – Slavery is not unique to women, & takes many forms.  It’s origins are as old as the human race, & it continues today.  Modernisation & the focus on human rights has failed to eradicate the practice, & forcing it underground means that it is often out of sight, & therefore out of mind.  Globalisation has once again brought this evil back into the public eye, but too often it is more like a shifting shadow that catches our eye before slipping back into the darkness.  In some cultures, it is deemed acceptable.  As shocking & unpleasant as it makes us feel, we should take care not forget that most nations at some point played their part in enabling the slave trade.

Women in chains & the colonial era

Colonisation itself was not the cause of slavery.  Slavery has been part of society as far back as known history goes. It is shamefully clear that the anti-slave laws passed by the West was totally ineffective in putting an end to the endemic slavery of women & children.  The anti-slave laws were vital, & did much to curb the slave labour trade.  It is clear that they fell short in protecting women & children, & the reasons for this are complex – Ranging from lack of will, failed implementation & perhaps a reluctance to interfere in cultural practices.

While researching slavery, especially white slavery & slaves in ex colonial countries, I came across this heart wrenching piece that  says it all for me. This work highlights the plight of the so-called “paro” or “molki” trafficked into parts of India.  All credit to the poet via this link to the original post.

Paro or Molki girls

Information that follows if from the poet, & is not not my work.  Many thanks to Rigzin Namgal for allowing me to use this here.                              “Every year thousands of girls are trafficked from Bangladesh,Nepal,West Bengal,Andra Pradesh,Tamil Nadu,Jharkhand and north-east India into the north Indian states like Haryana,Punjab and Rajasthan and sold into marriages,these marriages are often fake and termed as ‘ jugad ‘..due to the rampant female infanticide over decades , girls have almost disappeared from these places that is why they are trafficked from other places to fill in this gender imbalance..this poem is dedicated to those girls..who go through this worst form of MODERN SLAVERY and abuse  and are termed as the paro or the molki girls..”  

the paro girl 🙁 🙁          –          A poem by Rigzin Namgal

yes to you women 
in a world of pain
to you bright star 
in this ever-spending universe
to you fighter 
of one thousand-and-one fights
to you friend of my heart

being a girl..
was my biggest curse..
poverty made it worse..
this is my story..
my battered destiny..
that some greedy men chart..
first they tried to dig..
my grave in the womb..
i was lucky to have seen the light..
later that existence came at a price.
to be sold for my female body..
my flesh..
to the faraway lands..
where the cattle were priced…
higher than women..
and everyday rape came wearing..
the garment of marriage..
now..i was a woman..a wife..
did i say wife..???..or mankind’s whore..
to be sold and resold again..
to be shared by many men..
to be devoured by the hungry males..
to satisfy their sexual gratification..
again and again..
now i was a Paro girl..
millions of candles have been lit..
but i never seem to see the light..
facebook and twitter revolutions have been stirred..
but my battered world still remains the same.
a living corpse….in chains…
living a life of tortured existence
held captive in a country..
where ironically men worship..
women carved of stones..
even today they want me to have a boy..
and thousands of my sisters are being killed in the womb..
as long as this carries on..
every day a new Paro girl is born..
every day a new Paro girl is born..

If you would like to read more from the poet, Rigzin Namgal, then please visit the blog where you can interact & ask any questions.  The work is only typed out here for ease of access, & is done so with the poet’s consent.  Sadly, slavery is an issue that continues today all over the world.  This work is included here because it relates to slavery in an area that once made up part of the British Empire.  

Credit & sources:  Links to the poet’s blog are included in the post.  You can follow further posts via the blog or here  : Copyright belongs to the poet, & is reproduced here with kind permission.  

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