These people love

to talk about my roots

but won’t ever mention

the peril of their fertilisers,

and how fortunate I was

to escape from them,

even though that meant

running to my colonisers.


These people always

remind me that India is home

but won’t ever talk about how

I am treated like a foreigner

as soon as I enter.

In their minds

I have relinquished

my mother tongue,

but love is a

universal language

and if I can speak it fluently

why does it matter

if I stutter in Punjabi?


These people tell me that

my dressing is too risqué

but won’t admit that even

a fully clothed woman

is considered prey.

These people preach about God,

and oh, the irony.


You see in my country,

an uncle will put his hands

on his niece’s body and

use those very hands to pray

as if he isn’t aware of his

blasphemy and

diabolic hypocrisy.

The young girl will stay silent

for fear of being blamed

because young girls are

taught accountability

before they are old enough

to spell the damn word.


These people talk about family,

yet they will slam the door

on their married daughters

because they believe that

it is better for a woman

to stay in marital misery

than to be tarnished with the label

‘female divorcee.’


These people preach morality,

yet they normalise the misogyny

that runs through a predator’s veins

and consequently blame

the woman for her ordeal,

because rape is a crime

in which the victim

is given a

life sentence.

Loving this country

is like loving an abuser.

I become defensive

when people say

offensive things,

although I know

they’re true,

and isn’t that exactly

what you do

when you love an abuser?


I will never be able

to call this country home,

for there is nothing

more dangerous

than turning an

abuser into home.



Manveen Kaur Kohli is a poet with no filter. Brace yourselves!

Image courtesy of Pexels.



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