By Neel Anil Panicker

My arms are wrapped around my frail self
My face is hidden
my eyes barely visible
through the slits of my entwined fingers
I stare at the world outside
A world which casts evil eyes on me
…slut, characterless, bitch, witch, fallen woman

—that’s they know me as
of late there’s another name they brand me with

I’m anti-national, terrorist, traitor, India hater

—thanks to my brand managers
I’ve got a few more split adjectival appendages

Earlier, they used to visit me in night’s stealth
Come daylight I metamorphose into anti-national

They are a sham

they who continue to shame me with their lame excuses
I am their target

not ‘coz my name’s beautiful

but because it ends with

What’s in a name?
a lot if you ask me

It determines
whether I’m a nation loving, patriotic prostitute,

or another scum of the earth

—a dirty  characterless, India hating, unpatriotic anti-national.

They are right
‘coz they are in power
they know who is moral and who is immoral
who is national and who is anti-national
who is a good girl and who is a bad girl

As for me, I prefer to hide behind the veil
and watch the world figure out

what I am.
#neelanilpanicker #poem #realisticpoetry #political #India #muslim #CAA

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