Asifa, My Child — Badri Raina

The eight-year-old girl was kept confined without food for three days and gang-raped.


BADRI RAINA | Caravan Daily

Asifa, my child, I wish

I was not writing about you

But holding you to my chest.

Asifa, I wish you were watching

Joyfully as I ripped apart

The hyenas and hung their

Entrails at the temple door,

So the gods therein would smell

The stench of their complicity.  

What wicked deity could

Give you those beautiful black

Eyes just so you could be witness

To your so beastly mutilation?


Asifa, you were born in a country

That did not deserve you, that does

Not deserve millions of your sisters

Either. This is the territory of predators

Merely and gods are their

Benefactors, presiding over their kills

With male delight, while the goddesses

Seem powerless as most women.

They chose a temple so the gods

Would protect them and pour benediction

Over their unthinkable evil — all on behalf  

Of a favoured community who did

Did not wish to see the least of

“Their” land frequented by an

“Alien” band, although one in nature

With more ancient claim to

Forest, foothill, river, and pasture.

Thus men of “standing” made an

Example to serve your riven little

Corpse to the “enemy” as a sample.

Thus you were fed as a morsel to

Gods who these days all ruling

Excesses endorse. Pious middlemen.

Of  the “national interest” came

Out thronging the streets, officers of

The  Law cocking many a snook with

Aplomb at instruments of justice

To which they ought to belong.

Asifa, my child, this gibberish that

I am writing  is but a weak old man’s

Confession that the knowledge

Of what horror transpired upon

Your  uncomprehending, aghast innocence

Can never be captured in words

Of commiserate distance, however

Blood-drenched the heart and the

Fingers that seek to reduce to sense

The  infernal terror of your experience.

Asifa, angel, I cannot now assure

You that your sacrifice will encrypt

The future from gruesome rites,

But, my child, how I wish you

Would come to me at night and

Upon my chest and arm find

Home again and lose all your fright.

How I wish some god somewhere

Would grant this much miracle

To my failing human sight.



  1. A moving poem indeed but, please, do not blame temple or god(s). It is such beastly creatures who are used, and in turn given long leash, by insane politicians, who alone are responsible. If they really believed in god, they would not be committing even an insignificant crime against an animal let alone a human.

  2. This piece is a moving and compelling requiem in words for an unfortunate martyr and an equally demanding plaidoirie for justice. Thiru-Valluvar in his maxim 1073 distills similar sentiments:
    Evil people resemble the gods in that
    They too may do as they please.


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