‘Women, Use Your Bodies to Fight Oppression’: Poet Kutti Revathi 

Tamil poet Kutti Revathi reads ‘The Fiends That Fetter Us’ – a poem penned by her on body politics and oppression.

Updated
Gender
2 min read

Video Editor: Deepthi Ramdas
Cameraperson
: Smitha TK

Every 16 minutes, a woman is raped in India. Last year alone, 10 Dalit women were raped everyday and over 32,033 rape cases were recorded. Oppressed due to gender, caste, religion and economic standing, several women fall prey to sexual assault and rape in India.

Kutti Revathi, a Tamil poet and activist believes women are strong individuals capable of changing the world.

Her bold poetry has drawn a lot of controversy because of the vivid imagery it portrays. ‘Nammai pidittha pisaasugal,’ translated to ‘The Fiends that Fetter Us’ is a poem of resistance by Revathi in which she explores the woman’s body as the greatest weapon to heal the world.

“Women create lives, they birth human beings. We have to use our bodies as weapons. Let us use it to show resistance to oppression. Let us use it to fight for our self-esteem.”
Kutti Revathi, Poet

She has published three books of poetry and is the editor of Panikkudam, a literary quarterly for women's writing and also the first Tamil feminist magazine. She received was awarded a travel grant in 2005 by the Sahitya Akademi to meet poets across the country.

நம்மைப் பிடித்த பிசாசுகள்

சகோதரி…இன்னும் பல முலைகளை
வனைந்தெடுப்போம்
கல்லால் அடித்தும் கத்தி முனையிலும்
உயிர்த்த முலைகளும் உண்ணப்படும் வேளையில்
உலகின் தானியங்களாகிப்போன
அவற்றைப் பேண வேலிகள் இல்லை
வல்லூறுகள் ஏன் தானியக்கொள்ளையில்?
வெயிலை தின்று வெட்டவெளியை நுகர்ந்து மூச்சிடும்
அக்கிழவியின் முலைகள் அவளைப்பீடித்த பிசாசங்களாய்
தொங்கிக்கொண்டிருக்கின்றன நெஞ்சை முட்டிக்கொண்டு
உலர்ந்த வரலாற்றின் எல்லை வரைபடங்களே
அப்பிசாசுகளும் ஆகவே சகோதரி
நீரரருந்த நீர்க்குளங்களாயிருந்த முலைகளை
தீராத வேதனைக் கலயங்களாக்கோம்
ஒருநாளேனும் கற்களாக்கி அம்முலைகளை
கவண் கொண்டெறிவோம்
ஒற்றை முலையோடேனும் அலைவோம்
நம் சூரியனை தூக்கிச் சுமந்து.

The Fiends that Fetter Us

Sister… still many more breasts
for us to mould as if from clay
in this era when living breasts are bitten
by stones or by the tips of knives
they’re like the grain that feeds our world
but no fences to protect them
and why are birds of prey rooting in those silos?
eating sunshine straining to draw breath
from an arid field
that old woman’s breasts
fiends that fetter her
hanging low
knocking against the chest
and dried-up history in the borders on maps
not unlike those fiends that’s why sister
breasts like freshwater ponds to drink deep from
let’s not make them vessels of unending misery
for a day at least let’s make those breasts stones
to use in slings
let’s wander with a solitary breast
and carry our sun above us.

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