When is it OK to kill – Provoked – A poem by Ashanti OMkar

Ash & Naveen in Provoked

You shiver, you shudder
Threading on eggshells becomes
Your very existence
Depression grips you
He’s beaten out the talent
Your joie de vivre

The man you once loved
With all your might
Has assaulted you
Insulted you, controlled you
Broken your spirit
Do you run? Do you hide?

What will society say?
That’s the only thing that runs
Through your very fragile mind
Will I manage on my own?
Will he hunt me down?
His frequents threats to kill you

No-one else can have you except me
He barks menacingly
I’ll kill any female child you have
With my bear hands, he shouts brutally
The beatings are indiscriminate
Why could they be?

Over fact that there’s no fresh chicken
Or that you’re too ill to cook
That you laughed with a friend
On the phone
You earn more than him
Or couldn’t buy that new mobile phone

He’s been brought up to think
It’s OK to beat his wife
His Parents, his family
They don’t see this as wrong
It’s been expected as very manly
Of him to show who’s boss

This is an educated woman’s dilemma
As it is for one who’s illiterate
It’s a dilemma of the world
That is brushed behind closed doors
The reality is hidden
To protect the perpetrators

Your side is not seen
By your people, your family
Who should support you
He may cry innocence
But only you know
The price of being a good wife

But they choose to do nothing
They choose to ignore
The pleas that emanate
From your tear stained eyes
They silently watch
As you put on an act and smile

But how many chances can you give
When does the time come?
When does that innate switch
Flick in your brain
He’s damaged your soul
Or so you feel

He thinks he’s destroyed you
But aren’t you stronger than that?
Does he deserve death?
Do you deserve death?
Should he be taught a lesson?
Or never be allowed to roam free

How many lives is he willing to destroy?
From a moral standpoint
What will you choose?
To escape forever with dignity
Or teach him forever a fatal lesson
And face the consequences?

This poem is based on the movie PROVOKED. Distributed by Eros and out worldwide in April, it made waves at Cannes and is Jag Mundhra’s version of the law changing story of Kiranjit Ahluwalia. The film stars Aishwarya Rai, Naveen Andrews, Nandita Das, Robbie Coltrane, Miranda Richardson, Karen David, Raji James e.t.c. Here is a movie that made me cry, as I saw a lot of my life in this movie and I’m sure many women will see mirrors of themselves in the main protagonist. Domestic violence is a curse that is universal – it does not only affect one try of society, neither is it an ‘Asian’ problem. Let’s all get together and try and combat this “social disease” as Aishwarya Rai described it to me during our heart to heart interview.


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