Mourning for Her

Written by Venerable Wu Yin

Translated by Shwu-Jen You



I am the girl who was raped.

I take the time tunnel back to India,

To a speeding bus in New Delhi,

A weary and terrified girl with her helpless boyfriend:

Grieving and wailing, our shaking bodies curled into balls

We both fight back with all our strength

But finally we cannot withstand the beating and kicks that endlessly rain down upon us, the blows of the iron rod.

My crying fades gradually; my valiant strength runs out.

My clothing is in shambles, my body torn apart and wantonly ravaged.

I pass out in grief and righteous anger, but again and again I wake and struggle to survive, so I can shout for the deliverance of women.

I suffocate gradually, as though crushed by the weight of millions of years of oppression, and wake no more.


I am the rapist.

In the midst of the frenzy I stand up and look at my four companions;

They take turns raping the woman, their eyes filled with hatred and rage.

I see myself, seething with resentment, in the eyes of that cringing, wounded boy.

Why am I here? Memories flash through my mind and I see the simple and innocent boy, cherished by his mother, that I once was.

Abruptly, the driver stomps on the brake and stops; I lose my footing and stumble.

The driver walks maliciously toward the woman;

Tearing open his clothes as he goes, he pounces upon the woman like a hungry tiger.

Instantly, the world freezes

And I suddenly realize:  I have fallen into the world of snake demons!

I see myself: one of a great mass of snakes, coiling and winding around each other.


The revolving world moves ever forward;

India?s caste system has been abolished, but a scar remains vivid on people?s brows.

Oh how the young, tortured man hates being unable to protect his girlfriend!

He stands up straight, fists clenched, and mutters in exasperation:

?What does it matter whether I?m a Brahman, Vaisya, Kshatriya, or Sudra?

Caste can?t magically protect anyone!

We?re going to get married next year. She?s smart! She?ll be the best doctor in India!?

Dear boy, be strong! I can?t be your bride next year.

A wise man once said, ?A man becomes noble because of his conduct, not his birth.?

My people, all of the same stock, will gradually come to see this truth.

In the new era, whoever wants to thrive will have to rely on their effort and ability.


?My darling daughter!? Ah, that is Mama?s cry;

Her piercing wail reverberates through the ages; it blots out the sky, it covers over the earth.

Dear Mama, please don?t cry for me.

Because of my death, I see our countrymen pondering what course India will take;

I see men and women all over the world re-considering the relations between the sexes.

Our people have invented technology that the whole world admires; they are very intelligent!

Everyone?s mind is like a clear mirror; even the minds of the men who assaulted me.

In their minds the scene of my terrified eyes and battered body will play ceaselessly;

Don?t cry, Mama, they will be punished; we have lots of work to do.

The bones of good girls, sacrificed as I was, pile up as high as a snow-capped mountain;

Only when humankind mourns the deaths of all these women will the endless strife gradually subside and stop.

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