Editor’s note: We are a few months short of the anniversary of the horrific gang-rape and murder of Asifa Bano, an innocent child whose only crime was being a Muslim in a Hindu-dominated region of Indian-Administered Kashmir. May we never forget those innocents who pay the ultimate price for their religious convictions. Rest in Peace, Asifa. We are so sorry. You deserved better.
I prayed for something better than immense wealth and enjoyable health,
And you granted me a daughter in front of whom all my selfish needs knelt.
You trusted me with this precious gift and now I have come to return it back,
I am sorry for I have failed in my responsibility to protect her from the attack.
I thank you for the eight years that you promised me with her, forever I will cherish,
These memories will be my enduring painkiller till the time comes for me to perish.
Whenever life dealt me harsh blows which brought me to my knees,
My gudiya’s smile softened my hardened heart and calmed my unease.
Her laughter was music to my ears and her endless questions gave my life resolve,
Her innocence renewed my weak faith and her hugs caused my worries to dissolve.
Every game I played with her was an act of worship to You,
Every moment I spent teaching her was glorification of You.
Like how you breathed life into clay, my mud house was illuminated after her birth,
And after her departure, love and compassion vanished and there is no more mirth.
All that remains behind with me is her favorite pink frock, her comb and hair clips,
And the broken shards of my dreams that I clutch tightly, although red blood drips.
My soul is heavy and my path has been sidelined,
My back is broken and my family has been maligned.
My future is bleary and my only hope is that you end my suffering soon,
Till then please ensure she is tucked in safe and warm to her favorite tune.
I hope that when you finally took her into your lap, she felt no hurt or sorrow,
And now she has been given the Barbie doll that I always promised her “tomorrow”.
When she relives the past I hope she doesn’t see the hate and division we created,
Instead I hope she finds that forgiveness and unity have always been more cultivated.
A Loving Father.