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A Sin Between My Legs

Blog Saumyata 1

Thwack… his right fist made contact with her left eye socket and created a squelching sound rather than a bone breaking thud. She uttered a light cry of pain… not too loud so the neighbours would hear, for she had learned from bitter experience that a loud yell would invite a second and harder punch.

She lowered her blurred gaze to the dirty bunched rag in her hands… a rag stained with her own blood. But, not blood from the wounds on her face – or those concealed on her breasts – but her own natural menstrual blood.

It was the week in the month she feared more than any other-  it was always the week when her husband drank more than usual and took out his rages on her.

She hated him with all her spirit, but as a woman in rural India, she knew she had no option but to obey and suffer.

This is a bleak snapshot of life for many women across India.

The world’s second most populated country is at the cutting edge of new technology, earning vast material wealth for thousands.

But, anyone who has seen the movie Slumdog Millionaire, will know that under that veneer of prosperity, many within its 1.2 billion population live in abject poverty and total squalor.

The abuse of women is part and parcel of that poverty.

And it is the treatment and degradation of women which underlines how far India still has to travel to reach a more humanitarian norm expected elsewhere in the developed world.

While Islam is often criticised for its hardened treatment of women, only 13% of the Indian population are Muslim.

The overarching religion, which both promotes and ignores the abuse of women, is Hinduism, practised by a staggering 81% of the population.

Traditional Indian society is defined by social hierarchy.

The Hindu caste system embodies this social stratification to a greater extent than any class system in western society. Indian social classes are defined by thousands of endogamous hereditary groups, often termed as castes, where those at the bottom are treated worse than livestock.

Family values are important in the Indian tradition, and multi-generational patriarchal joint families have been the norm in India for hundreds of years.

Even today, an overwhelming majority of Indians, have their marriages arranged by their parents or other elders in the family.

Marriage is for life, and the divorce rate is extremely low. As of 2011, just 1.8 percent of Indian women were divorced. Child marriages are also common, especially in rural areas; many women wed before reaching 18, which is their legal marriageable age.

Female infanticide and female foeticide in the country have caused a discrepancy in the sex ratio, as of 2005, it was estimated that there were a staggering 50 million more males than females in the nation.

The payment of dowry, although illegal, remains widespread across class lines. Deaths resulting from dowry, mostly from bride burning, are on the rise, despite stringent anti-dowry laws.

But India is also a nation bubbling with humanity, wisdom and love… and these three tenets underpin everything.

Blog Saumyata 2

  • Saumyata Bisht

Now a 23 year-old Hindu woman is making her publishing debut with the most amazing story of love and romance set in a society where women are degraded and abused daily.

With her first novel Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs, Saumyata Bisht has joined Anita Desai, Arundhati Roy, Kiran Desai and Anita Nair as a fresh and powerful voice for women in the Indian subcontinent.

Her book is a Shakespearean tragedy in 12 parts, guaranteed to engage the reader with both its sublime storytelling and its poetic style.

We were cardamom and mint and wanted to seep down and disappear…

but, we had it in our destiny to float and put a show for the world to see.

(Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs)

Saumyata is the daughter of a college principal and since early childhood taught herself English and immersed herself in English literature, slowly observing the suppression and abuse of fellow Indian women.

“I was very imaginative as a kid and had this weird fascination with the English language,” she explains. “Weird, because most people in my town don’t speak English.

“So I would teach myself new words, their pronunciation and usage. I had started writing at around seven years of age. I would make up characters in my mind and write short stories about them.”

Saumyata sees herself as a writer, a poet, a storyteller and a messenger rather than a campaigner or activist for emancipation.

Yet it is deep indignation at the society in which she was raised, which ignites her storytelling passion.

“There’s no denying that we still are grappled in the webs of patriarchy,” she says.

“We are advancing of course. But the notions remain the same, coaxed in promises that carry the same essence.

“Women are still expected to follow a certain path and protect her ‘sacredness’.

“And while there is appalling poverty in cities like Delhi and Kolkata, the urban masses aren’t the ones that are bearing the brunt of the brutality against women… the rural masses are! 

“Most girls are uneducated. They even soak their menstrual blood with rags and dry leaves. And even falling in love with a man from a different caste is considered a sin, for which punishment is severe.

“Many girls from rural areas are married early. Many more are beaten by their husbands and his family. Rapes happen, but are silenced. Only the brutal ones find some light, but most rapes are never even mentioned.

The definitions of my relationship with everyone changed and took dreadful lanes. Every man became Hisa’s uncle, even my father, even my beloved Shyam.

Just because one man was desperate, one man was evil, one man burned in desires, one man was lewd and disgusting.

Every man became the same for me. A beast ready to tear my flesh and feed on my blood.

(Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs)

 Blog Saumyata 3

  • Saumyata: Life and any chance of love for many women in rural India is in total suppression 

Although written as a novel – a vehicle to protect the identities of people she knows – Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs is a gripping insight into a world rarely seen in the West.

At times the book reads like a brilliant work of romance and self-evaluation and in places is poetic in a metaphysical form that John Donne or Lord Byron would recognise. And above all else it is a tale of purity, love and romance in a world gone wrong.

It is almost Blakean in its beauty as an innocent young girl is corrupted by men into a world of experience.

“The beauty of life, the purity of love, the rawness of nature and subtle nuances in the human character warms my spirit and moves my pen to capture them,” explains Saumyata.

We just breathe, until someone takes the breath away.

Our hearts just beat, until someone makes it jump.

Our blood is just thick water, until someone runs the warmth of love within it.

Until then we are just flesh and blood, dragging ourselves through the years… because everyone does.

After all, isn’t that what life is?

But suddenly meanings change, the world is a different place and you are a new person with dreams on your back and you live your life running to catch them.

Suddenly everything is so beautiful.

The sun has more orange and yellow, the winds are softer and the sky is telling stories that you have never heard before.

Suddenly, god has left a piece of heaven for us to see.

(Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs)

But Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs is much more than just poetic romantic novel.

The love, romance and beauty is splintered with abuse, rape and degradation, murder, mysticism and pregnancy and childbirth, in a style that is impossible to ignore and hard to put down.

It explores in depth the enforced sanctity of virginity before marriage (so-called being ‘Sacred’) and then the absolute desolation of a woman’s sacredness by rape and violation – often by a husband, uncles and friends of the husband. And women who become untouchable if they fall in love with a man from a lower caste.

He became just like his mother and brother. Burned her hands, cut her hair, crushed her fingers and broke her teeth.

Every day she prayed to god Golu for justice.

She prayed for the infertility of our lands and death to our animals.

For generations to rot. For the men in our family to die or suffer a fate worse than death.

She cried and urged to god Golu each day. Until one day she was burned alive by her husband and mother-in-law.

(Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs)

“Wishes that are crumpled, the voices that are silenced, they stir an indignation in me and provoke me to write,” says Saumyata.

“So I want to speak for the silent, shout for them with my words.

“I don’t know if someone notices that, but there’s a lot of wrong happening in the world.

“I just intend to make a tiny contribution into correcting it,” she adds with innate modesty.

“I think passion for life itself is very important to me. To live and die for a purpose. To use that purpose for a higher good and to enlighten millions of other humans by being honest and sacred to my purpose.”

Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs is certainly a life and death work, and given a chance this love story may well begin to enlighten millions of people around the world.

Highly recommended.

  • Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs is set for worldwide publication on 10th January 2018… watch this space for more information.

 

 

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New book exposing suppression of women in India enters Amazon Kindle chart at Number Six

Written in India and edited in Wolverhampton

Blog Wolves

Many people will have read Love in a Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez or Nancy Mitford’s Love in a Cold Climate… now here is the 21st century’s answer to both: Love in Suppression.

Or to give it its proper title: Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs.

A 23 year-old Indian woman has made her publishing debut with an incredible love story set in a society where women are degraded and abused daily.

The book – which was edited in Wolverhampton – has entered the Amazon Kindle charts at Number Six – just five days after publication.

Already reviewers have compared it with Khaled Hosseini’s first best-selling novel The Kite Runner.

Blog Number 6

Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs – Number 6 in the Amazon paid for Kindle chart (14 January 2018)

India, the world’s second most populated country is at the cutting edge of new technology, earning vast material wealth for thousands.

But, anyone who has seen the movie Slumdog Millionaire, will know that under that veneer of prosperity, many within India’s 1.2 billion population live in abject poverty and total squalor.

The abuse of women is part and parcel of that poverty.

The overarching religion, which both promotes and ignores the abuse of women, is Hinduism, practised by a staggering 81% of the population.

Traditional Indian society is defined by social hierarchy.

The Hindu caste system embodies this social stratification to a greater extent than any class system in western society, where those at the bottom are treated worse than livestock.

Blog Saum 4

Saumyata Bish

Now with her first novel Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs, Saumyata Bisht exposes the ongoing power of the caste system, which keeps the poor in poverty while the rich remain all powerful.

Our village was small one with simple rules and entitlement.

It operated only according to one thing: Caste. It was the first thing taken into consideration when associating with anyone in any business of life.

Brahmins were the topmost in the hierarchy, they were renowned for being sharp and witty, traditionally they were pandits in the temples, owners of every religious place, and vanguards of the auspicious occasions… they were considered the highest blood…

…And finally there is the lower caste. They were ostracized from our temples and from our homes. They are always considered squalid and given a treatment worse than dogs.

 (Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs)

Saumyata is the daughter of a college principal and since early childhood taught herself English and immersed herself in English literature, slowly observing the suppression and abuse of fellow Indian women.

But, she sees herself as a writer, a poet and a storyteller rather than a campaigner or activist for emancipation.

Yet it is deep indignation at the society in which she was raised, which ignites her storytelling passion.

 “Women are still expected to follow a certain path and protect their ‘sacredness’,” she says.

“And while there is appalling poverty in cities like Delhi and Kolkata, the urban masses aren’t the ones that are bearing the brunt of the brutality against women… the rural masses are! 

“Most girls are uneducated. They even soak their menstrual blood with rags and dry leaves. And even falling in love with a man from a different caste is considered a sin, for which punishment is severe.”

Although written as a novel – a vehicle to protect the identities of people she knows – Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs is a gripping insight into a world rarely seen in the West.

It is almost Blakean in its style as an innocent young girl is corrupted by men into a world of experience.

The book explored in depth the enforced sanctity of virginity before marriage and then the absolute desolation of a woman’s ‘sacredness’ by rape and violation – often by a husband, uncles and friends of the husband. And women who become untouchable if they fall in love with a man from a lower caste.

My great-grandfather couldn’t fight his family for long because they held all the power and soon he had to accept that it was a mistake to have married her.

So… he burned her hands, cut her hair, crushed her fingers and broke her teeth.

In return, everyday she cried to god Golu, until one day she was burned alive by her husband and mother-in-law.

 (Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs)

“Many girls from rural areas are married early,” explains Saumyata.

“Many more are beaten by their husbands and his family. Rapes happen, but are silenced. Only the brutal ones find some light, but most rapes are never even mentioned.

“So I want to speak for the silent, shout for them with my words.

“I just intend to make a tiny contribution into correcting it,” adds Saumyata.

The book was edited, over a five week period, by retired newspaper editor Nic Outterside, in Wolverhampton.

Nic explains how the peculiar business arrangement occurred.

“I first came across Saumyata’s writing within a poetry circle on Instagram about three months ago,” he says.

“Her short poems were stunning in themselves, but when I read two of her longer pieces I was left gasping by their power and beauty.

“And her prose style was so exact and full of amazing description and vocabulary.

“We began exchanging emails and it was only then I discovered that English is actually her second language.

“As a newspaper editor of some 28 years, I was gobsmacked… she writes better English than some award winning journalists I have known!

“She then asked me if I would edit her first book… it was a no brainer and I am delighted with the finished result,” added Nic.

 

 

New Book Exposes the Rape and Suppression of Women in India

Blog Gauri

REVIEW
Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs
By Saumyata Bisht

Gauri is only sixteen and has lived her whole life in the suppression of her caste and the drunken brutality of her father in a small village in the Himalayan foothills. 
Her best friend Hisa and her desire to become educated are her only hope in a dark world where women are beaten and raped daily.
Then Gauri meets Shyam and falls in love. For a few brief months a new and wonderful life beckons and hope blooms eternal, before the reality of life and death begin to snatch it back.
With her first novel Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs, Saumyata Bisht has joined Anita Desai, Arundhati Roy, Kiran Desai and Anita Nair as a fresh and powerful voice for women in the Indian subcontinent.
Her book is a tragedy in 12 parts, guaranteed to engage the reader with both its sublime storytelling and its poetic style.

“We were cardamom and mint and wanted to seep down and disappear… but, we had it in our destiny to float and put a show for the world to see.”

Although written as a novel – a vehicle to protect the identities of people she knows – Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs is a gripping insight into a world rarely seen in the West.
At times the book reads like a brilliant work of romance and in places is poetic in a metaphysical form that John Donne or Lord Byron would recognise. And above all else it is a tale of purity, love and romance in a world gone wrong.
It is almost Blakean in its beauty as an innocent young girl is corrupted by men into a world of experience.
But Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs is much more than just poetic romantic novel.
The love, romance and beauty is splintered with abuse, rape and degradation, murder, mysticism and pregnancy and childbirth, in a style that is impossible to ignore and hard to put down.
It explores in depth the enforced sanctity of virginity before marriage (so-called being ‘Sacred’) and then the absolute desolation of a woman’s sacredness by rape and violation – often by a husband, uncles and friends of the husband. And women who become untouchable if they fall in love with a man from a lower caste.
Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs is certainly a life and death work, and given a chance this love story may well begin to enlighten millions of people around the world.
One of the best pieces of new original writing I have read in 20 years as an editor.

Order here

 

The Power of Poetry in a World Gone Wrong

Exposing romance, rape and suppression in 21st century India

Blog Gauri

IT is not often that a modern author or poet is compared to English metaphysical classicists John Donne or Lord Byron… but this is one such occasion.

And it is even rarer for the new writer that English is her second language.

But a 23 year-old Indian woman is making her publishing debut with an incredible story of romance set in a society where women are degraded and abused daily.

With her first novel Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs, Saumyata Bisht has joined Anita Desai, Arundhati Roy, Kiran Desai and Anita Nair as a new and powerful voice for women in the Indian subcontinent.

Although written as a novel – a vehicle to protect the identities of people she knows – Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs is a gripping insight into a world rarely seen in the West.

At times the book reads like a brilliant work of romance, and in places is poetic in a form that Donne, Shelley or Byron would recognise. Above all else it is a tale of purity, love and romance in a world gone wrong… almost Blakean in its beauty as an innocent young girl is corrupted by men into a world of experience.

And somehow, through the use of her own poetry, Saumyata taps into a vein that is at once beautiful but also searching for the truth about the world she lives in.

How would the cedar have its fragrance?

The pines their cones?

The marigold its orange?

The goddess Kasar her purity?

The River Kosi its depth?

How would winds blow?

The kafal ripen?

The Harela bring harvest?

How would the birds sing?

The leopard leap?

The Himalayas be at rest?

What would the world be without you?

What would I be without you?

How would the sun shine?

How would the night prevail?

Without your smile,

Without your eyes,

Without your being?

(Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs, Chapter 3)

 

Blog Saumyata 3

 

Saumyata Bisht: a passion to tell a true story

 

Saumyata is the daughter of a college principal and a native Hindi speaker, but since early childhood taught herself English and immersed herself in English literature, while slowly observing the suppression and abuse of fellow Indian women.

She sees herself as a writer, a poet and a storyteller rather than a campaigner or activist for emancipation.

Yet it is deep indignation at the society in which she was raised, which ignites her storytelling passion.

“There’s no denying that we still are grappled in the webs of patriarchy,” she says.

“Women are still expected to follow a certain path and protect her ‘sacredness’.

“Most girls are uneducated and even falling in love with a man from a different caste is considered a sin, for which punishment is severe.”

“The beauty of life, the purity of love, the rawness of nature and subtle nuances in the human character warms my spirit and moves my pen to capture them,” explains Saumyata.

We just breathe, until someone takes the breath away.

Our hearts just beat, until someone makes it jump.

Our blood is just thick water, until someone runs the warmth of love within it.

Until then we are just flesh and blood, dragging ourselves through the years… because everyone does.

But suddenly meanings change, the world is a different place and you are a new person with dreams on your back and you live your life running to catch them.

Suddenly everything is so beautiful.

The sun has more orange and yellow, the winds are softer and the sky is telling stories that you have never heard before.

Suddenly, god has left a piece of heaven for us to see.

(Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs, Chapter 2)

 

But Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs is much more than just a poetic romantic novel.

The love, romance and beauty is splintered with abuse, rape and degradation, murder, pregnancy and childbirth, in a style that is impossible to ignore and hard to put down.

And it exposes the ongoing power of the Hindu caste system, which keeps the poor in poverty while the rich remain all powerful.

It explores in depth the enforced sanctity of virginity before marriage (so-called being ‘Sacred’) and then the absolute desolation of a woman’s sacredness by rape and violation – often by a husband, uncles and friends of the husband. And women who become untouchable if they fall in love with a man from a lower caste

Everyone was everywhere

Moving

I was there

He was there

Still

Everyone was everywhere

Talking

I was there

He was there

Silent

I saw him

He saw me

I blinked

And everyone

And everywhere

Meant nothing

I looked into his eyes

He looked into mine

Seconds

Minutes

Hours

I was there

He was there

Lost

And everyone who was everywhere

Knew nothing

(Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs, Chapter 4)

 

“Many girls from rural areas are married early,” explains Saumyata.

“Many more are beaten by their husbands and his family. Rapes happen, but are silenced. Only the brutal ones find some light, but most rapes are never even mentioned.

Call your gods

Run your hands

On the beads

Place a curse

Mother

He hasn’t gone

Raise your hands

Tighten your fist

Take your swords out

Father

He hasn’t gone

 Flesh

Is tearing

Blood

Is draining

Murders

Are happening

Inside me

Liberate my spirit

Place a curse

Bring the swords out

Take Him away

(Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs, Chapter 8)

The book’s poetic Magnum Opus is a piece entitled Call Me Sacred, I am a Woman. A poem of sheer brilliance… but you will have to buy the book to read it.

“Wishes that are crumpled, the voices that are silenced, they stir an indignation in me and provoke me to write,” says Saumyata.

“Sometimes my poetry is in the pity… other times in the anger.

“I just want to speak for the silent, shout for them with my words.

Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs is certainly a life and death work, and given a chance this story may well begin to enlighten millions of people around the world.

  • Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs is set for worldwide publication on Amazon on 10th January… watch this space for more information.

 

Love and degradation of women exposed in incredible new book

The Power of the Caste System in 21st Century India

Blog Gauri

Many people will have read Love in a Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez or Nancy Mitford’s Love in a Cold Climate, both literary classics in their own right… well here is the 21st century’s answer to both: Love in Suppression.

Or to give it its proper title: Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs.

A 23 year-old Indian woman is making her publishing debut with the most incredible story of love and romance set in a society where women are degraded and abused daily.

India, the world’s second most populated country is at the cutting edge of new technology, earning vast material wealth for thousands.

But, anyone who has seen the movie Slumdog Millionaire, will know that under that veneer of prosperity, many within India’s 1.2 billion population live in abject poverty and total squalor.

The abuse of women is part and parcel of that poverty.

While Islam is often criticised for its hardened treatment of women, only 13% of the Indian population are Muslim.

The overarching religion, which both promotes and ignores the abuse of women, is Hinduism, practised by a staggering 81% of the population.

Traditional Indian society is defined by social hierarchy.

The Hindu caste system embodies this social stratification to a greater extent than any class system in western society. Indian social classes are defined by thousands of endogamous hereditary groups, or castes, where those at the bottom are treated worse than livestock.

Even today, an overwhelming majority of Indians, have their marriages arranged by their parents or other elders in the family.

Marriage is for life, and the divorce rate is extremely low. As of 2011, just 1.8 percent of Indian women were divorced. Child marriages are also common, especially in rural areas; many women wed before reaching 18, which is their legal marriageable age.

The payment of dowry, although illegal, remains widespread across class lines. Deaths resulting from dowry, mostly from bride burning, are on the rise, despite stringent anti-dowry laws.

 Blog Saumyata 2

Saumyata Bisht

Now with her first novel Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs, Saumyata Bisht has joined Anita Desai, Arundhati Roy, Kiran Desai and Anita Nair as a fresh and powerful voice for women in the Indian subcontinent.

Her book is a Shakespearean tragedy in 12 parts, guaranteed to engage the reader with both its sublime storytelling and its poetic style.

And it exposes the ongoing power of the caste system, which keeps the poor in poverty while the rich remain all powerful.

Our village was small one with simple rules and entitlement.

It operated only according to one thing: Caste. It was the first thing taken into consideration when associating with anyone in any business of life.

Brahmins were the topmost in the hierarchy, they were renowned for being sharp and witty, traditionally they were pandits in the temples, owners of every religious place, and vanguards of the auspicious occasions… they were considered the highest blood…

…And finally there is the lower caste. Traditionally they were simple labourers in the fields and considered by others to be the most deplorable.

They were ostracized from our temples and from our homes.

If a lower caste man ever touched a higher caste man, the latter would come home immediately and bathe.

If he happened to touch their food, it was thrown away.

They are always considered squalid and given a treatment worse than dogs.

 (Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs)

Saumyata is the daughter of a college principal and since early childhood taught herself English and immersed herself in English literature, slowly observing the suppression and abuse of fellow Indian women.

But Saumyata sees herself as a writer, a poet, a storyteller and a messenger rather than a campaigner or activist for emancipation.

Yet it is deep indignation at the society in which she was raised, which ignites her storytelling passion.

“There’s no denying that we still are grappled in the webs of patriarchy,” she says.

“We are advancing of course. But the notions remain the same, coaxed in promises that carry the same essence.

“Women are still expected to follow a certain path and protect her ‘sacredness’.

“And while there is appalling poverty in cities like Delhi and Kolkata, the urban masses aren’t the ones that are bearing the brunt of the brutality against women… the rural masses are! 

“Most girls are uneducated. They even soak their menstrual blood with rags and dry leaves. And even falling in love with a man from a different caste is considered a sin, for which punishment is severe.”

Although written as a novel – a vehicle to protect the identities of people she knows – Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs is a gripping insight into a world rarely seen in the West.

At times the book reads like a brilliant work of romance and self-evaluation and in places is poetic in a metaphysical form that John Donne or Lord Byron would recognise. And above all else it is a tale of purity, love and romance in a world gone wrong.

It is almost Blakean in its beauty as an innocent young girl is corrupted by men into a world of experience.

“The beauty of life, the purity of love, the rawness of nature and subtle nuances in the human character warms my spirit and moves my pen to capture them,” explains Saumyata.

We just breathe, until someone takes the breath away.

Our hearts just beat, until someone makes it jump.

Our blood is just thick water, until someone runs the warmth of love within it.

Until then we are just flesh and blood, dragging ourselves through the years… because everyone does.

After all, isn’t that what life is?

But suddenly meanings change, the world is a different place and you are a new person with dreams on your back and you live your life running to catch them.

Suddenly everything is so beautiful.

The sun has more orange and yellow, the winds are softer and the sky is telling stories that you have never heard before.

Suddenly, god has left a piece of heaven for us to see.

(Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs)

 

But Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs is much more than just poetic romantic novel.

The love, romance and beauty is splintered with abuse, rape and degradation, murder, mysticism and pregnancy and childbirth, in a style that is impossible to ignore and hard to put down.

It explores in depth the enforced sanctity of virginity before marriage (so-called being ‘Sacred’) and then the absolute desolation of a woman’s sacredness by rape and violation – often by a husband, uncles and friends of the husband. And women who become untouchable if they fall in love with a man from a lower caste.

 

My great-grandfather couldn’t fight his family for long because they held all the power and soon he had to accept that it was a mistake to have married her.

So he became just like his mother and brother.

He burned her hands, cut her hair, crush her fingers and broke her teeth.

In return everyday she cried to god Golu for justice.

She prayed for the infertility of our lands and death of our animals.

For our generations of our family to rot. For the men in our family to die or suffer a fate worse than death.

She cried and urged to god Golu each day until one day she was burned alive by her husband and mother-in-law.

 (Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs)

 

 Blog Saumyata 3

Saumyata Bisht: a pure passion to tell a true story

“Many girls from rural areas are married early,” explains Saumyata. “Many more are beaten by their husbands and his family. Rapes happen, but are silenced. Only the brutal ones find some light, but most rapes are never even mentioned.”

 

I shouted.

I begged.

I cried.

But he wouldn’t retreat. His insatiable lust had unleashed a ruthless demon that even he could not control.

He ran his large piercing fingers on my body.

A loud cry leaked from my throat before he placed his palm on my mouth to suppress it.

He then ripped my clothing, hauled my waist and forced himself inside me. Tears kept flowing from my eyes, screams kept pushing his hand that had stifled my mouth. But he continued to chafe my walls and feed on me which got more brutal when he found out that I wasn’t sacred.

He devoured me that morning until he had violated every part of me, until he had murdered every cry in the back of my throat, until he had drained every tear to oblivion and until every shred of life within me had committed a suicide.

And when every last ember of his lust had settled, he let out a huge groan and exhaled a huge breath.

 (Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs)

 

“Wishes that are crumpled, the voices that are silenced, they stir an indignation in me and provoke me to write,” says Saumyata.

“So I want to speak for the silent, shout for them with my words.

“I don’t know if someone notices that, but there’s a lot of wrong happening in the world.

“I just intend to make a tiny contribution into correcting it,” she adds with innate modesty.

Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs is certainly a life and death work, and given a chance this love story may well begin to enlighten millions of people around the world.

Highly recommended.

 

  • Gauri: A Sin Between My Legs is set for worldwide publication on Amazon on 10th January 2018… watch this space for more information.

 

Brief encounter – the murder of Diana

diana and dodi

IT was a wet February in 1997 and I was ensconced in a four star hotel in Islington, tasked with bringing home what could be the biggest newspaper story of the decade.

My job as Chief Investigative Reporter for the Scottish national daily The Scotsman was to gather information from Harrods owner, Mohamed Al Fayed, about an alleged conspiracy involving his business rival Tiny Rowland and a senior Conservative government minister.

It was an enjoyable and wholly productive three days of interviews with the gregarious and at times incomprehensible Mr Al Fayed, his PA Michael Cole and head of security John MacNamara – a former Scotland Yard senior detective.

The daily routine was purposeful: breakfast at my hotel, a taxi ride across London to Knightsbridge, an escalator to Mr Al Fayed’s office on the fifth floor of the Harrods department store, a coffee and croissant with Michael Cole and up to three hours of talking, questioning and sifting through reams of documents and photographs.

On Wednesday 12 February, I arrived as usual at 10am in the reception area outside the office and boardroom.

I was greeted cheerily as usual by Mr Cole. But on this morning he asked me if I minded waiting in an ante-room for half an hour as his boss was expecting a personal visit from Princess Diana.

I was shown into the room and given the usual coffee and croissant plus copies of the day’s national newspapers to browse at my leisure.

After 10 minutes waiting, I suddenly needed a quick loo break so quietly made my way to the now familiar private washroom.

Upon my return to my isolated coffee and partly eaten croissant, I stopped suddenly as the most recognisable woman in the world walked by, accompanied by Mr Cole and an as yet unknown young Middle Eastern man.

Diana turned briefly and smiled at me.

It was a memorable brief encounter.

But a tragic event some six and a half months later undoubtedly made it more memorable.

Later that day, I caught my return train to Edinburgh and The Scotsman offices at North Bridge.

Upon my arrival I was introduced to our new editor Martin Clarke, who had taken up his position while I was away in London.

My first meeting with him was also memorable, but for very different reasons.

I was brusquely told that our investigation into the conspiracy surrounding Tiny Rowland had been spiked for ‘political reasons’. I was also told I was ‘wasting my and the newspaper’s time’, not to ask any more questions and to ‘get on with some proper reporting’.

The months passed and on 31 August 1997, two events coincided: it was my final day working for The Scotsman and ironically Princess Diana, 36,  her lover (Mohamed Al Fayed’s son) Dodi Fayed, 42, and driver Henri Paul were killed in a horror car crash in the Pont de l’Alma road tunnel in Paris.

My reaction to the deaths at the time was the same as it is now: they were murdered.

But it was only 10 years later at a judicial inquest, following a three year inquiry into their deaths and possible murder, that my own brief encounter came back to haunt me.

The inquest, under Lord Justice Scott Baker, heard on at least six occasions that at the time of his romance with Diana in the summer of 1997, Dodi Fayed was engaged to an American model, Kelly Fisher. Dodi had bought a house in Malibu for Fisher and himself with money from his father.

The inquiry also heard heart surgeon Hasnat Khan give his first detailed account of his two-year relationship with Diana, during which he says he often stayed at Kensington Palace and met the princess’s sons.

He described how the princess broke up with him after she got back from a holiday with Mohammed Al Fayed and his family.

The inquest dismissed reports that Dodi and Diana were in a relationship prior to that summer and therefore any talk of an impending engagement in August 1997 – and possible motive for their murder – were subsequently rubbished.

Something I knew then and now to be untrue.

The Inquest jury returned a majority verdict that Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed were unlawfully killed due to the gross negligence of their driver, Henri Paul, and the paparazzi.

But I am still left with the haunting question: if that was the case, what were Diana and Dodi doing making a personal visit to Mohamed Al Fayed on 12 February 1997?

Mr Al Fayed later claimed that a plot to kill Diana was kicked into high gear as soon as British authorities found out from the CIA that Dodi had picked out a $215,000 star-shaped diamond ring for his future bride.

“The only reason my son and Diana were in Paris that night was so that he could personally collect the ring and propose to her,” he said.

“I spoke to Dodi and he was so excited and happy. Diana was too. They deserved a lifetime’s love together, and this beautiful ring was to put a seal on that,” he added.

“Diana believed all her married life that she was under surveillance by British and foreign intelligence agencies who reported back to her husband Prince Charles and the British establishment,” said Laurie Mayer, Mr Al Fayed’s press spokesman.

“She had every reason to think they intercepted her phone calls. The call she made to Lucia on the afternoon of her death could have alerted them she really was going to marry Dodi and that he, a practising Muslim and the son of a man who helped bring down the British government, would be stepfather to Prince William and Prince Harry.”

Mr Al Fayed also wanted – and got – files on two photographers, a Frenchman and a Dutchman.

“These men know what went on that evening,” said John McNamara.

“They filmed the motorbike we know was blocking the exit road, forcing the Mercedes to take the tunnel. That could show the license plate of that bike and another one we believe shot into the tunnel behind the white Fiat Uno.

“The Fiat Uno was waiting at the mouth of the tunnel. There was a collision and since then the bikes and the Fiat have vanished.

“Immediately after the crash, the photographers sent their pictures round the world. Some of those wired to an agency in North London had vital frames showing the vehicles we cannot now trace.

“The agency was broken into just hours after the crash and neither we, nor the police, believe it was an ordinary burglary.

“Many photographs show Diana lying in the rear seat of the Mercedes, one arm flung across Dodi and her legs buckled up under, have been seen across the world. Some have even been published in Europe. But none has shown the bikes or the car.”

Just one of far too many unanswered questions over the death of the People’s Princess.

 

The psychologist

I came in from the wilderness

Drenched to the bone

Darkness hung above me

Broken and alone

Your words fell like rain

And mingled with my tears

In pools at my feet

They washed away all fears

You sketched the view so clearly

Like a graphic artist in a play

A friendship etched quite dearly

There is much more I need to say

Hunted like a crocodile

Ravaged in the corn

Come in, you said, I’ll give you

Shelter from the storm