• Let’s Talk About Rape: Farhan Akhtar Pens Verse for Survivors

    Actor-filmmaker Farhan Akhtar, the first male UN Women Ambassador for South Asia, and the force behind the MARD- Men Against Rape and Discrimination Campaign, has written two poems about sexual assault.  He has also written a letter on gender issues to his daughter, as part of the same campaign.

    The poems are part of Hindustan Times’ 8 part series ‘Let’s Talk About Rape’ where prominent Indians will write letters discussing the reality of sexual assault in this country.

    Photo Credit: The Indian Express

    Photo Credit: The Indian Express

    One of Akhtar’s poems is addressed to a five-year-old victim in Bangalore and expresses his anguish at the situation.

    Here is an excerpt of the poem taken from the Hindustan Times.

    I see you little girl

    tears in your eyes

    bruises on your body

    blood on your thighs

    I hear you little girl

    your whimpers your cries

    your silenced protest

    your resonating sighs … 

    You can read the entire poem here

    It ends with: 

    I stand with you little girl.


    The second poem, addressed to a young woman, tries to offer words of hope and solace.

    When life breaks you

    pick up the pieces

    Stick them back together

    Smoothen out the creases

    Brush off the dirt

    Re-apply the colour

    Polish the rough edges

    Shine up what’s duller

    And when you’re done

    creating this new person

    Just let in some love

    To complete your new version.

    Be all that you can be

    Be fearless my child, Be free

    When people get you down

    Tell you you’re wrong

    You’ve got to believe in yourself

    Remember you’re strong …

    You can read the entire poem here


    In the letter to his 16-year-old daughter, Akhtar talks about how women are portrayed in Bollywood and how he needs to be wary of this as a filmmaker.

     “Stalking, unfortunately, has become a mutated form of cinematic romance,” wrote Akhtar.

    He also urges his daughter to live her life the way she wants to but to remember to be safe and to have her wits about her. He says that there are certain realities around us, and that we live in an unsafe, unequal world. He expresses his understanding of his daughter’s frustration and her wish to be free in the true sense of the word.

    He ends by saying that he will always stand by her daughter as she navigates growing up in the country.