Read actor Farhan Akhtar’s poignant poems on sexual assault against women

Farhan Akhtar: Starting today, Hindustan Times kicks off its 8-part series, Let’s talk about rape, where eminent

Indians write open letters to discuss the reality of sexual assault in India.
The first letter is from actor Farhan Akhtar’s to his daughter and discusses his father’s instinct to protect her in a world unsafe for women.
Akhtar, who is also a director, singer and lyricist, is behind the social campaign MARD — Men Against Rape and Discrimination — which aims to raise social awareness about sexual violence against women.
Apart from the letter, Akhtar has expressed his deep anguish at the wanton rape of women in India. Akhtar wrote the first poem after reading a news report about the rape of a 5 year old in Bangalore, which left him profoundly depressed. He addresses himself to the child:
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
I feel you little girl
your pain on the rise
your trust of man in ruins
your childhood’s demise
I understand you little girl
your rage your surprise
your confusion about the beast
in human disguise
I stand with you little girl
I stand with you little girl.
The second poem also addresses a young woman, but the message is one of hope and resilience. The words encourage the girl to have strength and believe in herself.
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
Cut out the noise
Ignore derision
Tear off the blindfold
impairing your vision
And when you’re done
Standing up full height
Just let in some love
And let your dreams take flight
Be all that you can be
Be fearless my child, Be free