‘Lajwanti’ the title itself, is meant to depict women as weak, fragile and brittle’. They are not expected to revolt or defend a just cause, like gender equality, in any manner. In ‘A girl’s plea’, the girl describes that her father sees her as ‘A meek, dumb, shy, submissive, frail woman. ’ She is made to ‘eat humble pie and drink sheer humiliation’ indicating that oppression was her food and drink. The torture was inevitable and on a daily basis. In sharp contrast to ‘Lajwanti’, the girl attempts to revolt back to her father using the pen as her weapon.
However, she also confesses ‘even in words I can’t fight down the fear of being a girl’. The two women are fearful to open up their hearts and truly express their feelings and emotions. The girl reading about, ‘Judith, Raziya Sultan, Laxmi Bai and Helen Keller’, tries to follow their example. However, she is anguished as she cries, ‘I want to speak but my voice chokes’ and ‘As I decide to turn over a new leaf, You trespass on my little heart. ’ Both protagonists wish to be treated as humans with feelings and emotions rather than as objects that are fragile and can break down any time.
The girl pleads with her father indicating desperation as she says, ‘Let this little girl live, Let her LIVE’. There is no emotional bonding between Lajwanti and Sunder Lal and the girl and her father. ‘May I call you dear? ’ and ‘I am afraid to call myself your daughter’ comes as a stark contrast to what fathers usually are – loving, caring and gently leading the family. There is coldness and a lack of love in crucial relationships such as husband-wife and father-daughter. POEM: A GIRL’S PLEA – Shamshad Perveen