A poem of Ratanbai- one of less known medieval period's gujarati poet

(12th-14th century)

Ratanbai was a Gujarati bhakti poet of medieval  period.Unlike Meerabai (1498-1565) she did not belongs to royal background rather, she made her living at the spinning wheel. A rare example of our own feminist heritage...
My spinning wheel is dear to me, My sister

My spinning wheel is dear to me, my sister;
My household depends on it.
My husband married me and departed;
He went abroad to earn a living.

After twelve years he returned,
With a copper coin and a half;
He went to bathe in the Ganga,
Dropped the copper coin and a half.

Mother, father, father-in-law, mother-in-law,
One and all rejected us;
The spinning wheel was our savior,
To it we clung.

I paid off all my husband's debts
And over and above
Tying coin after coin in the corner of my sari
I earned a whole rupee.

Translated by Nita Ramaiya


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