She highlights the violence of the language, its use as a colonial weapon. Of course, all language can be made violent and Ramayya muses on Hindu nationalism’s appropriation of the lexicon she has studied so lovingly: “Sanskrit is weaponised; its am. -s and ah. -s that sounded to me like a chorus of laughter, a string of pearls … turn to bile and blood in my mouth.” Nevertheless, English is the language Ramayya lives and works in. By using it to write anti-imperial poetry, she has turned it against itself. To paraphrase Adrienne Rich, Ramayya cannot refuse English, the language forced upon her family by invasion and migration, but she can re-fuse it.
In her commitment to investigating love, Ramayya finds a lyrical but controlled form that can critique the most painful subjects and remain hopeful. Using South Asian feminist mythology as a language and a system of knowledge, she describes the Mahavidyas as “words, actions, meanings, and the supreme stage of language that transcends words, actions, meanings… They speak me into being.” The resulting voice is fierce, inspiring and sublime.