Price of Liberty by Kodavatiganti Kutumbara
Telugu original by Kodavatiganti Kutumbarao, in Yuva, January 1977. Translated and posted with permission by Ananda Kishore.
"Sripati" - that's his pen name - told his wife, "Laxmi, I am planning to write a series of essays on women's lib. I'll publish them on your name, what do you say?"
"Why don't you use your own name?"
"Good God! Some people in my office already discovered my pen name. If my boss finds out, I'll lose my job."
"Then use another pen name."
"But women's magazines don't publish articles with male names for authors."
"Then use a female name."
"That's why I want to use your name."
"Couldn't you find any other name than mine? I am not going to lend my name."
"You fool! What if someone wants to interview the author?"
"Oh, that's what you're worried about! You write whatever you feel like writing, and I am supposed to be responsible for the stuff and take all the criticism. No way!"
"Your attitude is really bad. I am writing only to uplift your women folk. The entire world is struggling for women's lib and you aren't the least bit co-operative. Aren't you a women? Aren't you ashamed of yourself?"
"Since you said that, I'll make a deal. I will sell my liberty, for a price. What do you want to pay for it? Will you give me five ounces of gold, three silk sarees for it? Will you buy a me T.V?
"What a thing to say! You're selling your liberty!?"
"How many times didn't you say that you're selling your liberty for your wages? You also said that nobody has liberty in Capitalism. Is Capitalism not in the way of women's lib?"