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My journey towards understanding men in society!

 

Harshali Nagrale

harshali nagraleEvery girl dreams about something or the other to be in life. But, in the journey from being a little girl to growing up into a woman, her dreams' wings are cut in different ways. This is where feminism emerges for me. The word Feminism is interpreted differently across the world. Some connect it with the oppression women are facing, unequal pay, womanhood; while some think that drinking, smoking, or hanging out the late-night is feminism. But, feminism is much more than that for me. It means an ideology or a way of life of dignity, respect, and equality which does keep men as the benchmark. 

The journey from being a little girl to a grown-up woman!

I come from a family where paying for a TV was equal to bringing a Mercedes home. We had a neighbour who used to welcome us to watch movies at their house. Unfortunately, the neighbour was a relative. My parents were also very comfortable to send me to their house because it is "SAFE" to send our kids to a relative's house. Once, I remember at the age of 12 I was watching TV at my neighbour's home. They had two elder sons who were both around 24-26 of age. There was no one in the house and the innocent little kid sat in their home until the cartoon ended. I was really not expecting I would have to pay so high a price for just an episode of the cartoon. An unwelcome hand started touching me under grown boobs, and before I could speak he put his dirty hands in my pants and seeing straight into my eyes he said- nothing, it will take just a few minutes for me to show you how much I love you. It was very shocking for me because this had never happened to me. Before I could shout loudly he grabbed me and put a tight hand on my mouth. And this way he destroyed my entire childhood. I started hating my body. I used to punish myself in different ways and for my entire childhood, I blamed myself for whatever happened to me. Only because I had a "Vagina" between my legs. Now when I look back to my childhood, being that little girl, the sky is not the same anymore.

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Dalit single women in lockdown: Lived experiences

 

Madhavi Kamble

madhavi kambleWhether it is a natural or man-made disaster, the vulnerable sections of the society are the first to get hit. The Corona outbreak put the spotlight on the issue of daily subsistence, mental health, general health of families and millions of people across the country.

On June 4, the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare announced that 1,07637 people tested positive for the pandemic virus in the country and 6,075 lost their lives to it. In a seemingly desperate effort to preemptively slow the virus's spread in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced a nationwide lockdown from March 24, for 21 days. Later it was extended up to 3rd May 2020, then it was extended up to 31st May 2020. Now our nation is in 5th lockdown which will be going on until 30th June 2020. But the ill-planned effort rendered lakhs of socially and physically vulnerable sections of the society around the country jobless, unsafe, helpless, and hungry.

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Knowing (Reading) Ambedkar And Being An Ambedkarite: Through The Anti-Caste And Feminist Lens

 

Shivani Waldekar

Shivani WaldekarIn the contemporary period we see that there are very few informed Ambedkarites who are coming to the forefront and challenging the social, economic, cultural, political, educational systems, who are asking for fundamental rights, fighting against inequality and injustice and looking towards Liberation.

"The battle to me is a matter of joy.
The battle is in the fullest sense spiritual.
There is nothing material or social in it.
For ours is a battle not for wealth or power.
It is a battle for freedom. It is the battle of reclamation of human personality"
~ Dr. B.R.Ambedkar.

14th April 2020 was the 129th birth anniversary of a great social scientist and renowned thinker, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, and the best way to remember him is to discuss his ideas and also examine his followers through those ideas.

Once upon a time my beloved asked me, "What is meant by Ambedkar?" "Ambedkar means Revolution" I replied within a second. And the exact same question I asked him and he replied "Ambedkar is a Thought." But Ambedkar isn't limited to 'Revolution' or 'Thought' only. He is beyond that. We couldn't think in unison that Ambedkar is a 'Revolutionary Thought' because we both are different persons with different perceptions, positions and perspectives. We couldn't even understand or realise that day if we both compiled our different perspectives and come together with healthy minds and keep aside our biases, then maybe we can pursue the truth that Ambedkar is a 'Revolutionary Thought' which changes with time, but stands for reclamation of human personality and freedom for all human beings irrespective of their caste, class, gender, religion, and other forms of identities and that is the totality of humanity.

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The Origin of Dalit Feminist Literature: Mukta Salve, the First Voice of Dalit Feminism

 

Shivani Waldekar

165 years ago, one young Dalit girl strongly criticised brahminical hegemony and the hierarchal oppressive social structure. She questioned and critically examined caste, class, gender and religion and that empirical data continues to remain very relevant today, as they were in 1855. She strongly believed that education is the only path which liberates the people who are enslaved by the structure. It is an important tool which gives confidence to ask the questions against injustice and exploitation in our society and gives a voice to the unheard and unobserved since two thousand years. They constitute a part of society but never came out and spoke. Education is the only asset through which they will change their status and break systematic oppression and social stratification. Education is the tool through which they gather knowledge and cultivate their minds and enlighten their souls and go towards an egalitarian path and liberate themselves.

mukta salve

On 1 March 1855, the periodical named "Dnyanodaya" published one essay named "About the Grief of Mahars and Mangs"(Mang Maharanchya Dukhavisayi) written by the very first Dalit writer Mukta Salve. It is the first evidence in history which pointed out the historical exploitation and the problem of Indian caste and patriarchy where Dalits had always faced intolerance because of the oppressive Brahmin structure. Dalit history was always invisibilized by upper caste and class to portray that Dalit have no history of their own and especially when it comes to Dalit women then it's always in the dark and unpublished because women's liberation is closely linked with castes. That's why Muktabai's essay is to be treated as the first voice of Dalit feminism and history of modern Indian Dalit feminist literature which initiated Dalit women's liberation.

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Beauty, Femininity and the Politics of ‘Desire’


Noel Mariam George

noel mariamThe recent crowning of a biracial black woman as Miss World made news as it made full circle with four other wins by biracial black and black women in the biggest beauty pageant. Not many understand beauty pageants as political; however what can be more political than a contest in which nations compete with each other by localising their nationhood onto the bodies of their women to claim the title of ‘most beautiful/desirable’[1]? Beauty pageants have become a new site of the ‘political’ understood in terms of aesthetics and black women are now claiming their space in these contests as sites of representation and even empowerment. Arguments made in favour of these pageant wins, claim that feminine representation of black women as desirable are subversive and hence political, as black women have historically been denied the freedom to express their femininity and have been deemed ‘undesirable’ in contrast to white women[2] (this is not to shy away from the monopoly of control, both monetarily and items of discourse of the beauty, pop and other culture industries).

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Dalit Women to be Heard

 

Hemangi Kadlak

(Transcript of her speech at the National Convention on the Rights of Dalit Women Human Rights Defenders: 'Dalit Women Speak' on 17-18 January 2020, at HDRC, St. Xavier's Campus, Ahmedabad)

hemangi kadlakFirst of all, I would like to thank the organizers for inviting me to this conference on 'Dalit Women Speak.' Before coming to the topic which is given to me for today's talk, I want to give focus on the main conference heading that is 'Dalit Women Speak'. After reading this line, it immediately came to my mind, do we really see that Dalit women don't speak?

The reality is that they speak a lot, and they have been speaking for generations in their houses, even outside within their community and in general society. But the fact is that people have unheard them, neglected their voices by thinking these women are illiterate, lower caste, uncivilized, poor, don't have any culture. These comments from dominant castes reflect their mentality on caste and gender.

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