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    On Caste and Patriarchy: An Interview with Ruth Manorama

    Meena KandasamyRUTH MANORAMA (1964) IS winner of the 2006 Right Livelihood Award, widely considered as the Alternative Nobel Prize. She is President of the National Federation of Dalit Women and is widely known in India for her contributions in highlighting the precarious situation of Dalit women. Ruth has also contributed enormously to breaking the upper-class, upper-caste image of the women’s movement in India.

    In this interview with me, she talks of why its necessary for all Indian women to address the issue of caste. Continue reading


    The Presence of a Uterus

    By Sridala Swami

    Seven years ago, I attended a wedding reception that I will never forget. A few months previously, I had just had a baby and this wedding was one of the first occasions when I was going out with the new arrival. It was quite traumatic for me: all I wanted to do was meet friends and enjoy a few conversations; instead I had to worry about feeds, secluded rooms and diapers.

    There were three of us at a table – my (then) husband and I, and an old college friend who was independently a friend and colleague of the husband. U and G started to talk while I tried to calm a cranky child unused to so many people, or to loud music and noise. The conversation between them was animated and mostly about work. Continue reading

    Balancing Work and Womanhood

    I CONFESS, I AM reading Dr. John Gray’s Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: Together Forever. His insights are valuable, in a generalising “men are like this and women are like that” kind of way (though he does make disclaimers that not everything he says fits with everyone, just like different outfits may suit different people). I am drawn in (sadly?)—perhaps what he says may help me in my relationship and I cannot simply disregard it. Plus, my mom lent me her copy, and she’s one wise lady. Continue reading

    Feminism is Not My Fight

    TAKING OFF FROM Indhu’s post about young people declaring feminism dead, I want to explore why young women, specifically, feel this way. I’ve met a lot of women who are apolitical and even have friends who don’t exactly embrace the ‘feminist’ label whole-heartedly. Don’t they know about acid attacks, about dowry deaths, rape, domestic violence? Sure, they do, but a lot of the time, it is (to borrow from Douglas Adams) “Somebody Else’s Problem”. To put it even more plainly, the question that’s really at the bottom of this, the question that they’re probably asking in their heads is: “But what’s in it for me?” Continue reading

    Is It Post Feminism Yet?

    A LOT OF MEN and women in Bangalore proclaim that it is the age of post feminism. One gets more of the same from the woman’s supplements and the women’s magazines which showcase women who are the movers and shakers of the corporate world, who balance home and careers so well, courting success like never before. You can see them everywhere, holding important positions and visible in hitherto male-dominated jobs. They all refer to themselves as individuals who have had the grit and determination to make it and have made it. Continue reading

    The Fair and the Lovely

    Payal SaxenaTHE STEREOTYPES: homemaker, femme fatale, bold and beautiful, supermom, sex bomb. The creators: television, cinema, advertisements, magazines. All depict women who can be beautiful only if they are white-skinned, reed-thin and look like Barbie dolls. Take mainstream Indian cinema. What is common across most of it is the depiction of women, who can never look disheveled, untidy or even a wee bit like their real life counterparts. When there is the portrayal of a woman, who cannot pass off as stereotypically beautiful by media standards, her transformation into the ‘normative beautiful’ becomes necessary. Continue reading

    The ‘Spoils of War’. Again.

    THE NANDIGRAM situation once again brought to the fore the political demons that have been unleashed on this country. I am not only angry about what happened and continues to happen in Nandigram, but on how it has yet again carved out its violent path on women’s bodies and lives. The first few stories of sexual assault trickled in early this year with news of a 14-year-old girl who had been raped and hung from a tree. The stories have only become more sickening. Continue reading